Voltaire & Rousseau, Glasgow

If the clean displays and the regimented shelves of your average high street bookshop don’t excite you, Glasgow-based Voltaire & Rousseau is the bookshop for you. ‘Discovering’ your next read takes on a literal meaning among the chaotic piles of new and vintage books and the floor to ceiling shelves.

Word on the Water, London

While many of us would never risk even taking a book into the bath, the owners of Word on the Water have created a stunning independent bookshop on a 1920s Dutch barge. The bookshop has quickly become a beloved favourite amongst readers, with 6000 signing a recent petition which secured Word on the Water a permanent mooring at London’s Granary Square.

Scarthin Books, Peak District

Scarthin Books is the kind of shop you can spend an entire day in. With tens of thousands of books, both new and second-hand, packed throughout and a vegetarian cafe in which you can enjoy a hearty meal, Scarthin Books is a place a book lover could happily holiday in. 

Wenlock Books, Shropshire

Located in a restored 14th century building, Wenlock books is a cosy yet comprehensive bookshop with a beautiful antique feel to it. Despite being located out of the way in the small town of Much Wenlock, this is a highly popular bookshop due to its character, its careful selection of new and old titles, and the passion of its owner, Anna Dreda.

Barter Books, Northumberland

Barter Books is located in an old railway station, and for many booklovers that’s enough of a quirk to warrant a visit. Inside you’ll find plenty of books to browse, and ample chairs on which to sit and sample a few pages. There’s even a room with a cosy open fireplace that you could easily lose several hours in.

News from Nowhere, Liverpool

A bookshop with a somewhat radical, yet entirely commendable, approach. News from Nowhere is a not-for-profit operation owned and run by a collective of equally paid workers committed to social change. They stock a wide range of literature designed to challenge, inspire, and empower people, and they regularly support struggles for justice and other good causes.

No Alibis, Belfast

As you can probably guess, No Alibis is a bookshop dedicated to crime fiction. It is special because of the knowledgeable and attentive attitude of its staff, who are always on hand to provide a welcome coffee and to introduce you to new reads and authors.

Hay Cinema Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye

In 1965 the redundant cinema in Hay-on-Wye was turned into a second-hand bookshop and it still thrives today. It’s special not only because of its unique setting, but also because of the 200,000 plus volumes you’ll find inside. They carry a huge variety of books, from scruffy pre-loved works you can buy for a handful of change, to antique wonders worth thousands of pounds.

P&G Wells, Winchester
Beloved by the local students and university professors as well as the general public, P&G Wells is a small independent bookshop that has been in existence for over 250 years. As well as a diverse stock, the bookshop boasts a varied calendar of events, and is even home to a traditional bookbinder.

St Ives Bookseller, Cornwall

The beautifully appointed St Ives Bookseller provides a Cornish haven for book lovers, complete with solid bookshelves and Cornish slate flooring. It’s packed full of great reads, as well as a special section for signed books, and is only seconds from the beach.

Discovering a great bookshop is like making a new friend. A very eccentric friend who closes on Sundays. The retailers here merely represent the tip of the UK’s fantastic independent ‘book-berg’. Get out there and keep discovering!

Words: FlipSnack