Five Unmissable Bookshops In Bristol and Bath
Bristol and Bath are a book-lover’s paradise, filled with cosy independent and secondhand/charity bookshops. There is something for everyone, whether you’re a bargain-hunter or searching out that special gift. Here are my top five in no particular order (because picking five was hard enough!).
Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights
Location: John Street, Bath
Best for: Bookish events
Mr B’s team are super friendly and make you feel welcome in the shop. They are at the forefront of all knowledge about books and are sure to make enthusiastic recommendations! If you’re looking for a unique gift, they also sell book subscriptions and reading spas.
Don’t forget to sign up to their newsletter so you don’t miss any of their amazing bookish events. I have been lucky enough to go to author Q&As and book signings with Markus Zusak (The Book Thief, Bridge of Clay) and Madeline Miller (Song of Achilles, Circe). There is always a real buzz, making you feel like you’re part of a book-loving community.
Topping & Company
Location: The Paragon, Bath
Best for: Browsing experience
About: The first thing that struck me about Topping & Company when I first walked in was the size; it’s huge! It can be difficult to know where to start, but there’s no hurry. The team understands that browsing is part of what people love about bookshops, and will offer you a complimentary cup of tea while you peruse their shelves.
As you can see from their website, there are new events multiple times a week, whether you enjoy fiction or non-fiction. Nowhere else will Greek Cypriot food, the Russian Civil War and a guided history walk around Bath appear within the same week!
The Beaufort Bookshop
Location: Beaufort Place, Bath
Best for: Eclectic collection
About: Beaufort Bookshop is a half-hour walk or short bus journey outside of the centre of Bath, but is well worth the trip. It is a hidden gem, cosy and quirky - if you’re lucky, the shop dog might even be there for a cuddle too! They stock new and second-hand books in an eclectic collection that boasts everything from Ancient Egyptology to fantasy novels.
The Beaufort Bookshop also prides itself on being a core part of the community, hosting children’s events, creative writing workshops, book clubs, and debates.
Location: Queen’s Road, Bristol
Best for: Unexpected finds
About: What better excuse for going book shopping than helping a good cause at the same time? Oxfam Bookshop stocks a massive variety of second-hand books, both fiction and non-fiction. It’s the perfect way to stock up your bookshelves without stretching budgets. They also welcome donations if you’re having a clear-out.
A charity bookshop may not initially seem the most obvious place to buy gifts, but it’s surprising what you can stumble across. I found a beautiful antique book of Japanese myths as a birthday present for my notoriously hard-to-buy-for brother!
The Last Bookshop
Location: Park Street, Bristol
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/The-Last-Bookshop-133099560201574/ (they don’t have their own website)
Best for: Bargains!!!
About: I challenge any self-respecting book-lover to walk into The Last Bookshop and not emerge with a teetering stack. All books are £3, or any 2 for £5, so the good value makes temptation difficult to avoid!
This shop also feels like an oasis of calm in the hustle and bustle of Park Street and the city centre. It’s very special to me because I have been returning there since I was a young teenager to scan the shelves, weave between tables stacked with my favourite genres, in my very own literary utopia.
Written By Florence Edwards