ELLE Decoration contributing editor and self-confessed bookworm Amy Bradford selects her four favourite independent London bookshops.
1 Any Amount of Books and Henry Pordes Books
These are two of the last bastions of Charing Cross Road’s sadly almost extinct secondhand book trade. A vist will be rewarded with literary finds that you might never otherwise have discovered, including many an out-of-print treasure. Expensive antiquarian editions and cheap paperbacks coexist in joyful profusion. 56 and 58-60 Charing Cross Road, London WC2
2 Heywood Hill
Evelyn Waugh called Heywood Hill ‘a centre of all that was left of fashionable and intellectual London’; Nancy Mitford manned the tills during the Second World War. This pretty bookshop in a Georgian townhouse in Mayfair opened in 1936 and has atmosphere in spades. It does things the old-fashioned way: it will build you a library, set up a birthday gift service to post books to your loved ones and search out elusive titles with its book search service. Bliss. 10 Curzon Street, London W1
3 Maison Assouline
Set in a 1920s Edwin Lutyens building revamped by interior designer Guy Oliver, Maison Assouline (pictured) is not so much a bookshop as a temple for books. Assouline’s coffee-table tomes are among the most covetable in the world; combine them with luxurious relaxation zones, cabinets of curiosities and a bar and you have a bibliophile’s paradise. 196a Piccadilly, Saint James, London W1
4 Persephone Books
Persephone Books on Lamb’s Conduit Street is as pretty as a picture, thanks to its stacks of books featuring beautifully patterned endpapers (designs are taken from vintage textiles; note the piles of matching paper bookmarks, which are included in the purchase. The focus is on books by neglected writers, mostly women. 59 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London, WC1
Discover more of the ELLE Decoration team’s recommended bookshops
And why not pick up a copy of this… The London bookshop Map
And not forgetting The School of Life, one of our very favourite places to visit for some inspirational and motivating literature, not to mention a great talks programme and good gifts!