Looking for the best second-hand bookshops in London? Here’s my personalized guide to the best spots to grab your new favorite read in London — from a book-loving Londoner. Enjoy!
If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing like wandering bookshops in search of a good paperback. In fact, it’s one of my favorite pastimes.
Wandering through the quiet aisles of a second-hand bookshop in London off some quaint hidden street feels a bit like being in a movie (or maybe I’ve just watched too much Notting Hill).
But it’s to be expected that a city like the old stomping grounds of Charles Dickens and Williams Shakespeare would have enough bookshops to leave any bookworm satisfied for years to come.
So without further ado, here’s the 25 best second-hand bookshops in London — from a local book lover.
1. Any Amount of Books
56 Charing Cross Rd, WC2H 0QA
Any Amount is the kind of place you’re instantly pleased that you stumble upon. The quaint literary hub is stuffed with classic and rare books that could easily leave you exploring editions for hours. Although the shop seems to be spilling with random book gems, it’s all quite organized. From first editions to modern reads, poetry, history and art, there’s not a second-hand book you can’t find here.
But my favorite bit will always be the £1.00 collector’s books — absolute steal.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 11.30 am to 7.30 pm, Sunday 12.30 am to 6.30 pm
Closest Station: Leicester Square
2. Oxfam Bookstore Bloomsbury
12 Bloomsbury St, WC1B 3QA
It’d be expected that a charity like Oxfam would hold an equally large bookshop.
Once you’re inside, you’ll find this shop likes to mix it up —with a Monday-Sunday shelf, switching for every day of the week. Otherwise, you can browse books by the group if you’re keen on the same author or grab a page from their ample collection of gender, sexuality, art, and social science genres.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10.00am – 6.00pm, Sunday 12.00pm – 5.00pm
Closest Station: Tottenham Court Road Station
3. Skoob Books
66 Marchmont St, WC1N 1AE
It’s not everyday you find a second-hand bookshop like Skoobs.
The London bookshop is hidden behind the Brunswick centre, and well-worth scouting out. You won’t believe me when I say they replace 5,000 books every month, but it’s true. Luckily, this encourages frequent visits, as you’ll always have something new to find.
I love the philosophy and psychology books selection here, but you can easily find whatever you’re into — just be prepared to stay awhile.
Opening Hours: Daily, 11am-6pm
Closest Station: Russell Square
4. Judd Books
82 Marchmont St, London WC1N 1AG
Out of all the second-hand bookshops in London — Judd wins in the beauty department. The two-floored literary oasis is filled with gems at every corner.
Their poetry selection is particularly interesting, with plush cozy chairs to do a spot of reading before you hop back on the tube.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am to 7am
Closest Station: Russell Square
5. Book and Comic Exchange (Notting Hill Comic Exchange)
30-23 Pembridge Road, London, W11 3HN, United Kingdom
It’s not often you find a 1967 book and comic shop in Notting Hill — but when you do, it’s magical.
I’ll admit, I was never one for comic books until I wandered into the Book & Comic Exchange. A quaint shop filled with buzzing music, vintage comics and magazines, poetry, plays, and everything in-between. It’s hard not to wander around here, as you never know what you’ll find next. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the basement, filled with hundreds of 50p items (sometimes even less!).
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am-8pm
Closest Station: Notting Hill Gate
6. The Second Shelf
14 Smith’s Ct, London W1D 7DW
A quick turn down a hidden street in Soho will lead you nicely to The Second Shelf. If you’re into rare books, manuscripts and first editions — this is the place for you.
The Second Shelf specializes in female literature, perfect for finding your new favorite female writer or getting a handy gift for a book-loving friend.
Opening Hours: Monday 10am-5pm
Closest Station: Piccadilly Circus
7. Henry Pordes Books
72 Charing Cross Road, West End, London, England, WC2H 0BB, United Kingdom
It’s not everyday you find a second-hand bookshop in London holding first edition Harry Potter series’ — but this is Henry Pordes we’re talking about. From modern classics to rare art finds, this is the kind of place you go to drop a pretty penny or two. The store specializes in collectibles, i.e the perfect place to go shopping for your favorite book lover.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:30am-7:30pm
Closest Station: Covent Garden
8. Foster Books
183 Chiswick High Road Chiswick, W4 2DR
You’d be hard-pressed to find a book lover in London who hasn’t heard about Foster Books.
