Best Vintage Book Stores in London

I migliori negozi di libri vintage a Londrain italiano

In London there is certainly no shortage of book shops, and certainly those where it is pleasant to spend some time, are often the second-hand, vintage, or new shop…and the  “the old classics.”

This is a quick guide with 10 of the places that I personally find most interesting for several reasons.

10 Vintage book stores in London.

All these shops are very quaint and very British – I’m sure a visit to some of these will enrich your visit to London!

1.Word On The Water

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The first  one is Word on the Water, one of London’s hidden gems. This bookshop is located on a floating barge, so it is often referred to as London’s floating bookshop. The barge is permanently located on the Regent’s Canal at Granary Square, near King’s Cross Station.

It’s something you certainly don’t expect to find along your walk to the Regent Canal. (Watch my video to discover a magical and hidden place in London).

On summer days you will find a lot of books scattered on the deck, but you can also go inside to check out their most valuable editions. Lots of classics. The owner is also very friendly and has an adorable dog!

Address Regent’s Canal Towpath , Kings Cross, London

2.Skoob Books

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An immense space and a huge  choice of books: this is what this bookstore offers! Books are displayed everywhere, in every corner, and also in piles on the ground. It is considered one of London’s best shops for vintage/second hand books, and is located in the lower part of a 2,000-square-foot space – with over 60,000 titles squeezed on shelves, displayed on tables or even towered on the floor – Skoob Books is considered one of London’s largest second-hand bookshops. Located on the underground level of The Brunswick centre in the Bloomsbury area, you’ll find books of all kinds: philosophy, adventure, travel, art and more. Prices obviously great, often at half price or even less.

Address 66 The Brunswick off, Marchmont St, London WC1N 1AE

3.Judd Books

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Located in the residential area of Russell Square, this shop opened in 1992, structured on two levels, and offers a very wide choice of academic books both used and discounted (but new). Great place if you want to add something to your library as a student or if you still want a good academic book on a particular topic. The staff is very friendly, and the atmosphere is very old-style: here you will want to bring a cup of tea and enjoy a few hours in peace on a rainy afternoon! (No, it doesn’t offer this service, but it’s very welcoming!).

Address 82 Marchmont St, Saint Pancras, London WC1N 1AG

4.Book Mongers [photos]

This is also quite well known, and is located in Brixton, a neighborhood that is worth a visit. In this shop you can buy and sell books, of all kinds: they have been open for over 20 years and really have everything. The shop also reflects the grunge style of the area. The owner is a book expert, and came to London years ago to open this shop, from the USA. A bit like the shop on the barge, here too we can find a friendly dog, who could not wish for better place to live: a quiet shop and rich in culture. The Book Mongers looks like an old living room with books everywhere, stacked high, tucked into every corner and slit.

You need to spend some time in this place, because let’s say they don’t exactly have a storage system: search and you’ll find! Books are organized by theme, but within this, they are not in alphabetical order. It could take you an entire afternoon, but what better way to spend an afternoon in London?

Address 439 Coldharbour Ln, Brixton, London SW9 8LNs




5.Book and Comic Exchange [photos]

Do you like going in search of books as if it were a real adventure? Then you have to visit Notting Hill and go to Book & Comic Exchange. It’s been open since 1967, it’s and a must! Books always scattered as in many of these book stores, but definitely more tidy than other places, you will find fiction, comics and magazines. Vintage, of course! There’s also a basement floor that has that beautiful smell of an old book shop: here you can find all the offers, many books even for just .0.50 ! Book & Comic Exchange is definitely a place to visit when you’re in Notting Hill.

Address 30-32 Pembridge Rd, Bayswater, London W11 3HN

6.Hurlingham Books

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In my list and among my top 3 ! Huge rows of second-hand books, scented with serenity. From the outside it doesn’t really look particular, let’s face it, but the fact that it is not one of those facades from Instagram, does not mean that it is not characteristic, indeed, much more! Sources say it is the oldest book store in south-east London. If you come in you find yourself inundated with books, and think that what you see is almost half of what they really have here. There is also a warehouse within walking distance of the store, where they have over a million books. Yes, a “million”. You read that right. Here you’ll find all kinds of fiction, nonfiction, and in addition to having older and second-hand books, they also have more recent publications. Here I’m sure you’ll find the book you’re looking for!

Address 91 Fulham High Street, Fulham, SW6 3JS

7.Quinto Bookshop

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Quinto Bookshop covers all interests. A crazy amount of new and old books ranging from classic books, history books, and even travel books (especially  North American), children’s books, literature, the inevitable books on the history of London, archaeology and publications on film scripts. Located on the busy Charing Cross Road, with its interesting and colourful shop windows, this Shop is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the street, you’ll be in the centre (super central!) of London but you’ll feel like you’re in a world of its own. In the same area I recommend you take a trip to Cecil Road. (IG POST LINK).

Address 72 Charing Cross Rd, Covent Garden, London WC2H

8.Henry Pordes Books [photos]

A family-run shop founded in 1983, relatively new compared to other book stores, but no less interesting. It was the most popular bookstore in London in the 80s! To date it attracts many tourists and also Londoners, but especially students of Fine Arts / Architecture, but also those who have a strong interest in photography: in fact it has several vintage books on these topics Limited editions, first editions and valuable books are displayed on shelves. It is  located in Charing Cross Road like Quinto bookshop.

Address 58-60 Charing Cross Rd, Covent Garden, London WC2H

9.The Bookshop on the Heath

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If you love old books you have to come here, because it is the real paradise for this topic, it also really deserves a photo for your Instagram: it has a delicious window frame! It is rather tidy compared to other places, and divided into several sections, and a section entirely dedicated to the Penguin books, old editions. Here they often organize public readings of old editions, collectible books and old publications. I’m sure you won’t come out of here without a book, the place is lovely. It’s not as central as other book stores, but it’s still in a residential area that’s worth a visit, so you’ll also get to see less touristy neighborhoods, it’s also not far from Greenwich Park, so if you come in the summer it’s an opportunity to combine the two spots with a nice picnic!

Address 74 Tranquil Vale , Blackheath, SE3 0BW



10.Halcyon Books [photos]

This place, the last one for this article, it has something additional compared  to other shops: it has a Cafe inside so it’s a great place to wander around the shop between the books, but then also have the opportunity to relax in this quiet environment and that exudes serenity. An afternoon with friends, a stop from the day of tours to London. You can decide whether to stay inside while enjoying a good tea, or go to their terrace outside: perfect if you come in summer! When it come to books, it certainly offers a lot of choices, a lot of genres other than fiction to travel books. I personally like it very much, even if it is not very central so I recommend it if you have some time to use. It’s worth adding it to your itinerary if you’re exploring south London. You never know what you might find!

Address 266 Lee High Road, Lewisham, SE13 5PL

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