11 independent bookshops you have to visit in Somerset
- Credit: Becca Tapert, Unsplash
With bookshops able to open once again, we've found 11 great independent stores for you to support in Somerset. They stock everything from the latest bestsellers, to children's books, to local authors. You're sure to find your next best read at one of them.
Bailey Hill Bookshop
Fore Street, Castle Carey
This beautiful shop looks exactly how you want your favourite bookstore to look. With duck egg blue trim and a window display that is always changing but never less than beautiful, Bailey Hill is sure to be your new favourite place to relax. You can even take your dog with you to browse the many shelves of everything you could hope for - both new and second hand.
Books on the Hill
Hill Road, Clevedon
Another welcoming and classic bookshop now in North Somerset. Books on the Hill only opened a handful of years ago and yet has become a firm favourite. Owners Dr. Alistair Sims and Chloe Smirk are both avid readers and always on hand to make book suggestions. Alistair is very passionate about encouraging the younger generations to read, struggling with dyslexia himself as a child.
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Bath Place, Taunton
For more than 40 years, Jo and Lionel Ward have been expanding the bookshelves of both locals and visitors to Taunton. The store has a diverse range of books and bookish items for you to browse, and they also organise the annual Taunton Literary Festival which draws in a huge number of academics and writers for lectures and discussions every year.
High Street, Glastonbury
It wouldn't be Glastonbury if there wasn't a bookstore that specialised in esoteric/occult books, and the staff are always more than happy to chat and make recommendations whilst you browse. Whilst their main focus is the writings of people like Alistair Crowley and niche publishers like Three Hand Press, they also have a healthy supply of classic literature at amazing prices.
G. W. Hurley
High Street, Burnham-on-Sea
Starting life as a news agents in the 1920s, this family run shop has expanded and moved with the times to become a firm favourite with the young people of Burnham-on-Sea. Whilst they are a partner of the Toymaster Group, they also have a fine bookshop alongside the toys where your children can spend hours browsing.
Hunting Raven Books
Cheap Street, Frome
In the heart of medieval Frome lies Cheap Street, the only road in England to have a stream (or leat) running down the centre of it. Hunting Raven Books is a perfect addition to the road with a Tudor-style frontage and a wealth of novels inside. They have a very strong children's section but also cater to all interests and regularly hold events including a pre-publication book review club called the Proof Pudding Club.
Mr B's Emporium
John Street, Bath
Spanning three floors and with more tomes than you could ever hope to read, Mr B's is a reader's paradise in the side streets of Bath. Not only can you browse at your leisure, but they have excellent subscription and book spa options that make great gifts for friends or treats for yourself. Their staff are trained experts in finding you a new favourite book and have won multiple awards for the community they have lovingly created.
Topping and Company
The Paragon, Bath
This second bookshop in Bath could be out of a dream with ceiling high shelves only accessible using classic wooden step ladders. Everything in the store has been crafted to encourage a warm and inviting atmosphere for you to browse the row upon row of books. They regularly host talks from both local and internationally acclaimed authors. Soon, they will be moving residences to have more space to cram books and will be found at Friends Meeting House opposite Bath Abbey.
And a few in Bristol...
Narrow Quay, Bristol
The Arnolfini Arts Centre is a leading International Centre for Contemporary Arts at the heart of the city's harbourside. It stands to reason, therefore, that they would have an amazing specialist bookstore to browse as part of a longer visit. You'll find everything from catalogues of the centre's works, to local and international artist's collections, all inside the atmospheric location of an 1830s tea warehouse.
Bloom and Curll
Colston Street, Bristol
This cosy spot is sure to delight with a variety of second-hand books as well as new editions, ranging from children’s literature to philosophical novels. They are also part of the Bristol Developing World Enterprises scheme which means they send their profits to help create small businesses across Africa.
Café Kino, Stokes Croft, Bristol
Grab a coffee and a book at this independent bookshop that sells all manner of second hand books and zines. At the moment, they are on the hunt for permanent residences and so are operating out of Café Kino's downstairs most afternoons.