“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.”– Roald Dahl
There’s nothing quite like getting lost in a good book. Actually, there is one thing better and that’s getting lost in a good bookshop. Fortunately, London is home to some incredible bookstores just for children. Spending an afternoon browsing for books is one of our favourite things to do in London with kids – especially on a rainy day!
Many of these are independent children’s bookshops with carefully curated collections designed to inspire, engage, entertain, inform and occasionally challenge young readers. Some of the best places even have reading nooks where kids can curl up with a new book while others host weekly events including author talks and storytelling sessions.
As for those bookshops listed below that aren’t 100 percent dedicated to children have been included because they have a very good children’s section.
If you have a book lover in the family then this list of the best children’s bookshops in London is for you!
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The best children’s bookshops in London
The Children’s Bookshop
Located in Muswell Hill in North London, the independent bookshop, the Children’s Bookshop is family-owned and a fabulous bookstore for kids. The shop has been going since 1974 so they’re obviously doing something right!
It’s not terribly big but its shelves are packed with a wide selection of kids’ books for all ages (including a good range for teens). The staff are very friendly and incredibly knowledgeable, always on hand to suggest new books and their recommendations are always spot on.
The Children’s Bookshop also holds regular events and book signings with visiting authors. We’ve met Cressida Cowell here, author of the How to Train Your Dragon series. Past authors have included Liz Pichon.
The Children’s Bookshop offer a subscription service for kids whereby an annual fee ensures that children receive a book through the post every month.
Address: The Children’s Bookshop, 29 Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill, N10 3HP
Closest tube: Highgate, followed by a bus.
Round Table Books
Round Table Books opened its door in 2019 with a mission to ensure that children see everyone represented in literature. Located in Brixton, south London, the bookshop started life as a pop up but was so successful that it quickly transformed into a permanent space. The shop showcases the work of underrepresented writers, illustrators and children with titles to suit all ages.
Address: 97 Granville Arcade, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8PS
Closest tube: Brixton
This is the oldest bookshop in not only London but in the UK, having been founded by John Hatchard in 1797. It has been located in the same building on Piccadilly, next to the iconic department store Fortnum & Mason, since 1801.
Today the bookstore is owned by Waterstones (it sits very close by to the Piccadilly branch) but still owns three Royal Warrants, meaning the the bookstores sells to members of the Royal Family. Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III was one of the bookshop’s first customers.
Hatchards does stock children’s books but really you’re coming here for the history!
Address: 187 Piccadilly, St. James’s, W1J 9LE
Closest tube: Piccadilly
Waterstones Gower Street
If you have child who likes Japanese Manga and Anime books then you should head for this huge Waterstones branch on Gower Street. The shop is home to the largest collection of Manga in the UK located on the first floor.
The shop also boasts a shop selling vinyl records downstairs as well as a small branch of Ryman’s, the stationery shop and a cafe. There’s also a very good children’s section.
Address: 82 Gower Street, London, WC1E 6EQ
Closest tube: Russell Square, Goodge Street, Euston Square and Warren Street
The Alligator’s Mouth
Families rave about the Alligator’s Mouth. Located in Richmond, the bookstore stocks everything from baby books to young adult novels. The shop itself is inspired by a Lemony Snicket quote: ‘A book is like an alligator’s mouth: if you see one open, you will probably disappear inside.’
The Alligator’s Mouth hosts events with children’s authors and illustrators and holds regular sessions including story time for 2- to 6-year-olds, a book club for 9- to 11-year-olds, a monthly comic club and a book club for teens.
The Alligator’s Mouth, 2a Church Court, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1JL
Closest train: Richmond station
This independent bookstore in West Dulwich is not a dedicated kids’ bookstore but it has an excellent children’s section at the back plus an inviting book nook where kids can settle down and flip through the latest titles. The bookshop runs Story Time sessions every Thursday and Saturday plus regular evening events with guest authors.
Address: 6 Croxted Road, West Dulwich, SE21 8SW
Closest tube: Brixton, followed by a bus. Use the Citymapper app to plan your journey.
Discover Children’s Story Centre
Located in Stratford, East London, is the Discover Children’s Story Centre where children are invited to enter a wonderful world of children’s books. With a focus on story building and imagination, there are two floors of ‘Story World’ where children can let their imaginations run wild in an immersive world of play. THere is also a Story Garden.
Regular exhibits take place at the centre too, dedicated to authors and illustrators. We’ve previously seen an exhibit themed around the works of Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson where kids could sit on the magical broom from the story Room on the Broom, step into the house from A Squash and A Squeeze and of course, meet the Gruffalo himself!
