If tucking into a book and a slice of cake is your idea of happy, these London bookshops might just be your cup of tea.
Cakes are serious business in this highbrow Bloomsbury bookshop and bijou tea room. They’re handcrafted in-house by shop founder Terry Glover, and the icing on the cake is that you can order bespoke, hand-painted ones for weddings and birthdays. Try the showstopper: lemon myrtle, caramelised apple and camomile cream cake.
14-16 Bury Place, WC1A 2JL.
It’s a bookshop for globetrotters but you’ll definitely want to stop and put your feet up for cake and a cuppa. Serving culture, art and books, Travelling Through is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Waterloo – for balmier days, there’s a walled garden downstairs.
131 Lower Marsh, SE1 7AE.
A mecca for bibliophiles and cake lovers, this eclectic Notting Hill bookshop is also a café, art gallery and events space, with supper clubs and literary evenings on the menu. It serves lunch on weekends, but cakes make an appearance all week. Thank crumb for that!
31 All Saints Rd, W11 1HE.
Is this the best-smelling bookshop in the world? You might very well think so when you walk into this Notting Hill cookbook store and kitchen. Recipes using seasonal ingredients from Portobello Market are tested daily by the resident chefs, and we hear the ‘Books for Cooks flourless chocolate cake’ is the number one bestseller.
4 Blenheim Crescent, W11 1NN.
This quaint tea room sits below the Arthur Probsthain Oriental & African Bookshop, conveniently located across the road from the British Museum. There’s a wide selection of loose-leaf teas to choose from as well as sandwiches, cakes and scones.
41 Great Russell St, WC1B 3PE.
The cakes are created by the owner’s wife in this secondhand bookshop in Lee. The lemon drizzle, banana cake and chocolate brownie are firm favourites, and when the sun comes out to play, you can tuck into your bakes on the terrace at the back of the shop.
266 Lee High Rd, SE13 5PL.
Stanfords is the world’s largest travel bookshop and has supplied maps, globes and compasses since 1901. Patrons have included Ernest Shackleton, Michael Palin and Bill Bryson. Even Sherlock was a fan. The Stanfords Coffee House sells refreshing teas, pastries and freshly baked cookies for its intrepid travellers.
12-14 Long Acre, WC2E 9LP.
Not your average bookshop, Maison Assouline on Piccadilly is a boutique for coffee table book lovers. Peek inside the Cabinet of Curiosities before you head over to Swans Bar for some indulgent afternoon tea. You could try the French (foie gras and eclairs), the Japanese (green tea and Japanese sweets) or the Moroccan (mint tea and biscuits). The tea leaves are supplied by Dammann Freres, and if you’re a tea buff, you’ll be pleased to know that the legendary Earl Grey Yin Zhen is on the menu.
196a Piccadilly, W1J 9EY.
Hungry for more page-turners? Head to these five great secondhand bookshops every Londoner should know about.