Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland is one the largest second hand book shops in Europe and is described as the British Library of second-hand bookshops. Housed in the former Victorian Alnwick railway station, it is more than just a bookshop. As we walked through the doors, my father-in-law turned to me and said, "Look, Paula! You've died and gone to Heaven!" and he wasn't wrong! This place is amazing! An open fire and a Chesterfield sofa next to a coffee machine with an honesty box greet you near the entrance. My mother- and father-in-law took Alex off me and set up camp in this area so I could explore to my heart's content! Further in, you are greeted by a model train circulating on tracks above the bookshelves and lines of poetry connecting the book columns. There is a cafe in the shop as well, should you require further sustenance. And the books...oh the books! I was in my element!
The children's book area is fantastic, with lots of places for the children to curl up and read and toys for them to play with. Emma was rather taken with the wheelie bugs! We told the Podlings they could each choose a book and my small bibliophiles had a wonderful time deciding which one to pick. It was the most welcoming area for children and the Podlings loved it.
It is worth noting that the original 1939 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster that has become so famous was found in a box of books the owner of Barter Books bought at auction in 2000.
I, of course, was unable to restrict myself to just one purchase and it is probably telling that we were given a 10% bulk buying discount at the checkout! Barter Books is the warmest, most welcoming shop I have ever been in and has a wonderful atmosphere. Even dogs are welcome! I can't recommend it highly enough and I certainly can't wait to go back!
Can you spot the model train?
One of my little bookworms making the most of her time in Barter Books