Splashed with forest green and pink facades in an 18th-century building the second-hand bookshop is a hub of rarity. It’s the kind of place you want to wander for charm alone, but there’s also magazines, maps and old photos to purchase if you’re in the mood for more than just books.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:30am-5:30pm, Sunday 11am-5pm
Closest Station: Turnham Green Station
9. Oxfam Marylebone
91 Marylebone High St, London W1U 4RB
Another Oxfam gem can be found on Marylebone High St, and it’s well worth the visit.
This shop sells more of the same, but in all honesty, I still go for the thrill of buying something from Marylebone for less than a fiver. The second-hand bookshop boasts hundreds of fantastic donated books, vinyls, CD’s and DVD’s to pique your curiosity for the day.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-5pm
Closest Station: Marylebone
2-5 Sackville St, Mayfair, London W1S 3DP
For all my history buffs, Sotheran is your literary heaven.
One of the oldest antiquarian bookshops in the world holds everything you can imagine when you think of classics. From fairytales to scientific reads, natural history and everything inbetween — kept in pristine condition.
I’ll admit, walking through here feels more like walking through a museum, but if a high-class bookshop is on your list, this is it.
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 11am-5pm
Closest Station: Piccadilly
11. Black Gull Books
70-71 Camden Lock Pl, Primrose Hill, London NW1 8AF
It’d be easy to miss this second-hand bookshop walking through the streets of London, but you’ll want to make the effort.
Black Gull Books holds a quaint but mighty collection of popular and antiquarian titles, fiction, cooking, travel, crime, and well — a little bit of everything to keep you busy. The shop itself is quite unique, with little trinkets nestled throughout the store and all the quirk would expect from a Camden bookshop.
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am-6pm
Closest Station: Camden Town
12. Black Gull Books
East Finchley 121 High Rd, East Finchley, London N2 8AG
If you want to skip the Camden scene, you’ll also find a Black Gull Books tucked in East Finchley. The cozy storefront is hard to miss — with a bright blue sign welcoming you right in.
Met with all the same quirks as it’s brother shops, it’s a great place to get a steal on well-kept books if you’re in the area.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30am-6pm, Sunday 11am-6pm
Closest Station: East Finchley
13. Walden Books
38 Harmood St, London NW1 8DP
The 1977 bookshop is everything you’d expect when you think of second-hand books in London — vintage awning, books spilling out onto the street and the odd peak of Wisteria come spring.
From photography to philosophy and all the paperbacks you can get your hands on — it’s the kind of place you can’t help wandering through for an afternoon.
Opening Hours: Thursday – Sunday 10:30am-6:30pm
Closest Station: Kentish Town
14. Word on the Water
Regent’s Canal Towpath, London N1C 4LW
It’s not everyday you’re walking along Regents Canal and stumble on a bookshop, but you’ll be glad you did.
Word on the Water’s treasure boat exteriors have been drawing in book lovers since 2011 with every genre under the sun. Dip your eyes on some Hemmingway or stay a while for their entertainment nights with live talks and music, open mics and everything you’d expect from a bookshop on the water, obviously.
Opening Hours: Daily, 12pm-7pm.
Closest Station: King’s Cross
15. New Beacon Books
76 Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, London, England, N4 3EN, United Kingdom
Some second-hand bookshops hold more history than others and New Beacon Books is no exception.
A hub for community and culture New Beacon Books was the first Black publisher and bookshop in the UK, founded by the famed Trinidadian activist and writer John La Rose with his partner Sarah White in the 60’s as a safe space for Black writers.
Present-day you can still enjoy everything this bookshop has to offer, including a wide selection of books by Black writers you may not find in your everyday second-hand bookshop in London.
Opening Hours: Friday – Saturday 12pm-6pm
Closest Station: Finsbury Park
Read More: 50+ Fantastic Black-Businesses in London to Support
16. Jarndyce Booksellers
46 Great Russell Street Holborn, WC1B 3PA
Jarndyce books is where you go to watch time stand still.
The only second-hand bookshop I know where you have to ring a bell to enter (I suppose this stops the random Instagrammers with no intention to buy a book) you’re in for an experience once you’re inside. The shop is spilling with 18th and 19th century finds, spanning across five floors. A lovely pop-off before visiting the British Museum and a great place to find rare books.
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 11am-5:30pm
Closest Station: Tottenham Court Road
17. Southbank Centre Book Market
337-338 Belvedere Rd South Bank, SE1 9PX
After a day in Southbank I started walking home and instantly caught my eyes on hundreds of books along the Thames — of course I had to see what all the fuss was about. The Southbank Centre Book Market has been running strong since years, nestled under Waterloo Bridge along the Queen’s Walk.
As one of the only outdoor second-hand bookshops in London — it’s got a reputation to hold, but it doesn’t disappoint. There’s hundreds of classics, comics and contemporaries to sift through, free to roam rain or shine.
