Two brilliant bookshops

Posted: September 5, 2014 in reading
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I’ve recently been to a couple of immensely cool bookshops that I wanted to share.

Waterstones Bradford Wool Exchange

IMG_0580[1]Bradford isn’t somewhere that I associate with history and tradition. But a couple of weekends ago I went there to visit Jane of Jane & Bex book blog who works in a Waterstones in the centre of Bradford, and that visit proved how wrong I was.

I expect a certain soothing but uninteresting uniformity from Waterstones stores – after all, this is the biggest book chain in the country. But the Bradford shop is amazing. Occupying the town’s Victorian Wool Exchange building, it’s a fabulous piece of architecture that just happens to have a bookshop inside. What’s not to love about that?

Wool exchange 2The best views in the shop come from the mezzanine café. From there you get a closer look at the heraldic sculptures on the ceiling beams, those beautifully structured windows, the elegant pillars, and the in house statue.

That’s right, this is a bookshop with its own Victorian statue. How awesome is that?

Oh, and the café also does brilliant cakes. I had the cappuccino slice and a big Americano for a double coffee treat.

I won’t lie, I was a little fidgety after that.


Second hand bookshop at Lyme Park

I’m going to start this one by making the Pride and Prejudice fans jealous. Lyme Park, which played the part of Pemberley in the BBC’s 1990s production of P&P, is just a few miles down the road from me.

That’s right, I can spend my Sundays walking around the lake Mr Darcy dived into, and buying ugly over-priced Mr Darcy mugs from their gift shop.

IMG_0596[1]This place was already pretty awesome from a book lover’s perspective. A few years ago they did a huge restoration project on the library in the grand house at Lyme Park. Since the restoration they have comfy seats and books available for you to relax with in the library. So halfway round your tour of this stately home, with all its fine art and furnishings, you can take a rest and have a read. I can tell from personal experience that it’s a good place to stop with small children, to give them a break from the sight seeing, but I also love it as an adult, getting to sit and read in a proper old school aristocratic library.

And now they’ve added an extra little joy, shown in the photo (no, that’s not the library, the library is far grander). They’ve put in a second hand bookshop next to the gift shop. So now instead of buying a tea towel showing Colin Firth in a tailcoat I can pick up a cheap paperback and help fund the National Trust that way.

I love finding interesting bookshops in unexpected places. If you have a chance you should check these two out.

Does anyone else have any others they’d like to recommend? Where ever you are in the world, tell us about your interesting bookshops.

  1. Bookcase in Carlisle. It’s a huge second-hand book shop. Their website says they have over 250,000 books in 30 rooms. Last time I went I literally got lost 🙂

    Also, Sabre Sales in Southsea. Technically it’s not a book shop, and it’s closing down soon, but they do sell second hand books. Last time I was there I bought some Jane’s annuals for a fiver each. It’s another massive place. I’m going to really miss it 😦

  2. everwalker says:

    Word on the Water, in London. What’s not to love about a second-hand bookshop in a barge?

  3. Lynda says:

    Barter Books, of course!

  4. mjtierney1 says:

    Sadly, we have nothing so grand or interesting in San Jose, California. We did have a Borders in an old repurposed theatre nearby that was pretty cool, but Borders are all gone now. Our local used book store does have friendly cats wandering around though!

  5. I must mention The Big Green Bookshop in North London as well, mostly because they do such a good job thriving as an independent store. And because they really helped out by carrying the few books I had at LonCon 🙂

  6. Hemingways of Hermanus says:

    We’ve got our own bookshop: Hemingways of Hermanus and it’s located in the Whale Capital of South Africa. Check out our (new) blog with link to Facebook Page. You are Welcome to visit! 😉

    Noel and Beth Hunt

  7. skudssister says:

    We have been known to book weekends away around the availability of good secondhand bookshops – Wigtown in Dumfries and Galloway was good (and very handy for the Galloway Astronomy Centre we were staying at so Rob could indulge himself in a proper designated Dark Sky site). Hay-on-Wye, of course, and I am also a fan of Barter Books.
    In fiction terms I would recommend Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan and The Coolected Works of A J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Both set in wonderful bookshops…

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