10 of the best independent bookshops in Hampshire

P&G Wells is a long-established favourite book shop in Winchester 

P&G Wells is a long-established favourite book shop in Winchester - Credit: P&G Wells 

When Stephen King wrote 'Books are a uniquely portable magic' in his memoir On Writing, he really hit the nail on the head.

These fabulous independent bookshops all around Hampshire will allow you to be transported to Middle Earth, to some far-flung galactic empire or maybe just down the road a little (find out which classic books are set in Hampshire). Now that is magic!

October Books 

October Books in Southampton 

October Books in Southampton - Credit: Nigel Rigden 2019 courtesy of October Books

This brilliant co-operative and community bookshop has served the Southampton area since 1977. The interior design is a mixture of industrial hardware (exposed lighting and pipework and a fabulous vault door behind the counter) and 70's colour, with the most brilliant shade of Orange dominating some of the walls. 

Every book lovers dream, a mildly chaotic floor to ceiling bookshelf filled with exciting books

Every book lovers dream, a mildly chaotic floor to ceiling bookshelf filled with exciting books - Credit: October Books

The floor to ceiling bookshelf is also another highlight. It is filled to the brim with fabulous books from the latest releases like Sally Rooney's Beautiful World, Where Are You?, to more obscure tomes you may never have heard of before. You can also order any book you fancy via their website. We challenge you not to spend the whole day here!

Where: 189 Portswood Rd, Portswood, Southampton SO17 2NF

When: Monday - Saturday 10am - 5.30pm

www.octoberbooks.org

P & G Wells 

Inside the iconic P&G Wells book shop in Winchester 

Inside the iconic P&G Wells book shop in Winchester - Credit: P&G Wells

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P & G Well is believed to be one of the oldest bookshops in the entire country, and it is said that a bookseller has operated on the same site since around 1729. From the utterly charming wooden façade (that hasn't changed since 1891!) to the inviting interior packed full of exciting books, this store is a treasure trove of literature and browsing its shelves is a rather splendid way to while away the day.

Where: 11 College St, Kingsgate St, Winchester SO23 9LZ

When: Monday - Saturday from 9 am - 5.30 pm, and Sunday from 11 am - 5 pm

www.pgwells.co.uk

The Winchester Bookshop

exterior of The Winchester Bookshop

The Winchester Bookshop - Credit: Anne-Louise Barton / The Winchester Bookshop

Specialist's in second-hand and antiquarian books; The Winchester Bookshop has quite the collection for you to peruse.

Colourful antiquarian books at The Winchester Bookshop

Colourful antiquarian books at The Winchester Bookshop - Credit: Anne-Louise Barton / The Winchester Bookshop

Take a peek inside and see what magnificent books you can find; maybe you'll happen upon a lovingly battered copy of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien or an aged edition of The Portrait of Dorian Gray by the fabulously witty Oscar Wilde. 

Where: 10A St George's St, Winchester SO23 8BG

When: Tuesday - Saturday from 10 am to 4.30 pm

www.facebook.com/WinchesterBooks

Room 237

If graphic novels and comic books are your things, then Room 237 is perhaps heaven on earth. Whether your diving into Neil Gaiman's epic series The Sandman before the live-action adaptation hits Netflix next year, or you're a die-hard marvel comics fan looking for something to read in between MCU films.

Where: 29 Albert Rd, Southsea, Portsmouth, Southsea PO5 2SE

When: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 11 am - 5 pm, and Wednesday & Saturday 10 am - 6 pm

www.facebook.com/room237southsea

Medina Bookshop

If you're taking a trip to the Isle of Wight or an island native, Medina Bookshop is a must-visit for any bookworm. With a carefully curated collection of books and friendly and dedicated staff, it could be rather easy to spend hours in this little shop.

Where: 50 High St, Cowes PO31 7RR

When: Monday - Saturday from 10 am - 4.30 pm, and Sunday from 10 am - 4 pm

www.medinabookshop.com

Bookends of Emsworth

At Bookends of Emsworth, you will find a fantastically diverse range of excellent quality second-hand books. So if you're looking for a book with just as much character on the outside as the inside or trying to become more eco-conscious with your purchases, this little gem is well worth a visit. They also buy good quality books from the public.

Where: 7 High St, Emsworth PO10 7AQ

When: Monday - Friday from 10 am - 4 pm and Saturday from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm

www.bookendsofemsworth.co.uk

The Hayling Island Bookshop

Compact in size, vast in stock and charm, The Hayling Island Bookshop is a great independent bookstore that also sells DVDs, greetings cards, educational toys and they also offer a rare and out of print book search service. 

Where: 34 Mengham Rd, Hayling Island PO11 9BL

When: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday through to Saturday from 9 am - 4 pm

www.haylingislandbookshop.co.uk

The Book Shop

The Book Shop has been in business for 88 years; it first started as a lending library inside a florist, which was opened in 1933 by Leonard Miles. Soon the book shop flourished, and it's been a mainstay on the Lee-on-the-Solent high street ever since. Head inside to peruse the shelves of this friendly bookstore and try and see if you can leave without anything, the siren call of a new book is almost impossible to resist.

Where: 142 High St, Lee-on-the-Solent PO13 9DD

When: Monday to Saturday from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm

www.leebookshop.co.uk

Alton Secondhand Books

Step inside this Aladdin's cave of pre-loved books, from recent releases already eagerly devoured to first edition hardbacks; there is a book for everyone to fall in love with at Alton Secondhand Books. The store also offers a book search service, so if you are looking for a tome rarer than rare, they may be able to locate it for you.

Where: 43 Normandy St, Alton GU34 1DQ

When: Tuesday - Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm

www.facebook.com/Alton-Secondhand-Books

One Tree Books

One Tree Books is more than just a book shop. It's a place to connect with books and other book lovers in the community. With an in-store cafe, plenty of events occurring regularly and a monthly book club, there's always a reason to visit this independent gem in Petersfield.

Why not book an appointment with One Tree Books' resident Book Doctor? In this 30-minute session, a specialist will review what you like about books and curate a reading list, especially for you to be sent out each month. Prices start at £60 for 6 months, or £120 for 12 months, making it an excellent Christmas present choice for any bookworm.

Where: 7 Lavant St, Petersfield GU32 3EL

When: Monday - Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm

www.onetreebooks.com

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