The Best Independent Bookshops in Hackney

Amy Wakeham

A melting pot of everything that is great about East London—good coffee, hip bars, cool markets—Hackney is the place to be seen in London right now. But, fear not, literature lovers; in addition to all the achingly cool cafés and street food, there’s also a great deal of fascinating bookshops worth a browse on a weekend afternoon.

1. The Broadway Bookshop

Shop, Market, Bookstore

Broadway Bookshop, on trendy Broadway Market in Hackney, East London, E8, England, UK. Image shot 07/2012. Exact date unknown.
© Monica Wells / Alamy Stock Photo
Situated right by the canal in Broadway Market, The Broadway Bookshop is worth a visit once you’ve had your fill of artisan coffee and baked delights. Small but beautifully formed, the friendly independent bookshop specialises in literary fiction and stocks a range of poetry, philosophy, politics, travel, fashion and art books, amongst many others. What’s more, the bookshop is also a permanent exhibition space, featuring the works of local artists. They also frequently hold literary events, such as book launches and talks with authors.

2. Telling Tales

Market, Shop, Store

Enchant and inspire your youngest family members and friends with this charming children’s bookshop in the heart of Hackney. Sure to make reading devotees of even the most book-shy children, Telling Tales is right on the canal, just down from Broadway Market. They stock a range of delightfully designed and illustrated children’s tales, educational books, craft manuals and much more.

3. Donlon Books

Market, Shop, Bookstore

Fancy your coffee with a side order of idiosyncrasy? Then Donlon Books is a must-stop on your weekend trip to Broadway Market. An independent bookshop and publisher that opened in 2008, Donlon Books has a reputation for stocking a varied range of new and rare titles, magazines and other printed materials. Concentrating on art, critical theory, LGBT, fashion and erotica, amongst other genres, the shop also promotes independent publishers and supports authors and artists by buying directly from them. Book readings, launches and screenings also make this an important destination for all culture vultures.

5. Pages of Hackney


Pages of Hackney 1 Credit Toby Peters of Marmalade Panic
Courtesy of Toby Peters of Marmalade Panic
An unobtrusive little bookshop next to a takeaway on Lower Clapton Road, Pages of Hackney makes a rather extraordinary addition to this very ordinary street. It is worth the journey; the shop is light, bright, full of friendly staff and bursting with contemporary and classic fiction, travel books and cookbooks, children’s books, and much more. The basement is full of vintage and second-hand editions of Penguin Classics, science fiction, philosophy and art books. For music lovers, there’s also a choice selection of vintage vinyl to enjoy. Cosy armchairs mean you’re welcome to stay and read the day away, if you like.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article