Continuing our amble round London's independent bookshops
Just across the road from Books for Cooks on W11's Blenheim Crescent is The Travel Bookshop, a place to buy guidebooks, maps, fiction, history, biography about travel and... what's that now? The elephant over there, in the corner of the room? Ah, now that would be the hit romantic comedy motion picture Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. This particular shop was Richard Curtis's inspiration for Grant's, um, travel bookshop but no filming actually took place here, much to the disappointment of legions of tourists who turn up here in summer.
But we're here for the shop as it exists, not as depicted on the silver screen. It's a warm, inviting place, all oranges, creams and wood with natural light flooding into the back via a glass roof. There are plants dotted around the place (we think retail is sadly lacking in greenery) and the general ambience is of a faraway safari lodge. There should be the sound of crickets, not Portobello Road, and people clad in khaki relaxing with a cocktail, not browsing shelves.
Get caught up in the reverie and you'll find plenty to sate your wanderlust. You can completely read around your chosen destination and get a real feel for a place before you even arrive. There's also a hefty section on London so you can discover bits of your own city. And not a bumbling, floppy-fringed actor in sight.
The Travel Bookshop, 13-15 Blenheim Crescent, W11, map after the jump. Images author's own. Know a good bookshop? Let us know on tips (@) londonist.com.