Brilliant Bookshops

Brilliant Bookshop: StorySmith, Bristol


A new bookshop has appeared on North Street in Bristol. Not having been able to visit before due to being ill, I took the first chance I had to visit and find out more for myself.


Laid out over two floors, StorySmith is bright and welcoming. There are plenty of chairs and beanbags available, encouraging visitors to have a coffee and browse the selection of books. The calm atmosphere is perfect for allowing you to take time as you make your choices.


The children’s section offers a lovely range of fiction and non-fiction. Colourful hot air balloons hang overhead and tempting beanbags are scatted by the shelves , offering comfort to those hunting for their next read. There is also a comfy chair in this section for those of us no longer able to get out of a beanbag- if we managed to get into one in the first place! Everything is laid out to encourage exploration of the shelves and make children feel that they - and their book choices - are valued.


There is a lovely selection of picture books on offer too, many in hardback, including favourites like Shifty McGifty and PomPom. Unlike in many shops, these are at child height, making them easy to reach and explore.


StorySmith also offers a good YA section with plenty of appealing titles. Although I only briefly looked at the selection of books for adults, I was impressed by the variety of subjects and titles available here too. Space has been very well used to maximise the number of books for sale, yet offer comfort and room for browsing and relaxing. The staff were welcoming and very helpful, making a return visit a must!


Storysmith, 49 North Street, Bristol, BS3 1EN

The Marlow Bookshop


Today, I visited Marlow in Bucks where the town was buzzing with life as people were enjoying the abundance of independent shops. One of these was The Marlow Bookshop, a real gem of a ‘brilliant bookshop’, found on Spittal Street.


The shop was bustling with customers browsing the wonderful array of books on offer. As is my wont, I headed for the children’s section where there was a lovely, tempting display of festive books. I was delighted to lay my hands on a copy of ‘Sammy Claws’ amongst some other treats. The picture book section was well laid out and open with a lovely selection of books on offer. Parents and their children were cuddled up, selecting and sharing books- it sounds as if Father Christmas is going to be very bust delivering books in Bucks this Christmas!


Round the corner were the books for older children. Here too, a tempting range of beautiful non-fiction titles, poetry and fiction are beautifully laid out on the shelves. Children were searching for all manner of books- Percy Jackson, Brightstorm, How Winston Saved Christmas- to name a few and the staff were knowledgeable and helpful.


A very attractive classics section included some of the lovely cloth bound classics series which I covet so deeply! The history section was another highlight- a good range of periods and countries! Whatever book you’re looking for, this is a bookshop you will find it in- or if it’s not there, the very helpful staff will quickly order it for you. A brilliant bookshop well worth a visit!

Brilliant Bookshops: Blandford Books, Broadway, Worcestershire


In the beautiful Cotswolds village of Broadway, you can find Blandford Books. Its bay windows are bursting with delights, offering a taste of what’s inside.


The shop offers a wonderful range of picture books, mixing firm favourites with new releases. These are temptingly displayed with book character toys like Paddington and the Moomins scattered around. Framed pictures and quotes are also displayed amongst the books declaring things like ‘Reading is Fun!’


The selection of titles available for the primary age range was particularly good and I found some real treats which I had not seen in other shops.


Sadly, I was not allowed to take photos in the shop; when I asked permission, the ladies explained that this was not possible as so many people come in, take pictures of the books they like the look of and then go and order them from Amazon! Sad times! However, I have taken pictures of the books I bought instead!


The shop doesn’t have a YA section as the ladies explained that their sales of these have never picked up really since e-readers have been popular. The adult section covers a wide range of subjects and there are lots of cards and gifts on sale as well.


A lovely bookshop in a beautiful little town, Blandford Books is well worth a visit! You can look at their website here.