By Megan Burroughs and Holly Presswell
New year, new you! This is the time of the year when everyone is setting goals and starting new adventures in their life. In this issue, we have pulled together some of the most new and unique bookshops across the UK to brighten up your January blues and get started on those 2024 reading targets.
House of Books & Friends – Ground Floor, 81 King St., Manchester, M2 4AH
Opened two years ago in Manchester, House of Books & Friends has become a huge part of the local community. They are a purpose-led, independent bookshop, cafe and event space with a mission to combat loneliness. They strive to do this through bringing people together and building and rebuilding the community.
The bookshop sells a well-curated selection of books from fiction to non-fiction and biographies to coffee table books. The staff are always happy to help or have a chat and discuss all there is about books. Be sure to check out their amazing events, which aim to inspire connection, collaboration and connectivity.
The Ceilidh Place – 14 West Argyle Street, Ullapool, IV26 2TY
This is every bookworm’s dream; a bookshop that doubles as a hotel and music venue. The actual bookshop is rather small but offers a wide range of books, from travel and philosophy to contemporary fiction and nature writing. The star of the show is the hotel room, simply furnished but with no TV. Instead, a selection of books is in place with some popular titles and new ones to discover.
You can explore the library, the living room and the honesty bar (where you pour your own drinks). Placed in every part of the hotel are sofas and quiet places to snuggle up and enjoy a book.
Barter Books – Alnwick Station, Northumberland, NE66 2NP
This second-hand bookshop is one of the largest in the UK. The building used to be a Victorian railway station, making it a rather big bookshop which needs a floor plan to get around! With rows and rows of bookshelves, you are guaranteed to find something you will like. Around the books, you will find a model railway, lit fireplaces in the winter and many talks on books all year round.
Located at the back of the store is a beautiful mural of famous writers painted by Peter Dodd. If you visit, see if you can spot Jane Austen, Mark Twain or Charles Dickens.
Press Books and Coffee – 42 Market Street, Hednesford, WS12 1AG
Opening its doors in 2023, Press runs a variety of events such as open mics and author talks. After browsing through their array of new and second-hand books, you can take a look at their gift selection for your book-loving friends and family. You can even sign up for the Press Book Club to encourage your reading goals.
The bookshop also dons a sustainable café with milk and bakery products from local suppliers in Hednesford. Press Books and Coffee is sure to make it to your cosy bookshops to visit in 2024. Keep an eye on their social media for more information on their events.
Booka Bookshop – 26-28 Church Street, Oswestry, SY11 2SP
Booka is a family-owned business in Oswestry where Shropshire meets Wales. At the heart of the community in this market town, Booka is home to a range of quality books and stationery fit for those upcoming birthdays and back-to-school days! Wife and husband Carrie and Tim opened the store in 2009 and have worked closely alongside local schools and libraries to promote their love for reading and bringing the community together.
Winning the 2015 title of UK & Ireland Independent Bookshop of the Year, Carrie and Tim have recently opened a second location just an hour away in Bridgnorth to further spread the community joy of reading as well as their homemade cakes!
The Little Bookshop – 47 Harrogate Road, Leeds, LS7 3PD
Specialising in children’s books, The Little Bookshop is one of Leeds’ only and most-loved independently owned bookshops, not to mention their second location in Skipton as of 2023.
The Little Bookshop is the perfect place to spend time with the family in an environment catered to people of all ages, with regular story times and author events alongside a cafe serving up fresh food.
With a dedication to serving diverse books to various ages, The Little Bookshop is certain to have something for everyone who visits.