We might have some writer’s bias here, but we think bookshops are simply the best places in the world. Often cosy and warm – full of knowledge about our world and stories of worlds beyond – they offer an escape from the drudge of day-to-day life. Whether your after Lee Child-like crime thrillers or romance novels in the image of Jane Austen, maybe just a play of collection of poetry, your local bookstore should be your best friend. We’ll probably buy more books than we read from these brilliant independent bookshops in Bristol.
Those south of the river have limited options when it comes to bookshops in Bristol. But Storysmith. Here you’ll find a tightly curated range of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books – so you’ll always find something surprising and special when browsing. Storysmith also serves coffee, so relax and browse to your heart’s content. Regular events with contemporary writers make this Bristol bookstore a visit wherever you live in the city.
236 North St, Southville, Bristol BS3 1JD
There’s a strong focus on politics – particularly left-leaning politics – at Bookhaus. But you’ll discover everything from cookbooks to sci-fi, contemporary novelists and independent presses to literary classics too. Based in Wapping Wharf, Bookhaus “reflects Bristol’s tradition as a centre of radicalism.” Expect regular events like book launches, panel discussions and reading groups.
Unit 4, Rope Walk, Bristol BS1 6ZJ
3. Arnolfini Bookshop
A bit more specialist, this bookshop can be found inside Anolfini – one of Bristol’s best art galleries. Its stock is an extension of the cutting-edge and contemporary art found in the gallery. Bound to inspire your inner artist. Treat yourself to titles on art, artists, cultural movements, craft and history, as well as magazines and coffee table classics.
16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA
4. The Last Bookshop
For Bristol’s cheapest bookstore (which isn’t secondhand) head to The Last Bookshop on Park Street. Every book here costs £4 or less. But why so cheap you ask? The Last Bookshop specialises in buying up book returns, remainders, and samples before the pulpers step in. You won’t get quite the latest bestsellers, but you will find lots of modern classics, as well as some rare gems. Its bright orange exterior means you won’t miss it either! Learn more about this Bristol bookshop here.
60 Park St, Bristol BS1 5JN
5. Clifton Community Bookshop
Community is key at Clifton Community Bookshop. From yoga classes to book clubs, and music gigs to weekly talks, there’s so much more going on at this volunteer-run bookstore than selling books. But that’s still a key component. It sells lots of low-cost secondhand books to the local people of Clifton. Paperbacks sold at £2, hardbacks at £3, while collectables may vary in price.
10 Clifton Rd, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1AF
6. The Good Book Shop
This tiny, yet cute, bookshop in East Bristol shines the spotlight on under-represented, feminist and radical writers. At The Good Book Shop stock is carefully curated and arranged into themes, such as Cities, Modern Love and Possibilities to help you discover something new. Owners Cat and Carla also offer a book subscription service. They will hand-pick a book from the best in contemporary fiction and non-fiction every month. Now doesn’t that sound good?
264 Church Rd, Bristol BS5 8AF
7. Dreadnought Books
The reason we love Dreadnought Books is that it pretty much feels like our dream living room. Wall-to-wall bookshelves, filled with eclectic old books (don’t you love that smell?) and a comfy settee to browse them from. You’ll even find a cuddly cat running around too! There aren’t many independent second-hand bookshops in the world left like Dreadnought Books.
125 St George’s Rd, Bristol BS1 5UW
8. Gloucester Road Books
On Gloucester Road, you’ll find the creatively titled Gloucester Road Books. But inside is where the real creative juices flow. There’s a significant focus on titles published by small independent presses. And some of the subject sections are designed “to encourage people to browse as broadly as possible.” Time and Place, for example, covers History, Travel Literature, Geography and Reportage. You’ll find plenty of the great books you’ll find in any other good bookshop too, however, as well as lots of regular events.
184 Gloucester Rd, Bishopston, Bristol BS7 8NU
9. Heron Books
Tucked into The Clifton Arcade, Heron Books is likely Bristol’s smallest bookshop. It’s also Clifton’s only independent bookshop too, so a godsend if you’re ever in this part of the city in need of a good book. (And, with its lovely green spaces and stunning views, you will.) The shop stocks a range of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books, with almost 4000 books carefully crammed into the cosy space. So you’re bound to find something you will cherish.
Unit 5, The Clifton Arcade, Boyce’s Avenue, Bristol, BS8 4AA
Here is both an art gallery and a bookshop – specialising in “illustrated paper goods”. The Stokes Croft bookshop has everything from art books to graphic novels, indie comics and magazines, as well as a collection of cards and prints. It’s a quirky shop full of unique gift ideas for loved ones (or yourself).
108 b Stokes Croft, St Paul’s, Bristol BS1 3RU