Secondhand and Antiquarian Bookshops in the UK and Republic of Ireland

new Bookshop Kenwood Bookshop
Black Gull Books is now Boom Cat Books under new management
Offside Books has closed

Home separatorBookshops separatorLondon separatorNW Postcodes facebook instagram twitter
Open at advertised times   Open at advertised times
Phone before travelling   Phone before travelling
Appointment necessary   Appointment necessary
Status unknown, update requested Status unknown, update requested

We do our best to make sure these details are correct and up-to-date. However we recommend that you contact bookshops before making a special journey.

Older (pre-2018) comments are hidden. Click on the link below to show them.
Hide comments   Show older comments   

Archive Bookstore/MARYLEBONE/83 Bell Street
Archive Bookstore  Open at advertised times
83 Bell Street   MARYLEBONE   NW1 6TB
tel: 020 7402 8212  web 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 11.00 - 6.00.
Add a comment

General stock of secondhand books with some antiquarian. Large stock of printed music, popular and classic (piano scores, piano duets and duos, chamber music, opera) Two floors of sought-after, selected titles in all subjects. Forecourt bargain stall of several hundred cheaper books and quality reductions.

This is a true old-fashioned London bookshop. Titles scattered everywhere with the helpful owner risking all for me as he kept climbing a ladder to get to books from the top shelves for me to examine. There could be treasures here yet to be found. Sensible prices.  Chris Harte 27.06.09
A true secondhand bookshop. Almost impossible to get near the modern firsts even with the assistance of a stool but found a couple of nuggets at very reasonable prices. Very helpful owner and staff. Offered a cup of tea within minutes of entering the shop. I will return.  Loyola 24.04.10
Rambling,crowded and friendly shop. The stock changes frequently and often includes gems at reasonable prices, although they may take some mountain climbing to get at. Helpful and knowledgeable owner who may offer a cup of tea or something stronger.  James Salmon 16.03.11
I have been using this bookshop for years. The owner is charming and knowledgeable and I hardly ever leave without buying something wonderful and unusual. Don't ever close, please!  Jane Jones 31.05.11
The basement is extraordinary, a must for musicians in London- music books and a piano to tinkle.  Brian 29.05.15
It was nice to see this was still here but I have rarely bought anything in the shop as it is so chaotic which is off putting. I barely fitted down some of the alleyways. The basement appeared closed although it was being talked about by a visitor and the owner as it has apparently been referred to by Alan Rusbridger in his book on learning the piano. Can't really comment on the extent of the stock as it is, mostly, barely visible!  Jon Morgan 06.06.15
To those who have their doubts about the undiluted merits of "progress" and are comfortable with nostalgia, Archive Books, situated in the heart of London, is a welcome oasis of traditional book-selling. It is rare for me to visit this shop without picking up at least one or two serendipitous books (sheet music is a particular strength). Close to unique, certainly in central London, with books crammed into every nook and cranny at very reasonable prices, not to mention the bargains outside, the shop is all the better for being old-fashioned, particularly for those who consider such bookshops an endangered species and its (nowadays) unusual character has even attracted the attention of Hollywood as a setting. Recommended.  Richard Durkan 15.06.15
Quirky and unusual little bookshop  Najeeya 14.06.18
This shop is definitely not for the faint-hearted. The squeeze-gut aisles and out-of-reach stock reminded me of Camilla's, in Eastbourne. However, it's worth persevering for some unusual titles in arts and photography at reasonable prices. The assistant was most welcoming and helpful - and offered a discount because this was my first visit.  Nicholas Sack 18.01.20
The shop happily continues as it always did. Possibly the ground floor is currently a little more accessible, the basement (mainly music) less. The stock changes regularly but the type and quality and the chances of finding a long-sought gem remain.  Adrian 16.07.21
Always a great selection, and even the half price boxes out front are always worth perusing. The owner and his assistant are great at finding the obscure title you are after.  Mark the Bookseller 01.08.21
There are good things here but access to the shelves is difficult and I found today that even more of the stock around the fiction section is now buried under more recent arrivals. Imagine Camilla's in Eastbourne but restricted to the floor area of half a dozen phone boxes.  Laurence Purcell 12.06.22
I have been coming to this bookstore for many years now, and I guarantee you will always receive a warm welcome, and possibly a cup of tea! You are encouraged to rummage around, and you will no doubt find something without really looking… The choice is huge, with many boxes that seem not to have been opened in a while! Do not hesitate to ask the staff - they will guide you towards the right section. I guarantee one visit will certainly not be enough!

