10 of the most romantic UK bookshops
If you’ve fallen for a fellow lover of literature, a bookshop could be the perfect date location. eharmony has teamed up with Books Are My Bag to find the top 10 most romantic bookshops for a date
Europe’s largest bookshop, Waterstones Piccadilly, is set in a stunning art deco building in the heart of London’s West End. It’s a book lover’s dream, featuring over 200,000 titles across eight miles of bookshelves, as well as a selection of first editions. Head to Café W for a casual coffee or visit the top floor 5th view restaurant and cocktail bar – with its panoramic London views, it’s the ideal setting for an evening date.
Waterstones Piccadilly, 203-206 Piccadilly, London W1V 9LE, +44 (0)20 7851 2400, waterstones.com
Jaffé and Neale
Overlooking Market Square in Chipping Norton, Jaffé and Neale is a beautiful bookshop with a bustling café. The menu is stacked full of Aga-baked cakes and includes everything from a classic Victoria Sponge to a delicious gluten-free Clementine Cake and the epic Fifty Mile Fruit Cake. Be sure to fuel both body and mind before setting out on a romantic walk in the Cotswolds.
Jaffé and Neale, 1 Middle Row, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire OX7 5NH, +44 (0)1608 641033, jaffeandneale.co.uk
Books for Cooks
Books for Cooks is a Notting Hill institution and is home to thousands of tasty titles for culinary masters and keen amateurs alike. It’s a great date spot for foodies. Don’t miss the Test Kitchen, where the resident chefs use seasonal ingredients (picked up at Portobello Market) to create recipes from the cookbooks in stock.
Books for Cooks, 4 Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, London W11 1NN, +44 (0)20 7221 1992, booksforcooks.com
The flagship Foyles store on Charing Cross Road is one of the UK’s largest bookshops. Found in the heart of London’s theatreland, Foyles is home to 200,000 titles, housed across four miles of bookshelves. The space is filled with natural light and you and your date could easily spend hours exploring its four floors. End your date at the popular fifth floor café, which serves a range of breakfast and lunch options.
Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DT, foyles.co.uk
Mainstreet Trading Company
Mainstreet Trading Company bookshop, café and deli in the Scottish Borders is a must-visit destination. Founded by Bloomsbury’s former marketing director (who worked on the Harry Potter books from the beginning), the shop is made for literary lovers. And if that doesn’t tempt you, the café is sure to impress. Think a menu that includes butternut and cinnamon soup, wild boar sandwiches, locally-sourced wine and craft beers. The homemade cake comes highly recommended (the Chocolate and Guinness cake and gluten-free Tunisian cake are firm favourites!)
Mainstreet Trading Company, Mainstreet, St Boswells, Scottish Borders TD6 0AT, +44 (0)1835 824087, mainstreetbooks.co.uk
Located in the Herefordshire hills, Aardvark Books is set in a 19th century barn and offers a large selection of new and rare books (50,000 titles and counting!) There’s also a cosy café serving a variety of soups and toasties, Fairtrade teas, hot chocolate and homemade cakes. If you’re looking for a first date with a difference, check the programme of regular author events and art exhibitions – there’s sure to be something that suits both your tastes.
Aardvark Books, The Bookery, Manor Farm, Brampton Bryan, Bucknell, Shropshire SY7 0DH, +44 (0)1547 530744, aardvark-books.com
Booka Bookshop and Café
The award-winning independent bookshop Booka is located in the thriving market town of Oswestry, on the border of Shropshire and Wales. A destination bookshop, Booka is known for its high-quality selection of books and diverse author events. It’s the perfect setting for a relaxed date. Browse the shelves before sharing a pot of tea and slice of homemade cake in the on-site café.
Booka Bookshop and Café, 26-28 Church Street, Oswestry, Shropshire SY11 2SP, +44 (0)1691 662244, bookabookshop.co.uk
Octavo’s Book Café and Wine Bar
Octavo’s Book Café and Wine Bar can be found in the heart of Cardiff’s creative quarter. Its popular café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, alongside an extensive wine list. It also holds Sunday Sessions of music and poetry every fortnight – the perfect choice for a romantic afternoon date.
Octavo’s Book Café and Wine Bar, West Bute Street, Cardiff Bay CF10 5LJ, +44 (0)2920 491220, octavobooks.co.uk
London Review Bookshop
Set in Bloomsbury, the London Review Bookshop is a place for people who love books to meet, talk and browse the bookshelves. The Cake Shop Gallery is a modern answer to London’s long-lost literary coffeehouses, serving cakes inspired by books, extraordinary lunch options, and excellent tea and coffee.
London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL, +44 (0)20 7269 9030, londonreviewbookshop.co.uk
Richard Booth’s Bookshop
With its cosy cinema, diverse literary events programme, and café serving a regularly updated menu, Richard Booth’s Bookshop is a great date location. Located in Hay-on-Wye, Richard Booth’s offers an eclectic book selection. This town is a literature lover’s dream and there are more than 20 other bookshops to explore within walking distance!
Richard Booth’s Bookshop, 44 Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford HR3 5AA, +44 (0)1497 820322, boothbooks.co.uk
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