If you plan on taking a walk along Albert and Highland roads in Southsea, Portsmouth, my advice is to take a good strong tote bag or two. And be prepared to leave with a lighter wallet.
The road is packed with independent shops of a varied and interesting nature, and many of them are bookshops.
I was there with Abbie Headon, who I've mentioned before, and time was late and limited so we weren't able to go in all the bookshops, but even peeking through the windows was enough to see shoppers are spoiled for choice.
We started our journey in Jade Mountain Bookshop, a lovely little secondhander that's entered through the same doorway as a cafe, should you need to fuel up before you start shopping.
I loved Jade Mountain Bookshop and was sorry to leave, but other bookshops awaited and time was passing us by.
As it happened, time had already passed us by, and the lateness of the afternoon meant many of the bookshops (as we walked along Highland Road and it became Albert Road) were already closed for the day. Many also are not mentioned on Google, so all I can tell you is that there were lots, including a rather appealing graphic novel and comic shop that I did manage a quick look around.
Thankfully, not all the remaining bookshops were closed, and as we arrived at the opposite end of the street we found crime specialist Adelphi Books.
At first glance this is not a bookshop for the fainthearted, but go beyond your first impression and you'll see it's also somewhere special. The initial doubt is because the place really does look to be in a bit of a muddle, with some books apparently forgotten on the floor, but contain your browsing to the shelves and you see a wealth of secondhand titles unlike any standard high street crime section could offer. Which is a real treat.
Stock is for those who read further back than today's popular writers and I wouldn't be surprised if a few original prints of British Library Crime Classics could be found among these shelves. We were particularly taken by the Toff series by John Creasey and in the end The Toff and the Runaway Bride had to be my book of choice.
Exploring the bookshopping delights of Southsea was a pleasant way to spend a few hours, even if we were often limited to looking through windows.
Should you decide to take my advice and go for a wander, I'd encourage you to arrive early because the internet is little to no help here. Instead just take a chance – even if you only get to these two bookshops your efforts will not have been wasted.
Jade Mountain Bookshop
17 Highland Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, PO4 9DA
Tel: 02392 732951
1 Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, PO5 2SE
Tel: 02392 618120