Bookshop crawl #1

Bookshop crawl: as I sat there planning a fun day out in London, I didn’t even know that such a thing existed. All I knew is that I was meeting one of my very few friends who enjoys talking about and looking at books as much as I do and I was going to take full advantage of it!

That’s how I came to organise my first ‘bookshop crawl’ – the first of many to come, I’m sure! Want to know more? Keep reading!

Below is the itinerary we followed. It originally included two further bookshops at the end but we soon realised that we would never have enough time to tour them all unless we rushed. We never intended this to be a marathon though so we were happy to take our time and have a great excuse to repeat the experience and finish what we started!

Before we even started our itinerary, the bus from central London deposited us steps away from Peckham library. I had seen photos of it online and the building itself had caught my attention so that’s where we started!

On the 4th floor of an impressive building, Peckham library is remarkably bright and airy and features a lot of space, a lot of seating options and – most importantly – a lot of catchy and interesting book displays and collections. It’s one of the best libraries I’ve seen… one of those you could easily spend a whole day in.

We didn’t have a whole day to spend there though so onwards we walked to our first real stop of our tour: Review, 131 Bellenden Road, Peckham SE15 4QY.

A cute red door on a bright white background, especially inviting on a sunny day. Dog friendly with a lovely selection of nice stationery and bookish gifts. It’s a small shop but perfectly arranged. I loved the hand-written notes dotted around and the shop assistant was super friendly with all customers, many of whom seemed to be regulars. I bought Flush by Virginia Woolf here and – with my purchase – I received a bookmark with the logo of the shop. Win win!

Our walk continued to Chener Books, 14 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich SE22 8HN.

Probably the biggest of the four bookshops. Definitely the one with the biggest amount of books and the widest choice, which made it our longest stop. For these reasons, however, it didn’t feel as ‘in danger of extinction’ as the other three shops we visited that day. Never judge a book by its cover though – or a bookshop by its size! I bought The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa here and enjoyed a 20% discount for paying cash. Yay!

Next stop was Rye Books, 45 Upland Road, East Dulwich SE22 9EF.

With a little area in front of the shop with leaflets about courses, events etc., the shop seems to be at the centre of community life, which is always nice to see. A very pleasing green exterior leads you into a relatively small space inside. Perhaps too small – but that’s why they’re moving to new premises, I believe. The in-house dog, George, was a success with my friend and the friendly bookseller engaged us in conversation. I bought Selection Day by Aravind Adiga here, which I found in a little corner of the shop that hosts second-hand books.

On the way to our fourth and final stop we stumbled across Dulwich libray, with lovely big windows streaming light inside and a gorgeous garden outside to enjoy reading on milder days.

Our tour ended on a high with the beautiful Village Books, 1D Calton Avenue, Dulwich SE21 7DE.

With its bright red awning, this shop wouldn’t look out of place on a Parisian corner! Over two floors, with reading corners upstairs and a gorgeous flower arrangement on the ground floor, the smiley staff know how to make the most of this place. I bought The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley here, which was recently recommended by John Boyne on Book Off!, and I received another bookmark for my collection!

And thus my first bookshop crawl came to an end!

Which are your favourite bookshops – not necessarily in London? Share them below in the comments or head over to Twitter. Happy reading!


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