The South Bank Book Market is a daily feature underneath Waterloo Bridge, whatever the weather. Featuring tables heaving with books piled into boxes, the book market is as much a part of the identity of the South Bank, as the magnificent BFI building opposite, or the rich heritage of the Southbank Centre nearby.
Whether you’re a keen book lover or someone who can’t resist a great bargain, a visit to the South Bank book market will always turn up a few surprising treasures. Read on to find out more about this well-loved gem in the capital.
It’s a charming spot beside the river
One of the loveliest things about the South Bank is the great views over the river, with St Paul’s dome emerging in the distance, as well as the rest of the magnificent London skyline. The book market, whilst being tucked away under Waterloo Bridge, is a perfect complement to the romance of the surroundings, reminiscent of the famous book markets in Paris’ Left Bank, along the Seine river.
Wherever you are in London, it’s easy enough to get to. If you’re staying in hotels Near Paddington Station, make your way to Embankment Tube Station and cross over the Golden Jubilee Footbridge towards the Southbank Centre, whilst taking in the stunning panoramic views over the capital. Alternatively, you can also make your way there from Temple or Waterloo stations, from which the market is just a short walk away.
There are all kinds of gems to pick up there
The book market has a rich variety of items, so there will always be something for everyone. If you’re a keen lover of antiquarian books, arrive early after it opens, to have ample time to scour through the collections to find all kinds of rare and collectable items. The market also often has a range of vintage prints and maps, adding to the likelihood of turning up with something special for your collection.
If you just enjoy a good rummage and like bargain hunting, then there is plenty of that to enjoy too. You’ll find some excellently low priced paperbacks, including lots of classic authors and more obscure titles, as well as ample copies of popular contemporary novels. It’s the ideal spot to pick up a fun read to enjoy on your trip without having to spend a lot of money, while you relax in coffee shops or bars Near Hyde Park later on.
For those who love to buy books as gifts, the market also has plenty to offer. With a diverse selection of titles, including children’s books, thrillers and classical literature, you won’t find it too hard to find the perfect present for a book worm friend. With plenty of convenient accommodation Hyde Park London, it’s definitely a place to add to your list.
It’s the perfect place on a rainy day
If you don’t want to be cooped up inside a museum or your hotel room on a rainy day in London, a visit to the South Bank book market is a great alternative, especially if you’re staying in hotels Near Paddington Station.
You can still enjoy the feeling of being outdoors, whilst getting to enjoy the cosiness of being dry beneath the bridge, with the market easy to get to via the Tube.
Make sure you get yourself a warming drink from one of the nearby coffee shops or some delicious toasted nuts from a local seller. They’re the perfect snack to enjoy while you browse through the hundreds of books on offer. Best of all, with the relaxed and laid back atmosphere of the market, you don’t need to worry about being hassled by any market sellers, and can enjoy browsing at your own pace.
It’s an iconic part of the city
London has always been home to hundreds of fantastic independent book shops and second hand book sellers, but the increasingly online nature of retail, as well as the dominance of multinational online stores and e-books has definitely had an impact on the book industry. While you’ll still find a good variety of bookshops in the capital, it is an area that has certainly felt the pinch of competition.
This makes the South Bank book market an even more precious and beloved part of London, and a great piece of history to explore when you stay in accommodation Hyde Park London. Discover the wonder and simple joy of browsing through old paperbacks, rare gems from all over the world, and fun and unusual books, comics and more.
There’s plenty to see and do around the area
As well as the fantastic book market, the South Bank is in itself a diverse and culturally rich area, and there is plenty to experience and do while you’re there. Head to the Southbank Centre or the neighbouring Hayward Gallery, where you can catch a stunning contemporary art exhibition, or enjoy a thought provoking event, talk, or live music performance inside the venue.
For those who love good theatre, the National Theatre is just around the corner, with a schedule of award-winning plays starring some of the most talented actors, on all year. If film is more your cup of tea, then the BFI is a hard place to beat, when it comes to showcasing great cinema.
Beyond the arts and culture, there is also fun and pleasure to experience here. The thrill of the Southbank skate park radiates well beyond the skaters themselves, although anyone can have a go in this unofficial skate space. If you don’t feel up to showing off tricks on a board yourself, you can still have a great time watching the seasoned experts work their magic instead.
Afterwards, be sure to explore the diverse range of food and drink spots around the area too, from the regular food market that sets up shop nearby, to the stretch of excellent cafés, bars and restaurants serving up a delicious variety of dishes, snacks and drinks.