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Indie Bookshops by the UK’s National Parks

By Holly Presswell, Chloe Brown 


The season for walking and exploring is here! We have listed an array of unique, independent bookshops near and in the UK’s most stunning national parks for your pleasure.

 

Barter Books, Alnwick Station, Northumberland, NE66 2NP


This Victorian building in the heart of Northumberland is home to one of the largest second-hand and antiquarian bookshops in the UK. Owners Mary and Stuart Manley proudly present their books within a 19th century train station, selling fiction and non-fiction and everything in between. Alongside the charming interior and quality books, there is a unique history to be enjoyed as the shop is home to the original Keep Calm and Carry On poster, which was discovered here and is now displayed within the shop. You can learn more about the discovery of this poster from Mary and Stuart here.


Conveniently, the bookshop is open every day (including bank holidays). This is sweetened by the presence of Paradise ice cream parlour and the Station Buffet. So, after wandering around the station and its shelves, you can treat yourself to some locally made ice cream.

 

Peak Volumes, Tideswell, Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, SK17 8NT


Aptly named Peak Volumes, this bookshop can be found in the heart of the Peak District. As an independent second-hand bookshop, it holds a fantastic range of books that are reasonably priced and regularly updated for you to browse on your travels through the national park. Founded by Tim Dudley, the building was originally a bank with high ceilings, providing plenty of room for books to be stacked and packed inside: truly a book lover's dream.


There will be something for everyone amongst the classic and contemporary titles, rare books, local information and cards. Easy to navigate, the shop is organised into categories, exemplified best by its science fiction corridor, which is accessible through a beautifully decorated doorway.


Be sure to check the opening times on Peak Volumes’ Facebook page before visiting. If you cannot visit the area when the bookshop is open, you can support them through their online shop, which is also where you can find most of their antiquarian books.

 

Fred’s Ambleside Bookshop, Central Buildings, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9BS


Photo by: Fred's Ambleside Bookshop

Nestled in the heart of the Lake District lies Fred’s Ambleside Bookshop. Standing in this spot since 1956, Fred’s is popular with locals and tourists alike. The bookshop is only a small building, but this has not stopped the staff from making sure it is stocked to the brim. The shop prides itself in selling one of nearly everything, rather than twenty of the same book; if you cannot find what you are looking for, it can usually be ordered in for collection for the next day.


If you have arrived in the Lake District and forgotten your map, have no fear; Fred’s has an excellent collection of maps and guides to help you out on your trip. If you fancy something different, they also stock a range of classic and contemporary fiction, and there’s a charming children’s section upstairs with cosy corners to rest in. The shop also has a strong relationship with the University of Cumbria, supplying local students with educational books to help with their studies.

 

Seven Fables, 7 High Street, Dulverton, Exmoor, Somerset, TA22 9HB


Tucked in the Exmoor market town of Dulverton is Seven Fables. This bookshop has made a name for itself in its passion for art, storytelling and the changing seasons. Since it opened its doors in 2002, it has gained a reputation for its curated collection of British crafts, including ceramics, jewellery, prints and stained glass. Seven Fables is the main outlet in the UK representing illustrator and author Jackie Morris, known for her book The Lost Words.

Alongside their crafts, they sell a collection of books, including new publications and classic fiction. However, their speciality lies in nature writing, befitting of its location in a national park. They also run a walking book club: the best of both worlds! For details, have a look at their website.

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