The Petersfield Bookshop. During the planning stage of the day, I'd looked it up and spotted that it sells secondhand and antiquarian books, its website refers to 'other things to see', but it wasn't until we were fully inside the shop that we realised just what it meant.
From the street the bookshop looks interesting, standing out in its corner position, with flags and hanging baskets for added attraction. There's a light and airy covered entryway, crammed with cheap books and also a couple of plants and other quirks that might be overlooked but should also be seen as an indication of the character to be found within.
It's taken me a long time to write about this bookshop simply because ordinary words fail to do justice to the experience of a real visit. Seemingly endless rooms of floor to ceiling books are a delight to browse, with every genre imaginable to be found somewhere. To start with the obvious: the books are a delight and had me wandering from room to room admiring their variety and number. This was good both as a visual feast and for giving me lots to choose from. I picked up Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome, which was a nice addition to my slowly growing Swallows and Amazons collection.
But this is only part of the story. Within the rooms of books are all manner of knick-knacks, colourful characters and creations that I could easily imagine come to life after hours, getting up to their own mischief and moving from room to room so no two days look the same. From a slightly creepy life-sized mannequin to a fully-furnished dolls' house, a steampunk monkey or Paddington Bear on the ceiling, all kinds of creatures inhabit this bookshop, making it an adventure to explore each room even if (for some strange reason) you're not a book lover.
The Petersfield Bookshop
16 Chapel Street, Petersfield,
Hampshire, GU32 3DS
Tel: 01730 263438
Apologies, the book is currently hidden in a box of unpacked books since I moved house, but I will post a proper picture of the cover soon. Meantime, here's the steampunk monkey guarding a shelf:
And a few more, because I loved photographing all the randomness on display: