Wednesday 23 September 2015

A place to fall in love

I can't be the only one who's dreamed of falling in love in a bookshop? Of reaching for a book at the same time someone else does, your hands meet, you both awkwardly offer to let the other person have the book before eventually swapping numbers and agreeing to share it.

Okay, so the scenario doesn't have to work quite like that, you might simply have spotted someone with their nose in a book and struck up a conversation about the title's relative merits (or failings), but the outcome is the same: love, happiness and a home completely stuffed with books.

It's certainly not beyond the realms of possibility. After all, a bookshop is one of those few remaining places in the real world where it's considered okay to strike up conversation with a stranger. I didn't set up this blog as an excuse to travel the country chatting up other bookshoppers – I'm far too shy with boys for that – but given a choice of online dating versus real conversations I know which one I prefer.

Which brings me to this week's destination: Primrose Hill Books, a very short walk from Regent's Park and one of a select few bookshops listed in my all-time favourite guidebook, London for Lovers.* I didn't know about this listing at the time of my visit, but while I was there it was impossible not to be taken by the romance of the bookshop.

A small area with near floor-to-ceiling books, the clever layout made it somewhere to explore despite the limited space, and with sunlight streaming through the window it was also a place of beauty. The books piled on top of middle-height bookshelves were somehow elegant and every display was an extra adornment to the stylish simplicity. This was enhanced by a corner of bookshelves to walk around, adding a moment of mystery before landing on your perfect read.

During my visit, on a particularly hot day, there was a gentle flow of people and air through the open doors and windows of the bookshop, leading to languid browsing and gentle jostling as we each made our way around the shop.

A display of Hesperus books was where my attention was eventually drawn, sparking a conversation with Jessica the bookseller as I picked out my purchase: The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery (of Anne of Green Gables fame). Discussing favourite books and our wonderful surroundings, it was clear to see Jessica loves the bookshop she created and has really found her place within the local reading community.

Our conversation also confirmed my belief Primrose Hill Books is a place to fall in love: it's where the bookseller met her husband.

Primrose Hill Books
134 Regent's Park Road, Primrose Hill, pLondon, NW1 8XL
Tel: 020 7586 2022

*Yes, I have previously whittered on about this book.


  1. I'm planning a bookshopping day-trip to London, and this blog is excellent for recommendations - I like to try at least one new bookshop every time I go there, rather than just the Waterstones and Foyle's. This is another one to add to the list!

    1. Thank you Katie! I'm glad my visits help to broaden your bookshop horizons - do feel free to share the experience as a guest post (or if less daunting, tweet me your thoughts once you get to visit)


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