Okay, so we haven’t taken out the tape measure or anything. But Heron Books – hidden inside of The Clifton Arcade – definitely has a claim to be named ‘Bristol’s smallest bookshop’. Whether it is or not doesn’t matter, however, as it packs wall-to-wall bookshelves into its tiny space.
Clifton’s only independent bookshop stocks everything from literary classics to buzzy BookTok reads, alongside history, children’s books, poetry, biography and so much more – over 4,000 books, in fact. So you’ll never come away empty-handed after a visit to Heron Books. Regular book clubs, poetry readings and one-off author events have also put it on Bristol’s literary map.
Bristol is blessed with countless incredible independent bookshops. But only Heron Books was recently named among the best bookshops in the UK. That’s according to The Times’ 12 of the UK’s best independent bookshops, as chosen by its readers. Quite the feat when you consider the Clifton spot only opened in 2022.
“We’re not short of wonderful independent bookshops in Bristol but since Heron Books opened in Bristol something magical has appeared in the mix,” said Bob Walton. “It is easily the smallest bookshop imaginable (in a beautiful Victorian arcade) but that doesn’t stop the owner, Lizzie, assisted by Josh and Harry, packing it with a huge range of diverse and up-to-date titles.
“There is a large section for children that shows their belief in young readers, a brilliant ordering service, great warmth, knowledge and humour in conversation, and lots of events where they somehow shoehorn audiences of 25 into their little box of wonders. They even wrap your orders in brown paper tied with string and stamped with the Heron logo. So many of us feel that it has become our home-from-home.”
And there’s nothing there we don’t agree with! As a much-needed hub for the book lovers of Clifton, we only see the bookshop continuing to flourish. Whether you’re after a recommendation, someone to obsessively talk books to, or meet like-minded readers, make Heron Books you’re next visit. To learn more head to their website here.