I've been approaching my London Walks colleagues for their top London Bookshops tips and I'll be sharing their recommendations here on The Daily Constitutional. Be sure to ask them for directions to their favourite bookshops at the end of their London Walks tours!
The most loveliest, the most special-est, the most posh-est bookshop in town is Hatchards and I love it.
First and foremost it's a lovely shop. Second their events and signings are tantamount to a rolling festival of literature in miniature – join their mailing list to keep up.
But what puts it head-and-shoulders above all the others is the wrapping - crisp brown paper and signature ribbon. There is no more special gift in London than a book wrapped from Hatchards.
I can point you toward Hatchards at the end of my Village in Piccadilly tour on Monday afternoons.
A couple of years back I picked up a fascinating volume on 300 years of history at Piccadilly by Arthur Dassent, bought from Unsworth's second-hand bookshop. It wasn’t until I got it home, however, that I found a little bonus inside. Here it is…
… it’s the original bill from Hatchards bookshop back when the book was sold first time around.
It feels like having the book’s birth certificate.
The bill dates from 1955 – 35 years after the book was written – and lists the price (inc. postage to the customer) as one pound and two shillings.
Find Hatchards here…
About your correspondent…
Karen comes trailing clouds of glory. Travel & Leisure crowned her "the world's greatest tour guide." She hosts the Canadian television travel show "London Next Stop." She won the London Tourist Board's Guide of the Year award. She's the author of Royal London. She is, quite simply, a star turn – which is why she's the "go to" London guide for every major media concern. A reformed actress and occasional journalist, her gold standard walks are, needless to say, vivid and entertaining.
Watch Karen guiding here…
A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.