Thursday 30 April 2015

The bookshop in the park

Spring is here, complete with blue skies, sunshine and inconvenient showers – so I thought it would be time I wrote about an experience in the sun.

I have to confess my visit to this bookshop took place last summer but events delayed my writing before winter set in, by which time it felt wrong to share an afternoon in the garden while I was huddling by the radiator.

Now though, the world is looking brighter and it's a lot easier to fondly remember my visit to Osterley. There are two bookshops in the area, one I've already told you about, the other is not quite so easy to find as it's set within the grounds of Osterley Park. I would never have known it existed if it hadn't been for a friend clearly stating there are two bookshops.

Walking from the tube – which isn't really underground by this point – the natural path was to take in our first bookshop, then continue to Osterley Park Bookshop, set within a stunning public park that was just the right level of busy. Having always believed National Trust properties to be closely guarded and expensive to visit, I was amazed by how much beautiful open space there was and spent much longer than anticipated enjoying my surroundings – although I understand further grounds are accessed if you pay to enter the house.

As it was a hot day, a cream tea was called for before visiting the bookshop, but I couldn't resist peeking through the door as we walked past on our way to the courtyard cafe and would've happily been diverted if not in company (the cream tea was worth the diversion).

Returning to the bookshop, a display of plants near the door and the temptations of a delightful gift shop opposite – combined with the lure of cream teas and the rest of the property – it would be easy to miss the small and unassuming bookshop, but I'd certainly encourage visitors to explore all sides of the stable it's set in.

A bright and airy bookshop, it's never going to compete with its neighbour (either bookshop or gift shop) for stock levels but as the way to complete a visit to a gorgeous country park it's perfect.

A range of subjects are stocked, with friendly volunteer staff ready to help with any enquiry, or simply welcome you to the bookshop, but what I particularly liked was the varied crime and general fiction areas – paperbacks perfect for reading in the park or while relaxing with a cream tea (my choice was The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart).

Think about that for one moment: jumping off the tube, walking a few minutes to a gorgeous park and knowing you don't have to worry about finishing your book/running out of scones.

It certainly made my day.

Osterley Park Bookshop
Jersey Road, Isleworth,
Middlesex, TW7 4RB
Tel: 020 8232 5050

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