The books that are piled up everywhere are the real charm of this bookstore. The selection of books is so comprehensive, that you are sure not to leave empty-handed. The sheet music section in particular has some real gems.
  Guy B 10.12.22

Books for Amnesty/KENTISHTOWN/308 Kentish Town Road
Books for Amnesty    Open at advertised times
308 Kentish Town Road    KENTISH TOWN  NW5 2TH
tel:  020 7428 0134   e-mail   web  
Open: Monday - Saturday 11.00 - 5.00, Sunday 12.00 - 4.00
Add a comment

Just opened. Decent stock and decent prices. Little collectable at this stage.  Peter Miller 12.08.19
There are only 10 Amnesty shops in the UK and I think only 3 in London. (The Blackheath Amnesty book sales are well worth going to) This is therefore welcome, both as another bookshop and for the important causes it supports.

This new shop is not huge but it manages to pack in quite a few subjects on its shelves. My main interest - modern fiction was well catered for and although not massive, the selection was of good quality and the prices are still sub-Oxfam (especially Bloomsbury Oxfam) although the nearby Oxfam bookshop about 5 minutes walk away is more reasonable than many.

I now have two reasons to go to Kentish Town.
  Jon Morgan 21.08.19
A mini version of the original Hammersmith branch and many of the books seemed familiar. Still, at least the prices are reasonable and the cause is to be recommended.  Nicholas Greenwood 29.08.19
Stock here is a cut above Oxfam, a few minutes' walk away. Books are neatly categorised and shelved, and the arts section shows glimmers of promise. Close to Kentish Town Thameslink and Underground station.  Nicholas Sack 15.02.20
Oh dear... prices have certainly risen here, I know it is for an excellent cause, but first the books need to sell! £6 for a secondhand paperback? The stock is average and nothing - apart from the overpriced book - was of any great interest.   Firedrake 12.05.22
Not overly enthralled with the quality of stock available here and the pricing I found unconvincing. Amnesty usually does it for me. This shop was great for self-help, therapy, gender studies and all things LGBTQ+. Antiquarian it is not.   SaltaireTom 07.05.23

Boom Cat Books(was Black Gull Books)/CAMDEN TOWN/70-71 West Yard, Camden Lock Place
Boom Cat Books  (was Black Gull Books)   Open at advertised times
70-71 West Yard, Camden Lock Place    CAMDEN TOWN  NW1 8AF
tel:  020 7267 5005, mob: 07984 020 633 or 07496 292 003  e-mail  
Open:  7 days 10.00 - 6.00
Add a comment

A fast-changing stock including art, photography, film, history, philosophy, psychology, music, drama, fiction & mind body spirit. Now also art and records.

