Sunday mornings and laid-back bookshop browsing are a match made in heaven and sprinkled across London are a wealth of options. From Hogwarts-like haunts with wood-panelled walls to quirky hideaways with colourful shelves, and; brightly-lit modern fiction meccas to stacks of books just for cooks (really), you'll be spoilt for choice on your next visit to this cool capital.
Housed in a beautifully ornate Edwardian store on Marylebone's chic high street (as well as a handful of other locations across London), Daunts Books is a dream come true for bookworms and travel addicts alike. Wind your way to the back of the shop and you'll reach the long, galleried main room complete with oak balconies, bespoke bookshelves and a stained-glass window. Here, arranged by country, are is a heady selection of books of. Ffiction and non-fiction, history and guide - all jumbled together in delicious disarray. Let geography be your guide as you venture across the globe to find your next great read and don't leave without one of their famous Daunt Books tote bags which will have you looking like a real Londoner.
Blazoned on the wall when you first enter the Soho branch of Foyles is a wonderfully inviting message to all lovers of the printed word: 'Welcome book lover, you are among friends.' And with 200,000 titles stored across four miles of shelves (the equivalent of lining one bank of the Thames with books from Battersea Power Station to the Tower of London), there's room here for a whole lot of friends. Once you're done browsing (just a couple of years later) head up to the cactus-filled cafe - book in hand - for a coffee, sweet-treat or light lunch.
Persephone Books, Holborn
Wooden floors, higgledy-piggledy stacks of pale grey-covered books and vases of flowers dotted here and there - entering Persephone Books in Holborn feels like popping over to a friend's house to borrow a book. Opened in 1998, the original concept of this publisher-come-bookshop was to publish a handful of 'lost' or out-of-print books every year, most of them interwar novels by women. Continuing in this tradition, the only books published here are the ones that the owners completely and utterly love - the best kind of bookworm bookshop (plus, there's a Charles Dickens Museum just around the corner for the most discerning of book loversto supercharge your literary adventure).
Books for Cooks, Notting Hill
Anyone with a love of reading (and eating) will devour the tasty titles in Notting Hill's Books for Cooks located just off London's famous Portobello Road. Crammed full of thousands of cookbooks (all put to the test in the store's cafe) and with squashy sofas perfect for curling up on, you'll feel right at home here. Stomach rumbling, treat yourself to a delicious dish in the cafe or book onto one of the cookery classes - the perfect Sunday indulgence.
Head over to Spitalfields Market in London's edgy east to discover the cute and quirky Libreria bookshop. Yellow shelves, warm lighting, cosy reading nooks and a mirrored ceiling all add to the charm of this place. Foregoing the alphabetical organisation favoured by mainstream bookshops, Libreria arranges according to broader and more creative themes...everything from 'Wanderlust' to 'The City' to encourage you to look beyond your typical genres and discover a whole new world of fiction.
Stanfords, Covent Garden
Maps, globes and guides galore - for travel books (and at Original Travel we love a good travel book) Stanfords is the place. Set up by Edward Stanford in 1853 and recently re-located to a new site across the road from its 100-year home on Long Acre, this much-loved book shop is so iconic that it even got a mention in Arthur Conan Doyle's 'Hound of the Baskervilles.' Mooch around for an hour or so and you'll discover that your travel bucket-list has miraculously doubled in size. Don't say we didn't warn you.