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The most beautiful London bookshops to visit this spring

1. Daunt Books, Marylebone - overall score, 4.76 out of 5

Renowned for its beauty, Daunt Books in Marylebone is officially the most picturesque bookshop in London to visit. It is amongst the highest-rated bookstores in the city alongside Hatchards and Watkins Books, with an average review score of 4.79 out of 5. The study also looked into the bookstore reviews with the most ‘picturesque’ keywords - such as ‘beautiful’, ‘photogenic’ and ‘stunning’ and found that Daunt Books beat all the others with its breathtaking aesthetics, giving this scenic bookshop a final score of 4.76/5.

Though it is first and foremost a travel bookstore, Daunt Marylebone also offers an expansive range of literary fiction for book lovers to enjoy. Marylebone has been the home to many famous authors and playwrights including the great Charles Dickens, making this bookstore the perfect stop-off point to a literary tour of London. It offers a wonderful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, providing a serene space to browse for your next read.


2. Hatchards Piccadilly - overall score 4.74 out of 5

Hatchards Piccadilly is a bookstore not to be missed if you are in London. It’s no surprise that this gem came second on the list with one of the highest aesthetic scores, boasting a beautiful five floors of warm and cosy interior with the finest selection of books. It is not only the oldest bookstore in London but in the whole of the UK - and its rich history shines through as you visit.

As booksellers to the Royal Household since 1797, Hatchards is renowned for its trusted quality and expansive collection. As you walk around the store, you become immersed in its history, as it makes nods to its past with royal portraits and historic photographs dotted around the shop. It is widely thought to be the finest bookstore in the UK, so if you are in search of rare books, signed copies or first editions - they have you covered.

Joao rafael BR, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Watkins Books, Leicester Square - overall score 4.71 out of 5

Established in 1893, Watkins Books in Leicester Square is not your typical bookstore. It offers a unique collection of spiritual and esoteric books, complemented by statues, crystals and tarot decks which are also sold inside. With a quaint and beautiful interior, it is a great place to roam and an even better place to read nuanced literature. This shop is so much more than a bookstore, offering Tarot readings and the opportunity to discover your spiritual side. With several reviews praising its beauty and high average reviews scores - it is truly not one you want to miss.

Ethan Doyle White, via Wikimedia Commons

4. Foyles, Charing Cross - overall score 4.69 out of 5

Foyles’ globally celebrated flagship branch is located in Charing Cross. It has built a reputation for its eccentricity over the years, and in 2018 held the Guinness World Record holder for being the world’s largest bookstore. It is a true book lovers' paradise, boasting over 200,000 titles across all subjects available to purchase across 37,000 square feet of retail space. Its interior has a modern feel with an atrium flooding sunlight throughout the building, giving the shop a bright, relaxed atmosphere. With a final score of 4.69 out of 5, this bookstore clearly lives up to its famed reputation.


4. Stanfords Map & Travel Bookshop, Covent Garden - overall score 4.69 out of 5

Specialist travel bookshop, Stanfords, is considered to have the world’s largest collection of maps, globes and maritime charts. Since its inception in 1853, Stanfords has reached worldwide acclaim, supplying cartography for both the James Bond films and the British Army. Located in Covent Garden, this store is a perfect stop-off point for any book-lover wanting to delve into a world of wanderlust whilst visiting the local tourist attractions. It has a whimsical charm to it, stocking everything from maps to board games and even children’s toys. It is no wonder this charming spot has high reviews and is deemed one of the most insta-worthy on the list..


5. Owl Bookshop, Kentish Town - overall score 4.67 out of 5

Owl Bookshop is adored by the local community of Kentish Town, having been in the trade for over 40 years. It provides a haven for literature lovers, with an expansive collection of books available to browse in a welcoming space. This valuable local resource has anything that you may want to read - from gardening, to sport, to classic fiction. The store engages with its community by hosting children’s events popular with families as well as author events for adults too. With an overall score of 4.67 out of 5, this delightful spot is surely not one to miss on a London bookshop tour.

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  1. Aura Print performed an analysis on a number of bookstores rated 4 stars or higher, and the best stores were based on Yelp reviews, google reviews and “aesthetics”.

  2. The Yelp reviews for all bookstores in each city were scraped and analysed for containing keywords pertaining to being picturesque/aesthetic in order to narrow down the list of bookstores. Keywords=['Scenic','picturesque','Photogenic','Stunning','Idyllic','Charming','Quaint','Serene','Beautiful','Captivating','Dreamy', 'Enchanting','Lovely','Insta','Instagrammable', 'insta-worthy', 'insta worthy', 'hip', 'appealing','attractive', 'gem', 'hidden gem'].

  3. Only bookstores that had reviews referring to the keywords above were included. To improve classification, the Google reviews for each store on the list were obtained, and any bookstore not reviewed on Google was omitted from the final list and ranking.

  4. A weighted average of Yelp reviews and Google reviews was calculated for each store. The final score was ranked from the weighted average using: Score=Weight*Average Rating+1-Weight*Average Rating of All Stores. where the weight was given by: Number of Ratings of StoreNumber of Ratings of Stores +Average Number of Ratings of all stores.


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