An alley off Charing Cross Road. Photo by Andwar
In London, great writers from Dickens to Keats, Woolf to Orwell found a home and a literary community. Today, bookish visitors can find shelves filled with their works, often in charming, historically-significant bookstores. Cheapos on the hunt for souvenirs know that many of these shops hand out bookmarks for free.
Souvenirs to write home about
The proprietors of many of London’s famous bookstores promote themselves with free bookmarks. After perusing your favorite titles on the shelves at one of the shops, pick one up at the front counter. Not only will they keep your page, but the bookmark will be a pleasing reminder of your trip.
Charing Cross Road, a row famous for its many second-hand booksellers, runs between the Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square tube stations, and is an excellent place to hunt down bookmarks. Waterstone’s and Foyles, two of the biggest British houses of books, are found here as well. You can also stop in front of 84, Charing Cross Road, well-known by the book of the same name (c. 1970) and the film starring Anthony Hopkins (c. 1987).
Daunt bookstore has four locations. The main store is at 83 Marylebone High Street south of Regent’s Park. Branches are also in Belsize Park, Hampstead and Holland Park. Rumors purport that George Orwell often frequented the location in Hampstead, where he also kept house.
While you’re at it…
Why not also buy a book for you to mark? We’d suggest buying a novel by a British author in his or her old neighborhood. For instance, a trip to London doesn’t get more self-referential than buying “A Song About Myself,” by John Keats, from the Daunt branch near the poet’s old house.