We’re always seeking out new independent bookstores and there are an amazing amount of fantastic independent children’s bookshops in Britain. It can sometimes be tricky to keep younger family members occupied in more adult-oriented booksellers so it’s great to add a few kids bookshops to our bookish travel list.
Being based in the Midlands, we’ve tried to include a good geographical spread – starting with the most northerly kids’ bookshop and working down to the south of Britain. This post also features newer independent children’s bookshops in the UK which need an extra special boost at the moment. Many of the shops listed are open but please contact them for opening times before visiting. You can also buy online from all of these booksellers via their websites.
All photos are copyright of the individual bookshops unless we’ve marked them as our own.
Before you start, you might also want to bookmark these posts:
- A Guide to Beautiful Bookshops in the Peak District
- A Penguin Book Pilgrimage to the Ironbridge Bookshop
- Getting Lost in Scarthin Books
Why are Children’s Bookshops So Special?
Every bookshop is special, but children’s bookshops have that extra bit of magic. Why?
- It takes a real enthusiast to open a bookshop especially for kids. You just know that the owners are going to be super-passionate about publications for under 18s so if you’re looking for the best children’s book recommendations, these are the places to go.
- Connected to the above, people who open children’s bookshops often have specific skills that mean they can really focus on young people. You’ll frequently find teachers, performers and artists running bookstores.
- We have a world-class reputation for producing outstanding children’s literature in the UK. The children’s bookshops in Britain keep creative tradition alive by offering magical workshops and events.
- They’re FUN! A children’s bookstore expects chatter, activity and excitement. What’s more, they’re designed especially for kids (and playful adults) with cosy reading nooks and secret dens.
- Children’s bookshops offer respite for parents – particularly during weekends and school holidays. Have a sit down while your kids explore 🙂
If you’re lucky enough to have a children’s bookshop near you, why not pay them a visit and sprinkle some enchantment into your book pile?
Ginger and Pickles Bookshop, Stockbridge, Edinburgh
A super-stylish, yet cosy new independent children’s bookshop that can provide specialist advice to schools and parents for all ages ranging from parent and baby to yound adult. Ginger and Pickles appear to be two little teddy bears who appear frequently on the bookstore’s Facebook page. You can watch a little bookshop tour video on Facebook too.
This looks like a perfect place to pop into if you’re aiming to build a long-lasting child’s library.
Foggie Toddle Books, Wigtown
This lovely children’s bookstore has just re-opened in the official Scottish book town of Wigtown. They stock both new and secondhand books for children of all ages as well as a small selection of gifts and toys. Every month they feature a different local artisan maker in their middle room.
Foggie Toddle is a Scot’s word for bumblebee and we love that they highlight bee conservation on their website. Seeing this beautiful bookshop makes us even more determined to pay a visit to Wigtown.
Seven Stories, Newcastle upon Tyne
Seven Stories is the National Centre for Children’s Books and although you have to pay to visit, it’s an absolute must for young booklovers. The centre is packed with fun exhibitions, workshops and houses one of the best children’s bookshops in Britain. It also has a cafe and you can book birthday parties here.
Make sure you factor in a day to explore this wondrous bookish place when it opens again (it’s closed due to Covid-19). We’ve visited twice and we’re itching to return!
The Blue House Bookshop – York
York has tons of fantastic bookshops so it’s brilliant to see that this new children’s bookstore has opened in this historic city. They offer free delivery in York and the cost of postage for addresses outside of the city.
There are little chairs to sit on inside and the owner is very happy to help with book suggestions. Of course children are very welcome making it a great place to visit if you’re spending family time in the area.
The Little Bookshop, Leeds
If you’re looking for a beautifully-designed bookshop cafe for kids then search no further! The Little Bookshop opened in Leeds in 2017 and has the most adorable website. In their own words:
We are dedicated to sourcing a diverse range of inclusive books and bringing them together under one roof. With regular storytimes, author events and a cafe serving up fresh and wholesome food we hope you’ll have an experience in the shop that embodies the joy of reading for your family.
The cafe isn’t open due to Covid at present but you can visit the shop. Check the website for the latest information.
Storytellers, Inc, Lytham St.Annes
Storyteller, Inc has not one but three book clubs for kids. How cool is that? A stone’s throw from the beach, the bookshop has a reading den and holds regular events for young people. Not only does the bookshop have all these fun things to do, the mother and daughter team have won awards for their fantastic customer service.
At the moment, the bookstore is closed, but you can buy books online.
Grimm & Co – Rotherham
Although not strictly a children’s bookshop, this magical shop based in Rotherham is a dream come true for kids. Encouraging creativity and self-esteem, the shop runs amazing writing workshops and sells all sorts of enchanted items. PLUS you can select a secondhand book for free from their book corner.
Grimm & Co is a registered charity with the mission to change lives one story at a time so everything you buy from the shop goes back into giving young people the chance to attend writing workshops for free.
