Updated: Jul 16, 2020
In this time of isolation, I’ve found myself yearning for bookstores. There is something quietly relaxing for me in wandering around them, something that I have missed whilst being unable to visit stores. Bookshops, as they are for many bookworms, are safe spaces full of potential worlds ready to explore and discover. From the smell to the feel of books, to the atmosphere, to the staff there is nothing better than a very long walk through bookshops! This list is made up of my favourite stores and the stories behind why I love them! Hope you enjoy and can discover or rediscover some of these as soon as it is safe to do so! Heffers, Cambridge- Heffers in Cambridge is a book lovers paradise! Not only is it huge but the range of books they own is phenomenal. I first discovered Heffers when I went in with some old school friends during a trip to Cambridge aged 16. A few years later I remembered it existed whilst on a Christmas shopping trip with my boyfriend. After a frantic search through streets, neither of us knew very well we eventually found it and lost at least an hour inside! Ever since the store has been essential to any trip to Cambridge. Heffers has books I have never seen anywhere else (my Yayoi Kusama Alice in Wonderland book was discovered here) and seemingly owns every book under the sun. Were it not for them, I would have missed out on many a great book in the last couple of years. Not only do they provide such an amazing array of books but Heffers is worth checking out for its layout alone. Walking in you are greeted by a large lower ground floor filled with history books, nonfiction and a rather extensive selection of second-hand books. On each side of this level, there is a set of stairs leading to many bookshelves filled with classics, poetry, sci-fi, folios, plays. All of these are set up in a series of little coves, each with a comfy armchair and ladders to help reach the highest shelf. It’s the old library of my dreams, except it actually exists and I can keep the books forever! Blickling hall second-hand bookstore, Norfolk- Blickling Hall is a National Trust property in Norfolk! Attached to the side of it there is a beautiful courtyard with a coffee shop, a plant store and of course the all-important bookshop. I haven’t always lived in Norfolk, so my first discovery of this bookstore was when I visited Blickling with my family on holiday aged 8 or 9! At the time I loved books but didn’t fully appreciate how cool it was that there was a massive barn full of old books just sat inconspicuously in the middle of nowhere. Now I’m older and live in Norfolk, the area surrounding Blickling has become an important walking spot for me. I often go with my friends or boyfriend on the long countryside walk down from the local village to the Blickling estate and round the lake situated on the grounds. I love this walk but by the time it finishes a trip to the bookstore feels very well deserved! As it is all second hand you can grab some amazing bargains- the last time I went I bought around 5 books for 10 pounds! Well worth both the walk and the books! City books, Norwich- City books was a discovery I made whilst on my book club’s Norwich bookshop crawl. Having lived here for 4 years I was shocked that I hadn’t yet ventured inside, but when I did, I was pleasantly surprised! Tucked away on an unassuming back street in Norwich city centre, city books is an independent store packed with classics, children’s books, history books, non- fiction and second-hand finds. As a university student who needs exact editions of certain books, City books is a godsend- I can almost guarantee that anything I want, or need will be there at half the price of elsewhere! The wide range of books, the variety of genres and the prices make this the perfect city-centre store.