Brilliant Bookshops

Brilliant Bookshop: Stanfords, Bristol


In 1853, Edward Stanford became the sole owner of what became ‘the largest, and indeed only map maker and seller in London at a time when British colonialism, the rise of the railways and the continuing popularity of the Grand Tour, meant demand for readily accessible, high quality cartography was building at remarkable pace.’ In 1997, Bristol became home to its first store outside of London and it is still there today. And what a lovely shop it is!


Beautiful window displays set the scene tempt the passing reader inside. I loved this display for ‘No Ballet Shoes in Syria’ which is a great favourite of mine. Once inside, this attention to creative displays continues as the wall to the basement is covered in a huge map of Bristol. Colourful models of hot air balloons hang in front of this, a reminder of Bristol’s Balloon Festival.


Even their bags are adorned with maps of Bristol! Although Stanfords boasts of being the world’s largest travel and map store, it also has a very tempting children’s section which offers a wide range of both fiction and non-fiction for all ages in a spacious and attractive setting at the back of the shop. I needed a couple of their attractive carrier bags when I left to carry all my purchases with me!


They also have a rather lovely stationery section and after a very brief internal debate about whether I needed these or just wanted them, I convinced myself there were many good reasons for having these brilliant ‘storyteller’ pencils.

A bookshop with beautiful displays, a calm atmosphere and a wonderful selection of books- what more could you want! Well worth a visit!

Brilliant Bookshop: Button and Bear, Shrewsbury


Today, I walked straight into bookshop heaven! Button and Bear in Shrewsbury is a magical place, dedicated entirely to children’s books- and it should be on everyone’s ‘places I must visit’ list!


This family-owned bookshop offers a fabulous range of book-ish delights from first reading experiences to young adult reads. Light, spacious and welcoming, the shop maximises its space whilst remaining clam and uncluttered.


On the right hand side wall is a wonderfully tempting display of fiction, non-fiction and picture books, begging to be admired and read. It was so easy to browse these and locate many favourites as well as some new treasures.


Small display tables are scattered around the shop, focusing attention on particular authors, illustrators or themes. This one proudly displayed signed copies of Nevermoor and Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend who visited yesterday. There were other signs indicating the shop has a busy author event programme as well- pictures drawn by Chris Riddell and Tony Ross hang proudly on the wall and there were other signed books on offer too.


The shop was made even more special by the wonderfully warm, friendly welcome I received. Every question I asked was answered with great enthusiasm and knowledge. The lady I spoke to (I’m so sorry I didn’t ask her name!) even emailed her mum to ask for suggestions of books I might like to read. They even had a section for wordless picture books- not something I always find!


Whilst we were talking, story time was taking place in the Woodland Room beneath the shop. This lovely area is reached by going down stairs lined with trees- a pushchair park is conveniently located just at the top of the stairs. It is such a delightful space and obviously very well used. Parents and children who were leaving had obviously had a wonderful time and were browsing the books before leaving.


If I ever fulfil my dream of owning a children’s bookshop, it would be one just like this! Button and Bear is just lovely and I will be visiting again soon.

You can find out more on their website.

Brilliant Bookshop: Books on the Hill, Clevedon


Today, I visited Books on the Hill, a local treasure which is found in Clevedon. Run by Alistair and Chloe, the shop has a wonderful range of books on offer- and some interesting additions not usually found in a bookshop- loose leaf teas and a fabulous range of tea pots!


The Children’s section is very well-stocked, offering a wide range of titles, I was delighted to find the new ‘Seaview Stables’ from Tracey Corderoy - signed from a recent event Alistair had provided a book shop for. i also bought ‘The Electric Venus’ by Julie Mayhew, the new Dundoodle Mystery by David O’Connell and The Winged Horse Race by Kallie George.


A delightful range of picture books is also available. There is plenty of choice and the books are attractively displayed, making it easy to browse and discover those must-have purchases. This year’s World Book Day books are proudly displayed in their own stand and the shop also offers an interesting range of cards and bags.


Books on the Hill is an active part of the community, offering author events in store as well as supporting events elsewhere. They recently provided us with a bookshop for Sophie Henn’s visit and are coming again on Friday, when Duncan Beedie will be with us. They are also supporting Clevedon School with a gifting scheme to fill their new library. Such an excellent idea!


Light and airy, the shop is spread over three levels, with space used cleverly to maximise space and appeal. Offering a range of books from independent publishers and specialising in dyslexic-friendly books and the Sci-fi and Fantasy genres, this is a shop to investigate!

Books on the Hill, Hill Road, Clevedon, North Somerset BS21 7PL
Telephone: 01275 873647