Regular storytelling sessions take place too. On the ground floor is a very good book store with a wide range of books aimed at children aged 0 – 11 years old.
Address: Discover Children’s Story Centre, 383-387 High Street, Stratford, E15 4QZ
Closest tube: Stratford
Tales on Moon Lane Children’s Bookshop
Tales on Moon Lane is a beautiful bookshop that kids just love. Located in Herne Hill, the exterior is painted to resemble a circus tent and the interior is equally magical.
It’s very well stocked with books for toddlers, young children and young adults, and the knowledgeable staff are on hand to help with recommendations. They hold wonderfully creative mini festivals during school holidays as well as regular author events and a weekly story time session for preschoolers.
The store has twice been awarded Children’s Bookseller of the year
Address: Tales on Moon Lane, 25 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, SE24 9JU
Closest train: Herne Hill station or Brixton tube station followed by a bus (plan your journey with the Citymapper app)
My preference is always to support independent bookstores but Waterstones Piccadilly definitely deserves a mention on this list. This is Europe’s largest bookshop offering a vast selection of tiles for adults and children of all ages. The children’s section is located on the second floor (there are five floors in total) and offers everything from bestsellers and Manga to fantasy, horror, science fiction and more. The staff on hand are very helpful too.
Waterstones Piccadilly is located opposite The Dilly hotel, home to one of London’s best afternoon teas.
Address: 203-206 Piccadilly, St. James’s, W1J 9HD
Closest tube: Piccadilly tube station (plan your journey with the Citymapper app)
Pickled Pepper Books
Another one of our favourite independent bookstores for kids in London is Pickled Pepper Books. Located in Crouch End, North London, this lovely bookshop has a carefully curated selection of books for kids of all ages.
What is particularly special about this place, however, is their theatre space.
Hidden away at the back of the bookshop, this cosy space is delightful and the setting for regular weekend small scale shows. Enjoy puppetry, poetry, storytelling and much more. Pickled Pepper also hosts regular events including author and illustrator visits, writing and drawing workshops and half-term activities.
Address: Pickled Pepper Books, 10 Middle Lane, Crouch End, N8 8PL
Closest tube: Archway, followed by a bus. Use the Citymapper app to plan your journey.
Kirkdale Bookshop in south east London is an independent bookstore that’s been selling new and second-hand books since 1966. Their children’s section sits at the back of the shop where author talks and book signings take place. For kids, their second hand book collection includes first editions of The Famous Five by Enid Blyton and Rupert Annual from 1946 among many others.
Address: 272 Kirkdale, SE26 4RS
Closest tube: Sydenham (overground).
Daunt Books is not a dedicated kids’ bookstore but it really is one of our favourites (and one of the best bookshops in London) so I had to include it here.
Daunt Books have various stores across London but it’s the original location in Marylebone, central London, that we all love. The bookshop is housed within a stunning building that had originally been built for antiquarian booksellers Francis Edwards in 1910. At the heart of the shop is a long, galleried main room with a beautiful arched window partly glazed with stained glass.
Daunt Books is primarily a shop for travel books and travel guides and the books are arranged by country – no matter whether they are fiction or nonfiction, biography, history, guide or novel.
The store also has a good children’s section with everything from beautifully illustrated books, picture books for babies, novels and more. The only downside is that the staff don’t always know the children’s books very well (we’ve had some great experiences and some not so helpful) but if the whole family wants to browse books then Daunt’s is a great place to come.
Daunt Books also run an annual subscription service for kids which is a great present idea. For an annual fee, children receive one book every month all packaged up. Kids can chat to staff in store to ensure that they receive books that they like.
Address: Daunt Books, 83 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4QW
Closest tube: Baker Street or Bond Street for the Marylebone branch
The Owl Bookshop
Located in Kentish Town is the independent bookstore The Owl, which is a firm favourite with locals. There’s a very good children’s section at the front of the shop with helpful staff on hand to offer advice and recommendation.
Address: 207-209 Kentish Town Rd, NW5 2JU
Closest tube: Kentish Town
There are seven Foyles bookshops across the UK but the most famous is its flagship store on Charing Cross Road. This branch of the popular book store is home to over 200,000 different titles displayed along four miles of shelves. They stock books on every subject imaginable and have a brilliant children’s section on the ground floor with a very good selection of books for teens too. There are benches for sitting and reviewing potential purchases too.
There is also a good cafe on site.
Address: 107 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DT
Closest tube: Tottenham Court Road followed by Leicester Square.