Despite the crowds of tourists at Camden still worth a look, about 50-50 arts and fiction.  Paintworks 08.07.10
Small shop area tucked away behind the restaurants along the canal. Some stock outside.  I Baillie 26.04.11
Difficult to find in the remotest courtyard of Camden Lock market, but well worth battling through the crowds. Strong on philosophy, psychology, mind/body/spirit, and a section headed 'Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll'. The arts stock is extensive and mostly high quality; I found an uncommon monograph on the surrealist painter Paul Delvaux: a bargain at less than a tenner.  Nicholas Sack 15.03.16
Two years after my last visit, Black Gull is still well worth a shufty, especially for arts and cinema, though photography stock is thin. Prices are surprisingly modest; at only a fiver, an unusual Arts Council catalogue of the painter Michael Andrews easily undercuts internet sellers. Another secondhand book seller has set up in the basement of Camden Stables Market, just a hundred yards to the north.  Nicholas Sack 28.03.18
Black Gull Books have sold their Camden Town shop to friends and colleagues of theirs and since February it has been Boom Cat Books. (Black Gull still has the shop in East Finchley).  TBG2 13.05.22
Slightly smaller but very similar sort of stock as in the Black Gull days. Now also stocks art and vinyl.  Adrian 13.05.22
The secondhand book stall Nick mentioned in the Stables Antiques Market has gone. (As indeed have all the antiques stalls except for about two.)  Adrian 13.05.22

Hellenic Book Centre/TUFNELL PARK/89 Fortess Road
Hellenic Book Centre     Open at advertised times
89 Fortess Road    TUFNELL PARK  NW5 1AG
tel:  020 7267 9499  e-mail   web
Open:  Monday - Friday 10.00 - 5.00, Saturday 10.00 - 4.00
Add a comment

New and secondhand Greek and Latin books.

Keith Fawkes/HAMPSTEAD/1-3 Flask Walk
Keith Fawkes  Open at advertised times
1-3 Flask Walk   HAMPSTEAD   NW3 1HJ
tel: 020 7435 0614 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 10.00 - 5.30, Sunday 12.00 - 6.00.
Add a comment

Large, strangely organised, crammed and accessible by Thinipuffs only. However very helpful and knowledgeable manager compensates.  A.N.Other 
A packed little shop worth an hour of any bibliophile's time,with a cynical american owner who does a nice line in dry wit.  Paintworks 08.07.10
Barely worth a visit. Barely a bookshop. Most of the place used as storage for the owner's house clearance business. (The 'cynical American' is not the owner and no longer works there.)  Muggins 28.05.13
Some improvement  Muggins 29.07.13
An unusable muddle. Dirty, disordered and staff without knowledge or interest. Don't go.  Bookish Wanderer 21.08.14
Once upon a time this shop was about twice the size and one could move easily. Now the aisles are half blocked by boxes and furniture. There is some indication that the former space is being worked on and may be available for more books. At base the stock is not bad, simply inaccessible. It could be so much more ... NWAD.  Jon Morgan 19.05.15
Yes, untidy messy stock all over the place but gems to be had and cheap too.  Steve Newman 05.12.15
Committed to making 75% of its stock inaccessible; should be celebrated as a monument to aged English eccentricity in a profit-focused London (a fair deal of newish lit fic, how did they get through the frames to put them there?)  T McGee 09.09.16
Once you have negotiated the piles of pseudo antiques on the footway to fight your way down the first aisle across piles of mouldy and dusty books on the floor, past unwashed glasses and empty bottles and cans (What goes on here after closing?) towards the till you turn and find that the other aisles are completely blocked by boxes, more empty bottles and general detritus to at least waist height. Short of hammering pitons into the ceiling there is no way to access these books and there may be some gems in there.If the owners are not going to run it as a bookshop, perhaps they could sell up and leave it to someone who will.  Jonathan Morgan 17.06.17
Definitely not for the faint hearted. What a pity that boxes on the floor make the aisles all but inaccessible. Almost certainly there are gems lurking here - tantalisingly out of reach.  Nicholas Sack 10.03.18
Shop still used as a store for the junk and bric-a-brac sold on the pavement. I did manage to squeeze past and find a book I wanted on those shelves still accessible, but there was no-one to pay. The junk-seller outside told me that though the door was open the shop was closed, presumably just at that time!   Peter M 25.09.21
Visited yesterday, first for a long time. Nothing has changed really, only about 50% of the stock is viewable, presumably the bric-a-brac raises more revenue than the books.

