Best Independent Bookshops in Southern England

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“A town isn’t a town without a bookstore” – Neil GaimanWhile libraries may be closing across the country, thankfully there are still some brilliant independent bookshops to get your literary fix. So whether you’re after a classic or the latest release, get browsing with our guide to the best in Southern England.

Red Lion Books, Colchester

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Passionate about the value of physical books, Red Lion Books is a stalwart of Colchester’s cultural life. The modern, independent bookshop stocks a fantastic selection of books for both children and adults, as well as a range of the best new titles. The store also hosts various author visits throughout the year, with a focus on supporting local authors, while downstairs you will find a gallery area with regularly changing exhibitions featuring the areas most talented artists.

Red Lion Books can be found at 125 High Street, Colchester CO1 1SZ

David's Bookshop, Hertfordshire

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Established in 1963, David’s Bookshop stocks over 50,000 books. Set over two floors you will find everything from cheap paperbacks to collectors’ volumes. The store also holds creative writing workshops and author talks. Can’t find the book you’re after? Simply contact David’s Bookshops and they will try and source it for you. Once you’ve made your selection, stop by the on-site coffee shop for a coffee, tea and delicious homemade cakes.

David's Bookshop can be found at 14 Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire SG6 3DE

Blackwell's Bookshop, Oxfordshire

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While Blackwell’s can be found across the country, Oxford is proudly home to the original. Since opening in 1879, Blackwell's Bookshop has expanded to house an incredible 125,000 books over four floors, and is easily the city’s largest bookshop. In fact, the shop even holds a place in the Guinness Books of Records with the largest single display of books for sale in the world. Overwhelmed by the sheer choice? With varied expertise, the knowledgeable booksellers are more than happy to help you find what you’re after. Better still, the store organises walking literary tours of central Oxford and holds over 300 events every year, which includes signings, talks, and readings.

Blackwell's Bookshop can be found at 48-51 Broad St, Oxford OX1 3BQ

October Books, Southampton

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For a radical, independent bookshop, look no further than October Books. Saved from closure by a crowdfunding campaign in 2014, the beloved leftist bookshop is more than just a place to buy a book. Founded in 1977, the non-for-profit co-operative neighbourhood bookshop stocks everything from general popular fiction and children’s books to a specialised range of radical books and magazines. October Books also sells a large range of organic foods and drinks, as well as an abundance of fair trade goods.

October Books can be found at 243 Portswood Rd, Southampton SO17 2NG

Image credit: The Bookshop Around The Corner

Run by a collective of booksellers, P&G Wells is a literary haven. Located a few doors down from the last house Jane Austen lived in, the secondhand, antiquarian bookshop has been selling books in Winchester for over 250 years. The old-fashioned shop, complete with stunning oak windows, houses a varied selection of new books, a collection of beautiful hardbacks and boasts one of the largest stocks of children’s books in the region. P&G Wells also hosts book fairs, author events, creative writing workshops, and runs book groups for all ages.

P&G Wells can be found at 11 College St, Winchester SO23 9LZ