The organisation is closed in July and August 2020 while they move to a bigger home in a converted church, but to get a feel for the experience, you can read about our visit to the former premises . We’re very excited to see the unveiling of their new home in September.
Tell Tales Books, Warrington
Tell Tale Books opened in Padgate, Warrington at the beginning of 2019 and the owner, Lesley is evidently passionate about children’s books!
During normal operating, this tiny shop has a tearoom but we couldn’t see whether it’s open online. If you’re thinking of visiting, the bookstore seems most active on Twitter so it’s probably best to check there.
The Barrister in Wonderland – Retford
The Barrister in Wonderland is a quirky bookish haven for kids of all ages and can be found in the centre of the market town of Retford, Nottinghamshire. The indie children’s bookshop sells new books (including signed copies), has a book club and offers book subscriptions. This pretty bookstore has been recently shortlisted for the Children’s Bookshop of the Year in the British Book Awards 2021.
You can buy books online and also order titles in. If you’re feeling generous and want to treat children to books, why not donate to their #PayItForward scheme?
Bookbugs and Dragon Tales – Norwich
Bookbugs and Dragon Tales is a new independent book shop, cafe and arts centre in Norwich. I wish we had more photos to share with you because frankly it looks gorgeous inside and out.
Run by Leanne and Dan (wife and husband), this lovely bookstore specialises in children’s books and has a range of adult titles too. With a background in performing arts, events are very much on the agenda so keep an eye on their appointments calendar.
The Children’s Bookshop – Hay-On-Wye
If you’re looking for vintage children’s books then check out the catalogue at The Children’s Bookshop in Hay-On-Wye. Situated on the outskirts of this famous bookish town, they stock many twentieth-century children’s titles. I’m going to hedge a bet here and guess that these are aimed predominantly at adult collectors, but there are lots of bargains for kids too.
If you plan to travel to Hay then definitely consider going when the Hay Festival is on. We’ve shared our best tips for visiting the Hay Festival as a family.
The Alligator’s Mouth – Richmond, Surrey
If you’re looking for a lovely day out by the river and a visit to a children’s bookshop then head over to The Alligator’s Mouth in Richmond, Surrey. It’s hidden up a charming lane in the centre of the town and although it only has two rooms, they’re packed with amazing titles for kids of all ages.
The shop has Covid-19 measures in place and a super-helpful team so you can browse with confidence. Alternatively, check out their website, where you can order books, arrange a video consultation and download free activity sheets.
Round Table Books – Brixton, London
There are many amazing independent children’s bookshops in London so it’s hard to pick just one (and I’m certain we’ll add more soon!). Our top choice is Round Table Books which was started by inclusive children’s book publisher, Knights Of after a party and is first on our list for our next trip to London.
ROUND TABLE BOOKS exists to celebrate underrepresented children’s books, writers and illustrators. We curate and stock books from the widest variety of UK and Irish publishers possible.
The shop has a really cute design and was created in a collaborative way so that the owners could reach out to as many young people as possible. You can read about who was involved here. As with most bookstores, you can also order books online.
The Rocketship Bookshop – Salisbury
The Rocketship Bookshop is very shiny and new. Set over 3 floors in Salisbury town centre, they believe that books shape the future for young people and are passionate about listening to their customers.
The building housed another bookshop for many years and the owners are keen to preserve this bookish heritage. You can see the restoration photos in their gallery. Again, the bookstore is trading as well as offering online services.
Bags of Books – Lewes
Bags of Books in Lewes, East Sussex is straight out of a picture book. This long-established children’s bookseller offers a range of services including book vouchers, recommendations for schools and a Year of Books subscription.
With an aim to create readers for life, you can find out the latest news on their blog. They have a new custodian named Rachel as well as a furry staff member by the name of Alan!
How Brave is the Wren – all over the UK!
How Brave is the Wren is a wonderful travelling bookshop that stocks beautifully-crafted children’s books, created by authors, illustrators, artists and designers, books that appeal to the young and the young at heart.
Their bespoke caravan shop normally tours the UK visiting markets, festivals and events fully stocked with a fantastical range of adventures ready to inspire young minds but this year it has had remain static.
This has given Jenny the bookseller more time to source the most amazing books and she is generously offering a 10% discount code that can be used to buy book bundles (applies to cost pre-shipping).
A range of Book Bundles are available to choose from; picture books / chapter books / education and activity / or a mixed bundle. Once the purchase is completed customers receive an email with a few questions, which help Jenny to make a selection, tailored to the customers preferences.
Which other Children’s Bookshops in the UK Should We Add to This List?
We know that there are many more independent children’s bookshops in Britain so we’ll be adding them bit by bit. Please let us know your favourites in the comments or if you’re a bookshop, get in touch via our contact form.
Great list – thank you!
A pleasure! I need to add a few more!