Ever wondered where the Atwood team go to get a bit of bookish ‘me time’?
We share our secret spots…
Claire: The Waterside Cafe
This isn’t a bookish haunt exactly but a lovely place to hang out and read your book or the papers on a Sunday. I started my stroll at Lisson Grove and joined the canal at Blomfield Road (you can follow it for a very long way if you’re feeling energetic!). The Waterside Cafe is a great place to stop for tea and cake; it’s a haven of tranquillity and it’s always so much easier to relax by the water. There are other places to stop along the way if you do make it further!
Helen: The Family Friendly Foyer
A great place to read, relax and people-watch is the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall; always buzzing with activity and with plenty of comfortable sofas and chairs that you can occupy for hours at a time without fear of eviction. If you’re in need of a good coffee, Caffè Vergnano is nearby and if you run out of reading matter Foyles is downstairs. For frazzled parents, this is a child-friendly spot, so collapse into a chair and feed the baby or let your toddler run off some energy. There’s often a free performance going on and don’t forget to take a ride in the singing lift!
Sam: Gosh Comics
Gosh Comic’s long standing reputation in the comics industry is accentuated superbly by their friendly, passionate staff. A massive range of literature, a fascinating collection of vintage children’s books, an eye popping amount of manga and a veritable cap doffing to the small press titles really make this modest and stylish book store worth a visit. There truly is something for everyone. Give yourself an afternoon for a visit and immerse yourself in a niche culture made accessible and friendly for all.
Stephanie: Southbank Book Market
One of my favourite things about London is that there are very few places you can’t read. No busy commute or long supermarket queue is boring if you’ve got a good story with you. For a really relaxing treat, I like to go to the Southbank Book Market and wander through rows of wooden tables and piles of old books. Pack a picnic, remember your cash and lose yourself for a Saturday afternoon by our river. Rumour has it that if you look long enough, you’ll find a first edition or out of print treasure hiding in that little bit of stillness that’s slap bang in the middle of the hustle and bustle of London.
Lucy: A Quiet Place to Read
My favourite place to squeeze in a bit of actual book time, especially during the LBF, is across the road from Earls Court. It’s hard to find a peaceful spot anywhere in London, but time stands still in beautiful Brompton Cemetery, and you can pass an hour uninterrupted by foghorn tube announcements, chuggers, or free range dogs in quilted jackets. Once you’ve found a good spot amongst the tombs of the great and good (suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst’s grave is near the Earls Court entrance and, wonderfully, is often enshrined in fresh flowers) the din of the city is reduced to the faint hum of planes overhead, chatter of tiny birds, and occasional scrabble of squirrels dashing up a tree trunk…
Pardy: Away From the Real World
Whether it’s in a park, in bed, in a cafe or on the train; finding the perfect place to read a book is definitely worth investing in. However, a desirable location for me must adhere to a few requirements: number one – a jaw dropping book, number two – peace, number three – no distractions, and number four, a bit of classical music to really set the mood. Without sounding like a complete bore, reading for me is an uninterrupted journey through a fictitious whirlwind, and therefore my ‘Bookish Haunt’ positions me… well, curled up on the sofa, with a fresh cup of tea and the real world lingering far, far behind me.