P.S – You can add this as a pit stop on my self-guided walking tour through Central London
Opening Hours: Friday 12pm-8pm, Saturday 11am-8pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm, Monday 12pm-6pm
Closest Station: Waterloo
18. Archive Bookstore
83 Bell Street, London NW1 6TB
The Archive Bookstore is where you go for second-hand books…and music!
It’s the only bookstore in London (I know of) that sells vintage sheet music with two floors of old-hot-and-ready books at your buying disposal. Between the rare paperbacks and piles of sheet music, you could easily spend hours here.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:30am-6pm
Closest Station: Marylebone
19. Wall to Wall Books
The Basement, The Stables, Chalk Farm Road London, NW1 8AH
If there was one more reason to add Camden Market to one of my favorite places in London it would be the fact that Wall to Wall exists here — and oh am I glad it does.
It’s the kind of place you just know you’ll leave with a good book in hand. Stacked with every genre you can imagine, I suggest popping in during a day in Camden.
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday 11am-6pm
Closest Station: Camden Town
20. Pages of Hackney
Hackney Central 70 Lower Clapton Rd, London E5 0RN
A jaunt on Clapton Road will lead you nicely into this award-winning bookshop — Pages of Hackney.
The second-hand bookshop runs the whole gamut of well-chosen books — from philosophy to politic, feminism to children’s books. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and friendly, kind of like meeting your fellow book-loving friend for a catch up. They also hold a ton of author events and a monthly book club, so be sure to mosey their website for the latest details.
Opening Hours: Sunday-Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 10am-6pm
Closest Station: Hackney Central
21. Book Mongers
439 Coldharbour Lane, Coldharbour, London, England, SW9 8LN, United Kingdom
It’s the kind of place you have to visit for the name alone. I stumbled into Book Mongers on a day out in Brixton and was instantly impressed.
The independent bookshop has been selling affordable second-hand finds since 1992. I was also surprised to see the two dogs that occupied the shop, Leo and Rosa (unfortunately, they’ve passed away, but you can still see their artwork throughout the shop) and a stray cat named Popeye. There’s a real sense of community and warmness here, perfect for a book lover’s day in South London.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:30am-6:30pm, Sunday 11am-5pm
Closest Station: Brixton
22. World’s End Bookshop
357 King’s Road, Chelsea, London, England, SW3 5ES, United Kingdom
Despite the name, World’s End Bookshop does not think the world is ending — but they do think you deserve to find a really good book.
Tucked in the heart of Chelsea the well-established bookshop specializes in modern first editions. A day here would feel like a day at the library (old book smell included) with thousands of second-hand books to dig through.
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:30am-6:30pm
Closest Station: Imperial Wharf
23. Hurlingham Books
91 Fulham High Street Fulham, SW6 3JS
Fulham’s best-kept secret. Okay, not really, I mean you can’t really keep the oldest independent bookshop in South London to yourself.
The brain-child of book lover Ray Cole took full form in 1968 when he opened the doors to Hurlingham Books — a hub for every book you’ve ever imagined. The storefront is especially eye-catching with about a thousand books pressed against the window right then and there.
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-6pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-6pm
Closest Station: Fulham Broadway
24. The Bookshop on the Heath
74 Tranquil Vale Blackheath, SE3 0BW
I was stopped in my tracks when an afternoon walk in Blackheath led me front-and-center to this turquoise gem of a building.
The Bookshop on the Heath seems impossible to know about unless you live in the area (I did at the time). Inside you’ll find buckets of second-hand books, maps, posters and collectibles. Don’t forget to stay a while after to enjoy Blackheath Village.
Opening Hours: Sunday 11am-5pm, Monday-Tuesday 11am-5:30pm, Thursday-Friday 11am-5:30pm
Closest Station: Blackheath Railway
25. Halcyon Books
266 Lee High Road Lewisham, SE13 5PL
Like cafés? Like books? Good. Head to Halcyon Books! The second-hand hub boasts a range of genres and a cozy coffee shop to read once you’ve found ‘the one’.
It’s also a great place to sell your own used books, and CD’s and DVD’s, postcards, photographs, comics and…well you get the point.
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-6pm, Saturday 10am-6pm
Closest Station: Brandram Road Bus Stop (Stop R)
Map of the Best Second-Hand Bookshops in London
Oh this is the best blog post! I love books and next time I am in London I definitely need to check some of them out. Thanks for putting this together!
Candace Salter says
Ah so glad you enjoyed it! Of course 🙂