A Guide to London for Book Lovers

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London Calling's indispensable guide to literary labyrinth that is London

Welcome to London, where the streets are paved with prose and every corner boasts a literary surprise! From floating book barges to encounters with Peter Pan, this city is a haven for book lovers seeking their next chapter of adventure. With a literary lineage stretching from Chaucer to Alderton, and a cultural tapestry woven with the threads of Dickens and Orwell, London is a veritable library of delights waiting to be explored. So, pack your imagination and prepare to leaf through the pages of history as we uncover the hidden gems and literary landmarks that make London a book lover's paradise!

Browse in London's Best Book Shops


From the classy confines of the London Review Bookshop to the snug embrace of Nomad Books, and the timeless allure of Hatchards—the UK's oldest bookshop—London offers a literary treasure trove for every bookworm. Delve into the rich tapestry of LGBT literature at Gay's The Word or uncover 'lost' gems by female authors at Persephone Books. Embark on a literary journey across the globe at Daunt Books' flagship store in Marylebone, where books are organized by country, promising a passport to literary adventures. For a truly novel experience, hop aboard Word on the Water, a charming barge-bookshop moored near King's Cross, or lose yourself amidst the outdoor stalls of the Southbank Centre Book Market—a haven for secondhand and antique book enthusiasts. And let's not forget Cecil Court, affectionately known as 'Bookseller's Row,' where Victorian-fronted shops beckon with rare editions and literary curiosities.

Discover London's Literary Landmarks

Jim Dyson

Step into the shoes of Sherlock Holmes at the 'recreated' Baker Street abode or grab your wand for a magical photo op at King's Cross' Platform 9 ¾—just make sure your scarf plays by the rules of gravity! For a more grounded encounter with literary giants, pay homage at Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey or wander through the hauntingly beautiful Highgate Cemetery, where the likes of Chaucer and Eliot find their eternal rest. Keep your eyes peeled for statues honoring London's literary luminaries, from JM Barrie's Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens to Oscar Wilde's witty banter near Trafalgar Square. And if you're feeling particularly adventurous, follow in the footsteps of Chaucer's pilgrims with a pint at Talbot Yard or delve into the Dickensian delights of his former home, now the Charles Dickens Museum on Doughty Street.

Learn More at a Library

The British Museum

In a city brimming with literary treasures, London's libraries reign supreme as sanctuaries for book lovers seeking solace among the stacks. At the iconic British Library, delve into a literary wonderland where the Magna Carta rubs shoulders with DaVinci's notebook and even John Lennon's scribbled lyrics—a veritable Beatles bonanza! While you sip coffee at The British Library's café, immerse yourself in the largest library collection in the world, where first edition books and manuscripts await your eager eyes. But wait, there's more! Peer at original manuscripts with handwritten annotations, including the works of Jane Austen, or marvel at treasures like the Magna Carta and DaVinci's notebooks—because where else would you find such literary majesty? And let's not forget London's local public libraries, each a literary oasis in its own right, or specialist centers like the Poetry Library at the Southbank Centre and the Marx Memorial Library in Clerkenwell.

Visit a Literary Museum

Museums of the World

London's literary museums offer a tantalizing peek into the lives and works of its celebrated scribes, where fact meets fiction in the most captivating of ways. Channel your inner poet at Keats House, where John Keats penned verses under the watchful gaze of a pretty plum tree—just mind your step, or you might end up reciting 'Ode to a Nightingale' yourself! For a Dickensian delight, make your way to the Charles Dickens Museum, where you can step back in time and retrace the footsteps of the man who inspired Scrooges everywhere. And of course, no literary pilgrimage would be complete without a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street, where you can channel your inner sleuth amidst a treasure trove of Holmesian memorabilia. With blue plaques adorning the streets like literary breadcrumbs, from Orwell to du Maurier, London's literary museums promise a journey through time and imagination.

Curl up with a Good Book!


After a day of museum-hopping and literary adventures, it's time to unwind like a well-loved paperback with a cozy cuppa and a captivating read. Whether you're basking in the summer sun under the leafy canopies of Gordon Square or immersing yourself in the whimsical wonders of Kensington Gardens—where even Peter Pan had his early escapades—London's parks offer the perfect backdrop for literary escapism. And when winter's chill sets in, retreat to The Book Club, where you can cozy up with a hot brew and lose yourself in a gripping story. With London's abundance of parks and cafes, curling up with a good book is not just a pastime—it's a page-turning pleasure fit for any book lover!