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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Indie Bookshops on the Sea

By Megan Burroughs and Holly Presswell 

With summer dawning and the weather warming up, what better excuse than to head down to the beach with a book? We have gathered the best indie seaside bookshops to visit this season, so you will never run out of books on your holiday. 

Bridge Bookshop, Port Erin, Isle of Man

Thirty metres from the beach sits Bridge Bookshop on the Isle of Man. They have sat in the spot since 1972, proud to be a long-standing independent family business. Inside, you will find shelves upon shelves of books from fiction, non-fiction, poetry and so much more. Alongside the books, they also sell art materials, vinyl records and have a variety of local artists' work for sale; you could spend hours browsing around.

The Aldeburgh Bookshop, Aldeburgh, Suffolk 

Just off the coast of the North Sea stands The Aldeburgh Bookshop. With a business that has been going for seven decades, the staff certainly know how to recommend a good book. The bookshop has so much selection, from new to old to local books to a fully stocked children's section; you are bound to find something that you like. However, if you are on a holiday budget, the store has a range of second-hand books at the back of the store for a cheaper price. 

St Ives Bookseller, St Ives, Cornwall

Found in the seaside town of Cornwall is the St Ives Bookseller. Being at the bottom of the country has not stopped this bookshop from thriving, making it one of the leading independent bookshops in the UK. The staff has made St Ives Bookseller a beautiful place to visit with oak bookcases, Cornish slate floors and fantastic window displays. From prize winners to holiday reads, the Bookseller really sells it all, stocking well-known authors and supporting local independent ones as well. Don't be afraid to ask the staff for help or advice on books; they are more than happy to help.

The Margate Bookshop, Margate, Kent

In the heart of Old Town, The Margate Bookshop opened its doors in 2019. Owner Francesca works with small publishers to promote underrepresented authors and expand stock diversity. 

The shop is perfect for sitting in the Market Place and taking in the seaside sun with a book in hand in their outdoor seating area. You can also check their dates for regular book clubs, poetry evenings and book launch events. 

On their website, the team says it is “important that classics be ever-present, children's books be affordable, small publications be easier to stumble upon and personal recommendations should be close-at-hand and always come with a smile”.

The Portobello Bookshop, Edinburgh, Scotland

In what was originally a fishing tackle shop, owner Jack of The Portobello Bookshop wanted to create a space away from the city centre that offers new titles and recent releases to the high street area. The shop is home to a range of bookish events that are also accessible online, from book releases to author meetings and discussions.

Portobello Bookshop works very closely with local schools through a donation scheme. Through this scheme, you can donate to purchase books for the school libraries. Whether you make a school-specific or general donation, the bookshop uses 100% of the money on its curated lists, which aid in the restocking of the most valuable titles, encouraging accessibility to children of all ages and backgrounds. 

They also work collaboratively with a variety of charities in the area through further donations or specific book requests. Customers can help people experiencing homelessness through the charity Streetreads, vulnerable children with Home-Start, or students attending Ecole du Bon Berger in Rwanda. 

If you’re in the area, be sure to check out The Portobello Bookshop to support this passionate, charitable team and their local community. 

The Kempton Bookshop, Brighton, East Sussex

Brighton’s oldest independent bookshop is the Kemptown Bookshop, which has been offering a variety of literary titles across its three floors for over fifty years. If you’re looking for a place to buy books, gifts, stationery, or even grab a coffee for a walk along the beach, then this is the place for you.

The team’s passion for sharing and promoting literature and creativity is evident through their events (which are mostly free) and programmes. The shop is home to one of the leading creative writing programmes in the UK, encouraging writers of all ages to pursue their literary endeavours. They also host multiple book groups and offer a monthly subscription service with new releases chosen by their experienced book-selling team. 

In their mission to support local authors and bring the community together, the Bookroom Cafe upstairs uses local coffee roasters, tea blenders and bakeries. If you’re looking to see what Brighton has to offer, then Kemptown Bookshop definitely has it all. 



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