1. Browsers Bookshop, Woodbridge, Suffolk
Housed in a listed building with a contemporary interior, Browsers is a relaxed, book-lover’s antidote to bland high-street chains. With a large stock of Suffolk and East Anglia literature, a café serving cakes baked using cookery books on sale, and Suffolk’s only children’s bookshop Young Browsers Bookshop nearby, it’s well worth a visit.
2. Diss Publishing Bookshop, Diss, Norfolk
The locally run Diss Publishing, established in 1864, offers a large variety of books, a warm and friendly coffee shop, regular signings, talks, children’s activities and old-fashioned service where the customer always comes first.
3. Holt Bookshop, Holt, Norfolk
Opened by Stephen Fry in 2005, the Holt Bookshop is a popular haunt, stocking more than 12,000 books, including a variety of local interest titles and a children’s department. Named in The Independent’s 50 Best Bookshops for the last two years, the store has knowledgeable staff and hosts author events, literary lunches and sessions for the annual Holt Festival. It also proudly offers the full range of Persephone Books of neglected 20th century work – the only bookshop to do so in the country.
4. Jarrold’s Book Department, Norwich, Norfolk
The award-winning book department in independent department store Jarrold’s houses over 40,000 titles from autobiographies, cookbooks and travel guides to course books, local interest literature and children's titles. They also host a book club on the first Tuesday of the month and the annual EDP-Jarrold East Anglian Book Awards that celebrate literary works with a local flavour.
5. The Book Hive, Norwich, Norfolk
A charming bookshop located in the quaint Norwich Lanes, The Book Hive offers quirky and hard-to-find fiction, poetry, cookery, art and design, and children’s titles in a visually engaging space. The shop’s numerous events include live literary sessions, cookery classes, coffee tastings, record launches and exhibitions of local artists’ work, whilst its accolades range from The Daily Telegraph’s Best Small Bookshop 2011 to featuring in The Independent’s Top 50 Bookshops.
6. Wivenhoe Bookshop, Essex
Located in a 17th century clapboard building, the Wivenhoe Bookshop is more than just a bookshop; with experienced and friendly staff and a full programme of events for writers, readers, knitters and philosophers it is a cultural centre for the local community. Join Saturday morning philosophy breakfasts, monthly reading group, creative writing and reading workshops or browse the tiny Over-the-Sofa Gallery.
7. Landers Bookshop, Long Melford, Suffolk
Established in Long Melford for more than 20 years, Landers has a well-stocked children's section, a good selection of local interest books and maps as well as a speedy order service for items not in stock. Maisy, the friendly West Highland terrier, works in the shop most days and is described as “a crucial member of the team.”
8. Red Lion Books, Colchester, Essex
The award-winning, welcoming Red Lion Books houses thousands of handpicked titles, specialising in science fiction/fantasy titles and local books. Those with an interest in writing can develop their skills at short story writing and novel writing courses, meanwhile visitors with broader literary interests should make the most of author events, a book club, children’s activities and art exhibitions.
9. The Aldeburgh Bookshop
In business for over 60 years, The Aldeburgh Bookshop won Independent Bookshop of the Year Award at The British Book Awards 2005 and has been included in the Independent's list of 50 Best Bookshops in 2008 and 2010. Don’t miss their Open House Book Club on the first Monday of each month and the 12th annual Aldeburgh Literary Festival from 1st– 3rd March.
10. Toppings Company Booksellers of Ely, Cambridgeshire
Toppings is a vibrant independent bookshop that stocks over 43,000 classic and new books of all genres. The shop boasts a fantastic year-round events programme that includes events with celebrity publishers, author talks and signings, and reading groups. Staff are patient, knowledgeable and helpful, and hot drinks are plentiful.
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