By Rachel Bronnert, Second Year English
Bristol is a bustling city and full to the brim with great shops which cater to all sorts of different quirks and needs. Although arguably, something Bristol does particularly well is bookshops. Whether that’s a chain or independent store, fiction, or non-fiction, second hand or new, there’s something for everyone.
As it is advent season, this article will round up and recommend some of Bristol’s best bookshops which could be perfect to browse in for some Christmas gifts to treat yourself or your loved ones before heading home for the holidays.
All over the city there are plenty of amazing charity shops which sell second hand pre-loved books. If you have a lot of people to buy for or you’re on the verge of entering your overdraft, these places help to keep things budget friendly.
The first place to consider is slightly out of city centre and cosied away to the left of Victoria Square. On Clifton Road, Clifton Community Bookshop has a great range of cheap books and a small intimate feel to it. It is within two minutes walking distance of the student’s union and near to Clifton Village, so if you’re in the area it’s definitely worth a stop. It’s open from 1-5pm (not on Mondays) and its entirely run by volunteers who want to provide a space for their community.
Following along on this theme of pre-loved books, the Oxfam shops in Clifton, Cotham and on Queen’s Road all have a range of second-hand items for reasonable prices as well. So, if you’re shopping on a budget before Christmas, these are all great options too. Along Whiteladies’ Road there is British Heart Foundation Books and Music, another great option to support. Whilst in Bishopston there is the Amnesty Bookshop who support Amnesty International, who also sell CDs, DVDs and vinyl. There are many more great charity shops not listed here, these are just a few places to start if the range of options feels slightly overwhelming!
It would truly be a crime not to give The Last Bookshop a shout out. Situated about halfway down Park Street and open daily from nine-thirty until six-thirty, brand new books here are only four pounds each. They sell a range of interesting stock that differs from the usual selection in your bog-standard Waterstones. If the person you’re buying for is interested in classic literature they have a big range here, as well as a reasonable non-fiction section and some different fiction pieces too. There is also a selection of vintage posters if you’re looking for room decorations alongside some new reading material.
Moving on to chain bookshops there are a couple of Waterstones located around Bristol depending on where you are based. In Clifton village there is a smaller store on Regent Street, whilst in The Galleries there is a bigger one with a café, multiple floors and more range of genres. So if you have some specific or more niche books in mind, this is one of the biggest bookshops in the area and potentially your best bet. Although, Foyles is another good option in Cabot Circus.
This is by no means an expansive list, but hopefully it has given you some inspiration to check out some new places no matter where you are living or what budget you have.
Good luck with your gift buying and Merry Christmas everyone!
Featured Image: Courtesy of Rachel Bronnert
What's your favourite Bristol bookshop?