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  • Writer's pictureLynne McConway

3 hidden bookshops in Camden, London

It's easy to miss these gems in amongst the bustle of Camden

View of a canal and lock from a bridge with people on a bridge in the background
Camden Lock, London

Camden Market is one of the most exciting places to visit in London, especially at weekends when the streets are packed with tourists and locals alike.

Centred around the famous market, there's a huge variety of food, shopping and music and, relatively hidden away, two of the three excellent bookshops you should make sure to visit, especially if you need a breather from the crowds.

Boom Cat Books, Camden

70 Camden Lock Place

A woman browses a box of books on a green table outside a black-fronted bookshop in Camden, London
Emily browsing at Boom Cat Books

On the ground floor of Camden Lock Place, black-fronted Boom Cat Books is an

independent bookshop selling new and

second-hand books just a few metres from the canal path.

Browse the boxes of modern classics outside (as Emily demonstrates beautifully) before entering this large treasure trove of genres.

Unsurprisingly given the Camden location, there's a section dedicated to culture with arts and music well served. There are also large science fiction and fantasy sections as well as classics, history and philosophy. There's even space for a children's section.

Interior of book shop with central island and tall bookcases full of books
Boom Cat Books

Walden Books, Camden

38 Harmood Street

The front of book store with bookcases of books outside
Walden Books

Leaving the hustle and bustle of Camden

Lock behind, take a 10-minute stroll down

Harmood St, a beautifully leafy Victorian

terrace street, to arrive at the wonderfully atmospheric Walden Books.

This independent bookshop has been here for more than 30 years and specialises in used and rare books, particularly literature and the visual arts.

Outside, the forecourt is packed with reasonably priced paperbacks in several bookcases. I spotted art hardbacks, foreign language books and study guides too.

Two bookcases of paperbacks
Bookcase outside Walden Books

Make sure you peek inside so you don't miss the fascinating wall of leather-bound antique books, locked away behind glass doors.

The shop is only open from Thursday to Sunday 10.30-6.30, so no early week browsing!

Word On The Water

Regent's Canal towpath

A leisurely 20-minute walk along the towpath from Camden towards King's Cross brings you to the admittedly not-very-hidden Word On The Water.

Plant pots on the canal path outside the barge
Word On The Water book barge

An Instagram favourite, this quirky bookshop is a barge moored on the canal just before Granary Square. With crates of books outside on the barge and lots of comfy spots inside for lounging, it's a tranquil spot to sit with your new purchase.

Shelved of classic books
Classics at Word On The Water

Genres include fiction, poetry, classics and there are good children's and secondhand options too.

I'm pretty sure my visit to Word On The Water is the only time I've felt the sway of water as I've browsed the shelves of a bookshop!

Interior of barge bookshop with shelves of books
Word On The Water

I hope you enjoy visiting Camden and these idiosyncratic bookshops. Let me know if you do visit and what you bought!


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