With its unbeatable literary history and the best selection of independent bookshops around, Oxford is heaven for book lovers. Of course, you can expect to find the usual big chain bookshops in the city, but it’s the unique, indie stores run by people with a passion for reading that are the true gems here.
No round-up of Oxford bookshops would be complete without Blackwell’s. Arguably one of the most famous bookshops in the UK, Blackwell’s is an Oxford institution and home to over 250,000 books – yes, really! The shop’s Norrington Room even holds the Guinness World Record for the largest single room selling books in the world, and at 10,000 square feet with three miles of shelving it’s not hard to see why. There are now nine branches of Blackwell’s in the city, but the original Broad Street shop is hands down the one to check out.
This two-storey shop situated in the heart of the city was the very first Oxfam bookshop to open, back in 1987. It’s the place to go for second-hand books on all sorts of topics – expect to find everything from well-thumbed cookery books (perfect for uni students who’ve just moved away from home) to hefty, academic tomes. Although buying second-hand is usually a good way to save some money, don’t be surprised to find the odd pricey literary gem on the shelves. The shop is famous for selling a very rare, donated Graham Greene novel for £15,000 in 2008.
Not your typical discount bookshop, Last Bookshop stocks books covering a big range of topics, from art and music to fiction and philosophy, all at amazing prices. It’s hugely popular with students, and with good reason. There’s even a café here for you to sit down with a hot drink while you make a start on your new purchases.