One of the best parts about finding yourself in a new city is where you can go to get a book that reminds you of the trip. Don’t just head to the nearest chain bookshop; instead, check out the many independent booksellers in Paddington and the surrounding area.
Paddington itself has also been immortalised in books; it’s, of course, where the bear from darkest Peru was found. Author Michael Bond was shopping one cold Christmas Eve, getting last-minute presents for his wife, and spotted a teddy bear all by itself on a lone shelf. He bought it, and since the shop was near Paddington Station, named him ‘Paddington’. Paddington would later come to life as the bear found by the Brown family with a note around his neck imploring whoever discovers him to ‘please look after this bear’.
Paddington has spawned book after book, and even a blockbuster film and its sequel. Book lovers can find his statue in Paddington Station, often sitting with a jar of marmalade; his favourite food. The Paddington Shop is nearby, where you can buy plenty of souvenirs to bring back to your room in one of our hotels in Paddington London.
However, if you’ve already got all the Paddington books, and you’ve booked a room at one of the Shaftesbury hotels Paddington just to explore the capital, you’ll want to head for the bookshops. Luckily, London has plenty.
Daunt Books isn’t far from Paddington; a quick hop on the Tube or a leisurely, flat walk. It was begun as an independent travel bookshop with three floors of amazing titles and became so popular and successful that the owner, James Daunt, now manages Britain’s largest bookshop chain. It’s still as popular as ever, though, and is frequently full of fresh flowers scenting the air of this gorgeous Edwardian-era shop.
It’s known as ‘A Browser’s Delight’, and it’s right. It’s a place for book lovers as well as music lovers—not only do they sell second-hand books, but second-hand music scores, printed music, and vocal and instrumental sheets. It’s two floors of amazing stock, featuring chamber music and opera scores alongside books of piano duets.
Books for Cooks
If you love cookery books or have been bitten by the baking bug, this shop is for you. Not only are there plenty of cookbooks to browse, there’s also a café and demonstration kitchen in the building to put them to the test. It’s also proud of its extremely squashy sofa where readers can sit themselves down and leaf through the recipe pages.
Lutyens and Rubinstein
It’s only been open since 2009, but this independent bookshop is determined to make a dent in the stranglehold that chain bookshops hold over the market. They have plenty of events with well-known authors, their own literary agency, and even offer special bespoke services for special occasions—like a birthday surprise where you can get the same number of books as years old you are.