Staff are friendly enough, but I found nothing on this visit and given the difficulty viewing stock will not be rushing back.
  Steve Newman 30.07.22
Visited for first time in 3 years and, as always, found a couple of books. Cluttered but worth a browse.  H. Wessells 15.10.22
The shelves of my collecting area inaccessible due to furniture storage. Seems to be a theme here. Had an amiable chat but seller didn't seem concerned customer could not get to stock. A place for a rummage in passing only.   SaltaireTom 18.10.22
This shop is NOT open at the advertised times. I don't know when it opens now, if it ever does.

Visited Saturday during the advertised times and yet again it was closed. The man who stores 'antiques' in the bookshop was there so I asked him. He gave me a rant about 'clever' people asking about the bookshop and then told me to "f**k off".

On that basis I'd advise everyone to avoid this shop.
  PeterM 18.03.23
Another frustrated visit. The shelf areas I need once again blocked with clutter. The owner likes to stand & chat on the doorstep and watch the street. Affable but can probably turn on a sixpence. Difficult to fathom this one out. Not inclined to return.   SaltaireTom 07.05.23
Keith Fawkes runs a house clearance business. The sale of bric a brac and furniture from what was a bookshop now clearly takes preference.   PeterM 05.06.23

Kenwood Bookshop/HAMPSTEAD/Mansion Cottage (next to the Garden shop and Cafe), Hampstead Lane
Kenwood Bookshop     Open at advertised times
Mansion Cottage (next to the Garden shop and Cafe), Hampstead Lane  HAMPSTEAD  NW3 7JR
Open: Thursday - Sunday 12.00 - 4.00
Add a comment

Single room of secondhand stock, on the Kenwood estate at the north of Hampstead Heath. No entry fees to visit.

Website claims open Saturdays and Sundays 10am - 4:30pm, but wasn't open till 11 am the Sunday I went. Single room, decent stock and reasonable prices. Easily accessible by public transport, no entry fees.   26.07.21
Highly erratic opening hours. Sign on door says from 10 am Fri -Sun, but another (last Sat) said "open today from 12". Travel in hope! After midday probably safest.  PeterM 18.01.22
Now open from 12 midday not 11am. Prices were reasonable when they first opened, but they are now often very high.  PeterM 20.02.23
They confirmed the current opening hours, can't say how well they observe them. Prices seem average for standard stock but they have succumbed to the "ebay price £X, our price £(a little less)" labels for things they think might be collectable, and seen on one or two quite shabby copies. Strong on art at the moment, and stock in general seemed better than usual donated-book standard, as befits its location.  Adrian 19.08.23

Oxfam Books and Music/KENTISH TOWN/166 Kentish Town Road
Oxfam Books and Music  Phone before travelling
166 Kentish Town Road   KENTISH TOWN   NW5 2AG
tel: 020 7 2673560  web 
Add a comment

Nothing that makes this particular Oxfam branch stand out from any of the others.  Mandalay Bookshop 05.04.12
Decided to pay this shop another visit: at 11am on a Friday morning it was closed. Definitely won't bother again.  Mandalay Emporium 11.09.12
One of the best Oxfam's in the area, knowledgeable manager, cheap prices, and the staffing problems that led to closures last year appear to be sorted.  Steve Newman 08.02.14
Very tired stock that never seems to change. Their so-called "collectable/antiquarian" section is an overpriced joke. One of the worst of all the Oxfam Bookshops.  Mandalay Bookshop 18.05.18
This store has been revamped to it looks like any other Oxfam Bookshop. Gone is the dingy carpet with its interesting eco-system and interesting stains and the overcrowded shelves with poor lighting and welcome to clean lines and a fairly decent stock mostly at the £2.99 level. The collectables section (sorry to harp on but it always amuses me) seems to reflect every other Oxfam shop. If the business thinks it can get these absurd prices for these books, then flog them in ABE - except that it can't as the prices are aspirational in the extreme. Now actually worth the trek to NW5 . Nearby charity shop not really worth a detour but the coffee / bakery shop was marvellous. (NB down escalator under repair so be prepared.  Jonathan Morgan 15.09.18
A return visit (actually I have been back a couple of times this year) as I wanted to see the new Amnesty shop just up the road.

