I’ve recently been to a couple of immensely cool bookshops that I wanted to share.
Waterstones Bradford Wool Exchange
Bradford isn’t somewhere that I associate with history and tradition. But a couple of weekends ago I went there to visit Jane of Jane & Bex book blog who works in a Waterstones in the centre of Bradford, and that visit proved how wrong I was.
I expect a certain soothing but uninteresting uniformity from Waterstones stores – after all, this is the biggest book chain in the country. But the Bradford shop is amazing. Occupying the town’s Victorian Wool Exchange building, it’s a fabulous piece of architecture that just happens to have a bookshop inside. What’s not to love about that?
The best views in the shop come from the mezzanine café. From there you get a closer look at the heraldic sculptures on the ceiling beams, those beautifully structured windows, the elegant pillars, and the in house statue.
That’s right, this is a bookshop with its own Victorian statue. How awesome is that?
Oh, and the café also does brilliant cakes. I had the cappuccino slice and a big Americano for a double coffee treat.
I won’t lie, I was a little fidgety after that.
Second hand bookshop at Lyme Park
I’m going to start this one by making the Pride and Prejudice fans jealous. Lyme Park, which played the part of Pemberley in the BBC’s 1990s production of P&P, is just a few miles down the road from me.
That’s right, I can spend my Sundays walking around the lake Mr Darcy dived into, and buying ugly over-priced Mr Darcy mugs from their gift shop.
This place was already pretty awesome from a book lover’s perspective. A few years ago they did a huge restoration project on the library in the grand house at Lyme Park. Since the restoration they have comfy seats and books available for you to relax with in the library. So halfway round your tour of this stately home, with all its fine art and furnishings, you can take a rest and have a read. I can tell from personal experience that it’s a good place to stop with small children, to give them a break from the sight seeing, but I also love it as an adult, getting to sit and read in a proper old school aristocratic library.
And now they’ve added an extra little joy, shown in the photo (no, that’s not the library, the library is far grander). They’ve put in a second hand bookshop next to the gift shop. So now instead of buying a tea towel showing Colin Firth in a tailcoat I can pick up a cheap paperback and help fund the National Trust that way.
I love finding interesting bookshops in unexpected places. If you have a chance you should check these two out.
Does anyone else have any others they’d like to recommend? Where ever you are in the world, tell us about your interesting bookshops.