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4 Mar 2024

The British Book Awards has announced its shortlist for Independent Bookshop of the Year. 

4 Mar 2024

The ACT is happy to confirm the date for Local Bike Shop Day 2024 as Saturday 4 May, the weekend of the early May Bank Holiday.

4 Mar 2024

Research by global fintech company SumUp has revealed the best cities in the UK for independent businesses.

21 Feb 2024

The latest quarterly State of the Industry survey from the National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) shows that the recovery of the sector was slow and steady through 2023 and into January...

21 Feb 2024

The UK has voted for its favourite pun-based shop name, and 'Sew It Seams' - a clothing alteration store in Belfast - has been awarded the top spot. 

21 Feb 2024

Businesses in the Devon town of Ottery St Mary have praised their local council for initiatives designed to help support them and boost trade.

19 Feb 2024

A new ranking of the most popular independent coffee shops in the world has put three UK cafes in the top 10.

19 Feb 2024

Older people could be the financial shot in the arm needed for Britain’s high street, according to research commissioned by the University of Stirling. 

8 Feb 2024

The ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has celebrated the crucial role that rural shops play in thousands of communities across the UK in its 2024 Rural Shop Report.

8 Feb 2024

New research reveals that Apple Pay and contactless payments have overtaken cash payments by a landslide as our favourite ways to pay in-store.

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The Times names 12 of the UK’s best independent bookshops — as chosen by its readers.

Posted on in Business News

The Times has named 12 of the UK’s best independent bookshops — as chosen by its readers. Readers highlighted places that combined books with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Those that made the cut were:

Kemptown Bookshop


The Poetry Pharmacy, Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire

Reader Rachael Clyne from Glastonbury said the owners had  “worked hard to convert the historic ambience and features into a poetry hub, where they hold workshops as well as a café with drinks and cakes while you browse.”

Kemptown Bookshop, Brighton

Robert Hamberger from Brighton said:

“Since the new owner, Cathy Hayward, took over the long-established bookshop a couple of years ago, she and her friendly well-informed staff have rejuvenated it. Kemptown Bookshop is now one of the hubs of the area.”


Script Haven, Worcester

Michael W Thomas wrote that “this shop makes a point of promoting local writers and small presses alongside established names and imprints. It’s altogether a welcoming atmosphere, with tea, coffee and pastries: when you’ve visited once, you’ll certainly want to return.”


Voce Books, Birmingham

Owned and run by Clive and Maria Judd, Garrie Fletcher said that Voce is “incredibly supportive of independent publishers and proud to be based in the heart of the country in Birmingham.”


Heron Books, Bristol

Bob Walton commented:  “We’re not short of wonderful independent bookshops in Bristol but since Heron Books opened in 2022 something magical has appeared in the mix. It is easily the smallest bookshop imaginable (in a beautiful Victorian arcade) but that doesn’t stop the owners packing it with a huge range of diverse and up-to-date titles.”

David’s Bookshop, Letchworth

Started by the local Armitage family more than 60 years ago, this bookshop was named after their son, David. It comprises a bookshop, music store with popular vinyl and a café. 


Storytellers, Inc, St Anne’s on the Sea

Carolyn Hampton says that “they run book groups and author events, and there is always a book suggestion if needed and help with present buying if needed. All the best people love books.”


Wimbledon Books, London

Anthea Richardson wrote: “Wimbledon Books has been on the High Street in Wimbledon Village for decades. Staff are very friendly and knowledgeable, and orders arrive the next day. Why go online to receive books in a cardboard box from an overworked courier?”


Wave of Nostalgia, Haworth

“Wave of Nostalgia openly celebrates women and the LGBTQ community. Downstairs is the cellar, an intimate and welcoming space where many top authors come and read several times a month. It’s a lovely bookshop where reading and community are celebrated.”
Christine Sanders, West Yorkshire


Blue Bear Bookshop, Farnham

“The shop is friendly and welcoming, with an eclectic selection of books including a good children’s section. It offers coffee, tea and cakes — served in Polish china cups and plates. It is dog friendly too”.
Edward Sturges


Storey, Kelso

“I would defy anyone to go in there and not disappear down a rabbit hole of wonderful books and eclectic subject matter. This is what makes it a brilliant bookshop because it takes me out of the ordinary and makes me think.”
Caroline Roseman


High Peak Bookstore, Buxton

A derelict garage on a busy road has been transformed into a cavernous booklover’s paradise. Add in a busy programme of talks, comedy and quiz nights and other events, knowledgeable staff and tables of locally produced crafts. I think it could inspire even the most reluctant reader to find a book to enjoy.
Emily Woodhams-Beazeley


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