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The Shard | © Paul Hudson/Flickr
The Shard | © Paul Hudson/Flickr
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The Best Independent Bookshops in Southwark

Picture of James Gunn
Updated: 15 October 2017
Southwark is instantly locatable from any part of the capital by looking for the Shard rising high above the city skyline. Yet if you want to achieve such heights at street level in this Thames-touching London borough, check out some of these independent bookshops.
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The Calder Bookshop & Theatre

The Calder Bookshop & Theatre is an independent bookshop which comes packaged with an independent theatre space to boot. Founded in 2011 by publishing legend John Calder, the original purpose of the bookshop cum theatre was to be able to host whatever plays the owners wanted to put on. The result is that while some might think of the Calder Bookshop as holding politically controversial views, one thing it can never be called is dull.

The Calder Bookshop & Theatre, 51 The Cut, London

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Tabernacle Bookshop

The Tabernacle Bookshop can be found just behind Elephant & Castle tube station and, as the name suggests, it provides a comprehensive range of Christian reading and reference works. It is the largest distributor of Christian Sunday School lessons and, as such, is closed on Sundays with limited opening hours the rest of the week.

Tabernacle Bookshop, Metropolitan Tabernacle, London

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Marcus Campbell Art Books

A two-minute walk from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the South Bank is where you will find Marcus Campbell Art Books. The owner’s eponymous shop opened in anticipation of the Tate Modern in 2000, gambling on the future success of the gallery. Win big he did, and his shop now stocks books ranging from £1 to £3,000 and is a delight for anyone who wants prolong their riverside art experience.

Marcus Campbell Art Books, 43 Holland Street, London

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The Riverside Bookshop

On the other side of the Globe and beyond London Bridge is where The Riverside Bookshop can be found. As the website glibly points out, the bookshop mainly sells, well, books. 10,000 titles in-store as well as the hundreds of thousand they could order for you within a couple of days at no extra cost. Personality and a deep knowledge of the industry is what the staff offer, and, if caught with a spare lunch break, there aren’t many better shops in the area to spend your time.

The Riverside Bookshop, 15 Hay’s Galleria, Tooley Street, London

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Ian Allan

If you have arrived into London Waterloo by train, and you just can’t bear to end your locomotive experience there, check out Ian Allen Ltd. This bookshop has a long history of offering a wide range of transport and military books and magazines as well as actual model railways, trains and aircrafts. So either bring out your inner child or take your dad, he might love it.

Ian Allan Ltd., 45-46 Lower Marsh, London

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Travelling Through

The shop a few doors down approaches Travel slightly differently to Ian Allen. Travelling Through focuses on the changing cultural elements of travel, rather than its industrial modes. The independent trader offers books, art and social events to tap into both the culture of London and many others around the world. Ethical sourcing of products comes high in the list of priorities at Travelling Through, so while its name might imply transience, its intention is to build something much more sustainable and permanent.

Travelling Through, 131 Lower Marsh, London