The picturesque streets of Marylebone, just off the very centre of London, are home to some amazing little shops and boutiques. However, it’s the independent bookshops in Marylebone that really make it stand out – and the area’s academic and literary history isn’t to be sniffed at either. Here are some of our favourites of Marylebone’s bookstores.
Tucked away on an unobtrusive street near Marylebone station, the bookshop covers two floors with an impressive collection of second hand and antiquarian books, and sheet music. While the basement is dedicated to music, the ground floor teeters with bookshelves crammed to the rafters with rarefied classics, well-thumbed novels and long-forgotten tomes. Books even spill outside into the street, where they sit in crates on the pavement and wait for their next reader.
The newest addition to Baker Street. On this busy road – the home of literature’s great Sherlock Holmes – lies the first international branch of Egypt’s largest chain of booksellers. Founded in 2009 with the aim of getting Egyptians to read more, ALEF opened in London in 2015 and offers a curated selection of books in English and Arabic, as well as children’s books and stationary. Bright and spacious, it provides the perfect place to discover both bestsellers by your favourite authors and new Arabic writers.
Every student’s best friend. As part of the University of Westminster, and located on its campus on Marylebone Road, Marylebone Books should be the first stop on every student’s list. Specialising in academic books, it’s run by experienced booksellers used to catering to students and lecturers alike. Handily, it also runs a second-hand book scheme which will sell your books on once you’re done with them.
The Royal Institute of British Architects
The imposing 1930s façade of the Royal Institute of British Architects makes the purpose of this building unmistakeable. The RIBA library is just a small part of this impressive Art Deco institution, offering architecture enthusiasts a vast collection of books and periodicals to browse in an awe-inspiring setting. Although specialising in architecture, anyone is welcome to visit and peruse the catalogue of over four million architectural items.
Every bookworm’s fantasy. Daunt Books is a London legend, but the chain’s figurehead is most definitely the Marylebone bookshop. Nestled on Marylebone High Street, Daunt Books retains its original Edwardian splendour, complete with oak panelling, long galleries and graceful skylights. The Marylebone branch specialises in travel books, but it also provides a great selection of contemporary classics and iconic novels. Be warned: it’s very easy to lose yourself among the high bookshelves and cosy armchairs dotted around.