Next stop is a quiet street in Marylebone, five minutes walk from the leafy beauty of Regent’s Park: Daunt Books, the home of the natty little canvas tote bags that seem to be on trend at the moment with book-lovers.
And for good reason, because the store itself is a thing of beauty. Though it was only founded in 1990 by one James Daunt (who has also been managing the Waterstones book chain since 2011), the building itself has actually been a bookshop since 1910, when it was built for the booksellers Francis Edwards; in fact, Daunt Books is supposedly the first custom-built bookstore in the world.
All of its character has been preserved: it feels like Flourish and Blotts, with secret little hideaways tucked away behind bookshelves, a gorgeous main hall with stained glass windows, and a gallery, where you can walk the balconies overlooking the first floor and feel like a true book aficionado. There are reams of gorgeous wooden bannisters, and even a lovely little basement area that has sofas and armchairs for the casual browser. It even has an old safe where older, more valuable books used to be stored; if that’s not a draw, I don’t know what is.
Though originally specialising in travel literature, Daunt Books has since expanded- in fiction, and non-fiction- as well as into several different areas of London, with stores popping up in Cheapside and Chelsea. They also hold the Daunt Books Festival, and often host talks with authors.
Whether it’s books you’re looking for, or simply some stunning architecture, this place has both.