Let’s go back to where it all began… Hatchard’s, which is, if rumour is to be believed, the UK’s oldest bookshop. Founded in 1797 by one John Hatchard, bookseller, the bookshop hasn’t moved from its current location in Piccadilly- why would you, though, it’s next to Fortnum and Mason’s- for over two centuries.
The building itself is pretty gorgeous, as well: the storefront is nothing but wood, and it looks like the second home of Flourish and Blott’s: it’s the kind of building that breathes history and that somehow adds to the atmosphere within. I always find it’s much more satisfying to browse through a bookshop that actually looks the part! There are the uneven floorboards, and a fantastic spiral staircase winding straight through the centre of the shop, with all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore as you walk through the shop.
If you’re looking for class, too, this place has it: it’s got three Royal warrants and caters to collectors as well as browsers, finding niche or out-of-print books, ‘whatever the budget’. All of this adds up to quite an experience: if you’re a book nerd, like me, you’ll love it… before popping next door and admiring the amazing china cups in Fortnum’s.
Go there if… You like a bit of history to go with your book browsing.