Apart from having a problem with drains, amusingly all the customers were glancing at each other with a 'Was that you?' sort of look.... this shop is so much lighter and better stocked than before.

They had had a huge donation of French comic books (Bandes Dessinées) and I spent far too much money , having been allowed out the back to view the haul - by a very nice French lady volunteer.

Now there are two reasons to visit Kentish Town on a book crawl . New bookshop opposite the Oxfam and a few charity shops none of which were of any interest book-wise.
  Jon Morgan 21.08.19
I had the distinct impression that anything of quality or value is diverted to the online store. Shelves are desperately short of attractive or inspiring titles. The Amnesty shop, a few minutes' walk away, is a better bet.  Nicholas Sack 15.02.20
Good turnover, reasonable pricing in general. I find something good every second or third visit, i.e. most months. Unfortunately I've yet to find any gems or bargains in the nearby Amnesty shop despite regular visits.  Peter M 01.10.21
Unlike Amnesty just up the road, I came away with six books at (for Oxfam) reasonable prices. There seems to be a quite a few US and Australian books / editions in here at the present. I suppose it is largely luck of the draw. I added two more from one of the local charity shops which are usually not worth the bother.    12.05.22
Bland & uninspiring stock, full of low grade strange, obscure & unloved shelf fillers. In this trip round mostly Oxfam shops in London I felt overall that poor stock quality was a constant backdrop to my visits...and that was even before I got to Bloomsbury branch. A feeling that surely in affluent London the donations coming in to charities can't be as bad as all that - but here it was. I left emptyhanded for a consolation coffee & cake on Kentish Town High Street.   SaltaireTom 07.05.23

Oxfam Bookshop/HAMPSTEAD/45 Heath Street
Oxfam Bookshop  Open at advertised times
45 Heath Street   HAMPSTEAD   NW3 6UA
tel: 020 7 7943060  web 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 10.00 - 6.00, Sunday 1.00 - 5.00.
Add a comment

The usual Oxfam fare, suitably priced for the local affluent clientèle.  Mandalay Bookshop 05.04.12
This little shop is, for an Oxfam Shop quite a gem. The books are not badly proved and varied. I picked up a signed Simon Hoggart volume for £3.99 and there is a good selection of holocaust literature and factual accounts. Some good translations of modern French stuff as well. Yes, it reflects the affluent donors but is not reflective of the original prices and I have seen much more expensive Oxfam stock/stores.  Jon Morgan 19.05.15
Had not been here for a long time and will not bother again. Small shop, fairly expensive and staff, although friendly, seem to have little knowledge of their stock.  Steve Newman 05.12.15
Tiny Oxfam outlet located conveniently opposite Hampstead Tube Station. Small general stock, not as expensive as might be expected but well within the parameters of Oxfam's sometimes ambitious pricing. I wonder if they manage to cover their location overheads?  Steven Kelly 28.02.17
Some interesting recent fiction titles but the crime section is woeful. Not really worth the trek out to Hampstead. Especially as Fawkes is such a mess these days.  Jonathan Morgan 17.06.17
Scope is limited by the rather small shop, yet the arts section is of a decent standard and contains a few titles out of the ordinary. The stock is neatly shelved and categorised throughout.  Nicholas Sack 28.03.18
A return visit: shop remains admirably neat and tidy, and once again there are attractive and unusual titles in the arts section. I was heartened to see a Cartier-Bresson for only six quid, and my heart leapt at the new monograph from William Gedney. But oh, the price! More than what is charged for a new copy online ...  Nicholas Sack 23.10.18
Small well organised shop with helpful staff. Nothing of interest for me so can not comment on pricing. But only a 5 minute walk from Keith Fawkes bric-a-brac stall/bookshop so worth checking out if in the area. Just down the road a rare Penfold Letter Box stands unused and allegedly preserved. Needs a bit of loving care and attention but a remarkable survivor from around 1870.   Steve Newman 30.07.22
Located directly opposite exit of Hampstead tube station. Very handy. Well kept & ordered stock with some interest as you'd expect in literary Hampstead. Fairly small shop but WAD (worth a detour) as Driff used to say.  SaltaireTom 18.10.22

