Whether you’re looking for a first edition Tolkien or a rare recipe book, try our pick of Kensington and Chelsea’s best independent bookshops
1 John Sandoe Books
A local literary institution since opening in 1958, the eponymous bookshop makes no apologies for its sprawling, somewhat chaotic arrangement of titles over three floors. Boasting 25,000 books across mutiple genres such as modern fiction, biography, poetry, history and art, this shop has a dedicated following. Sandoe has since retired but there has been little change amongst other existing employees, emphasising the the enthusiasm and expertise that a visit to the store should unveil.
10 Blacklands Terrace SW3 2SR, johnsandoe.com
2 Books for Cooks
If you’re looking to feast your eyes upon a cookery book then there really is no better place than Books for Cooks. Here a long peruse around the stacked shelves can be followed by a trip to the test kitchen where recipes are always being put into practice. However, daytime recipe testing is just one aspect here as the cookery workshops have proved so popular it has outgrown the original test kitchen and moved upstairs.
4 Blenheim Crescent W11 1NN, 020 7221 1992, booksforcooks.com
3 Daunt books
For bookworms in the area, the name Daunt Books is unlikely to have passed you by. Well known as one of London’s top travel bookshops, Daunt’s original premises still stands in the same spot on Marylebone High Street. Its Holland Park store holds regular talks with authors and organises literary discussions.
112-113 Holland Park Avenue W11 4UA, 020 7727 7022, dauntbooks.co.uk
4 Lutyens & Rubinstein
Founded in 2009, Lutyens & Rubinstein’s collection is shaped by a focus on excellence in writing and narrative, and its store on Kensington Park Road offers a range of bespoke services. These include its Boarder’s Book Club that offers to post a new book once a month to children living away from home for a prolonger period.
21 Kensington Park Road W11 2EU; 020 7229 1010, lutyensrubinstein.co.uk
5 Adrian Harrington Rare Books
From its original location in Chelsea Antiques Market to its current incarnation on Kensington Church Street, Adrian Harrington has always sat amongst the capital’s prime antique traders: something that is perfectly fitting for a shop renowned for its trade in rare and antiquarian books.
64A Kensington Church Street W8 4DB; 020 7937 1465, harringtonbooks.co.uk