West End Lane Books

Location: West End Lane, West Hampstead, London
Website: welbooks.co.uk/
Services: Bookseller
What I bought: The Light in the Dark – A Winter Journal by Horatio Clare, and As Far As the Stars by Virginia Macgregor

West End Lane Books is an independent London book shop that is a two-minute walk from West Hampstead underground on the Jubilee line.

I came across the book shop on Twitter (their feed is a cheerful delight) and quickly added it to my list of book shops to be visited. On stepping through their doors, you are immediately greeted by… goldfish! Needless to say, I was sold on this place very quickly.

West End Lane Books has this year celebrated its 25th anniversary which is a fantastic achievement and testament to their hard work, dedication and excellent customer service. As I was browsing the shelves, Kim was helping a customer who was new to the area to find some fresh reading material, before providing another customer who had forgotten their phone with pen and paper to scribble down book titles. The little, personal touches make a big difference.

As with many independent book shops, they are operating in a small space and there are books packed to the rafters. There is a wonderful children’s section with soft toys and room to play, and a huge range of reading material to encourage and challenge young minds.

Sometimes I visit book shops with a specific purchase in mind, but on this day I was happy to see what I was drawn to. Having really felt the effects of winter, I picked up a copy of Horatio Clare’s The Light in the Dark – A Winter Journal which finds beauty in the darkness of the season.

I also picked up Virginia Macgregor’s As Far As The Stars, intrigued by the premise of two central characters embarking on a road trip when a plane goes missing. I can’t lie that I also saw Clare Mackintosh’s cover quote, ‘I defy you not to fall in love’ as a challenge! You can read my review of As Far As The Stars in my blog section.

You can follow West End Lane Books on Twitter (@WELBooks) and Instagram (westendlanebooks) and better still visit them at NW6 1QS.