There are many reasons to visit Covent Garden, London. The breath-taking opera house, bustling old market and charming cobbled streets draw many visitors, but it’s also a booklover’s dream. Read on for more literary inspiration from the bookshops in the heart of Covent Garden.
Perched on the borders of Covent Garden and Soho, Foyles’ flagship branch is beloved by Londoners and visitors alike. The world-famous bookshop carries the widest range of titles of any bookstore in the UK, as well as a busy calendar of literary and musical events year-round. Whatever you’re interested in – whether it’s science, sports, photography or fiction – you can be sure Foyles will stock it. A huge children’s section is also available for the youngest of bookworms.
Do you like your books with a side of kink? Then Soho Original Books is the place for you. As well as stocking a variety of art, fashion, photography and erotic books upstairs, it also carries a wide selection of sex toys, aphrodisiacs, and massage oils in its basement. A cross between an arty bookshop and a licensed sex shop, it has something of a cult status in London’s famous Soho area, with its first incarnation established on Brewer St in 1993.
For lovers of all things Japanese, JP Books should be your first port of call. There you’ll find the largest range of Japanese books and materials available in Europe – and they can order anything you can’t already find there. It offers Japanese language learning books, plus magazines, novels, travel guides and much, much more. You can also find unique Japanese stationary, origami paper and sake cups – perfect as little gifts.
If you can’t find what you need in JP Books, or you want a greater fix of all things Japanese, then Adanami has to be your next stop. Quirkily housed within an ex-launderette – the sign outside still promises ‘De-Luxe Cleaning’ – Adanami is a second hand Japanese bookshop by day and a karaoke bar at night. Of course. The booths at the back can be rented by the hour, so for an authentic Japanese experience you can start by browsing the manga at the front of the shop, and retreat for a bout of karaoke when your friends arrive.
Find your latest literary obsession in the Covent Garden treasure trove that is the Quinto Bookshop. Specialising in second hand books, the bookshop stands out amongst the crowds on Charing Cross Road with its distinctive green façade. The ground floor is dedicated to their partners Francis Edwards booksellers, who are devoted to rare and antiquarian books. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something slightly more ordinary, then in the basement Quinto Books have a wide selection of second hand books on all subjects. It’s the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon.