A collection of old and rare books on display
A collection of old and rare books on displayShutterstock

Bibliophile Alert: Rare Bookstores In London You Should Not Miss

Step into a world of first edition signed copies, old maps, portraits, rare collections and more. Check out our curated list of rarest bookstores in London

At the turn of a street, in a corner nestled unsuspiciously sandwiched between two buildings, there might lie a rare bookstore where you might find a little book that may change your life forever. Books are those special objects that may unveil your own self to you in a way you never knew before. Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky famously said, "A book read by a thousand different people is a thousand different books." As such, every book matters as much as the reader reading it. If you are looking for a book that might engage you in the coming weeks, hop into a bookstore and find your fit. For people in London, we have curated a list of the rarest book stores you should not miss in the city.

Heywood Hill

The front facade of Heywood Hill in Mayfair
The front facade of Heywood Hill in MayfairShutterstock

Heywood Hill, a charming bookstore established in 1936, is a haven for book lovers in search of rare and antiquarian books. It is located in the heart of Mayfair and has become an iconic destination for those seeking unique collections of literary treasures. Once you enter the store, you will be greeted by rows of carefully curated volumes, which include first editions to signed copies, offering a diverse selection of fine literature across various genres, such as fiction, poetry and history. Whether you are looking for a literary masterpiece or seeking expert recommendations, the knowledgeable staff at Heywood Hill are always available to assist you.

Address: 10 Curzon St, London W1J 5HH, United Kingdom

Timings: 9:30 am to 6 pm from Monday to Friday

Maggs Bros. Ltd

1930 Maggs Bros catalogue
1930 Maggs Bros catalogueWikimedia Commons

Maggs Bros. Ltd is a renowned bookstore in Bloomsbury, famous for its unmatched collection of rare books, manuscripts and ephemera. The bookstore was established in 1853 and has a fascinating history of offering exceptional literary treasures, ranging from mediaeval manuscripts to modern first editions. Uriah Maggs was the founder of the company, and eventually, all four of his sons joined the business. Maggs Bros. Ltd. provides professional advice on the books they buy and sell. The building itself showcases old-world charm with its ornate façade and antique furnishings. Visitors can expect to explore diverse literary treasures, each meticulously catalogued and presented with scholarly expertise, catering to collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Address: 48 Bedford Square London WC1B 3DR, United Kingdom

Timings: 9:30 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday

Peter Harrington

The front facade of Peter Harrington in Chelsea
The front facade of Peter Harrington in ChelseaOfficial website: Peter Harrington

Peter Harrington is a renowned bookstore in Chelsea that boasts its exquisite collection of rare books and manuscripts. Upon entering this elegant bookstore, visitors get a feeling of stepping back in time, thanks to its oak-panelled walls and vintage decor. Since its establishment in 1969, Peter Harrington has become one of London's top destinations for book lovers, offering an extensive collection of rare and collectable books, including first and limited editions and illustrated volumes. No matter your interest, whether it's classic literature, modernist poetry, or historical documents, Peter Harrington has an extensive selection curated by experts in the field, waiting for you to peruse.

Address: 100 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6HS, United Kingdom

Timings: 10 am to 6 pm from Monday to Saturday

Sotheran's

An old picture of the front facade of Sotheran's bookstore
An old picture of the front facade of Sotheran's bookstoreOfficial website: Sotheran's

Sotheran's, located in Piccadilly, is the oldest antiquarian bookstore in the world, tracing its roots back to 1761. When you step inside this historic establishment, you'll feel as if you're embarking on a journey through literary history, with its winding corridors and shelves stocked with rare volumes. Despite its age, Sotheran's remains a bastion of knowledge and a sanctuary for book lovers. It boasts an extensive and diverse collection of rare books, prints, maps, and manuscripts that span centuries of human endeavour. Whether you're searching for a rare edition of Shakespeare or a vintage map of London, Sotheran's is sure to have something to pique your interest. The experienced staff are always on hand to provide guidance and insight, making each visit a memorable experience.

Address: 2-5 Sackville St, London W1S 3DP, United Kingdom

Timings: 9:30 am to 6 pm from Monday to Friday

Quaritch

Quaritch is a renowned bookstore in the heart of St. James's. It is an excellent destination for book lovers who appreciate rare and antique books. Founded in 1847, this esteemed bookstore has a rich legacy and outstanding reputation in the rare book industry. The building itself boasts an elegant exterior and tastefully decorated interiors. Quaritch offers a selective collection of rare books, manuscripts, and prints that cater to collectors, scholars, and enthusiasts alike. The bookstore showcases diverse literary treasures, ranging from incunabula to modern first editions, each of which is curated and meticulously authenticated. Visitors can expect personalised service and expert advice from the knowledgeable staff, ensuring a rewarding experience.

Address: 36 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4JH, United Kingdom

Timings: 10 am to 6 pm from Monday to Friday

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