Oxfam Shop/PINNER/19 Bridge Street
Oxfam Shop  Open at advertised times
19 Bridge Street   PINNER   HA5 3HR
tel: 020 8429 0926 
Add a comment

This high street Oxfam has a dedicated fair sized book room at the back of the shop. Reasonable stock professionally laid out and categorised, with friendly and knowledgeable staff too. At the cheaper end of Oxfam's pricing structure. Across the road at 40 Bridge Street is another Charity Shop, St Lukes Hospice, which also has a section dedicated to Books and Music. Well worth a visit if in the area.  Steve Newman 23.11.18
My interest piques by this entry I trecked out to Pinner to have a butchers. Not far from the station and not quite a dedicated Oxfam Bookshop but much more than the normal stock of books at decent prices. The charity shop across the road has as many if not more books. There are two other charity shops in town in both of which I bought WW1 memoirs.  Jon Morgan 06.12.18
Called back in as was passing through near the area. Still much as before but pricing seems to have taken an unwelcome upward spiral!  Steve Newman 06.05.19
Has been closed quite often recently, because of staff shortages I believe. Stock is good when open.   Andy 01.09.22

Walden Books/CAMDEN TOWN/38 Harmood Street
Walden Books  Open at advertised times
38 Harmood Street   CAMDEN TOWN   NW1 8DP
tel: 020 7267 8146  web 
Open:  Thursday -Sunday 10.30 - 6.00.
Add a comment

Literature, art & general stock.

Very good for travel, art and history. Friendly and expert owner. Prices reasonable.  James Salmon 21.08.09
Overpriced and the owner always pretty snotty to me; add that to the impossible parking and this is one I've crossed off my list. I feel it may be a different story if you look wealthy enough.  Paintworks 08.07.10
One of the greats, worth a visit if only to enjoy to the creaky floorboards.Bargains outside if you like literature. Disagree with Paintworks who anyway should use public transport. Owner friendly even if you look skint. A friend in need is a friend in debt (John Cooper Clark).  rickenbacher 10.08.13
Great little shop tucked away in a side street near Camden Market. Good stock and reasonable prices, but by no stretch of the imagination is it in Primrose Hill. Chalk Farm is the location, the long-closed LT Chalk Farm bus garage used to be opposite the shop!  Steve Newman 05.12.15
Thanks Steve but the owner says he's in Camden Town, so I've changed the address to that.  TGB 05.12.15
Attractively located in a residential street away from the tumult of Camden Town, this shop is reassuringly traditional with compact spaces and creaking floorboards. Strong on art and design, with some unusual photography titles. Friendly owner and fair prices.  Nicholas Sack 15.03.16
Two years on from my last visit and I'm glad to report that this endearingly old-fashioned shop hasn't changed. I found a literary and photographic paean to Highgate and Hampstead, handsomely published in 1967, at a keen price. Well worth a detour from the hubbub of Camden Town.  Nicholas Sack 28.03.18
One of the last proper second hand bookshops in London. The huge range of paperbacks packed on racks in front of the shop are exactly the kind that you don't see in charity shops. Good quality stock inside. You never know what you might find. Prices erratic, but never daft and sometimes low. Support this shop!  Peter M 03.01.22