Book Trail for the Lake District & Cumbria (south)

The Lake District (South) Book Trail

Every book-hound knows that across the country second-hand bookshops are a disappearing breed. The Lake District and Cumbia area is no exception. Whilst compiling this article I noticed that three shops listed in the 2008/09 Yellow Pages are no longer with us. If so many shops are going, it sort of follows that those still left must be doing something right. So, to save you visiting places that no longer exist and to help highlight the good points of those still here, I’ve put together a brief tour around the second-hand bookshops of the South Lakes that are still open. Happy hunting!

Kendal

the_lake_district_book_trail_bookworm.jpgKirkland Books, Colin Croft
Following the TV series about the famous Lakes author, there’s been a spate of book hunters trawling the area snapping up early copies of the pocket sized Wainwright guide books. If you’re hunting down or wanting to know anything about Wainwright Kirkland books this is the place to go. There’s also a carefully selected range of topography and local history titles worth perusing. Restricted opening hours

Windermere

Fireside Bookshop, 21 Victoria Street
You are on familiar ground here. A traditional old-fashioned family run bookshop with a cosy atmosphere, Fireside Books stock a wide mix of subjects including a good Americana section. Open seven days during the summer months.

Cartmel

Norman Kerr, The Gatehouse, Priest Lane
Kerrs specialise in books on the Lake District, Cumbria and Furness. They also stock an excellent choice of books on transport. This small shop packs in a well honed selection of serious books. Restricted opening hours

Grange-over-Sands

Daisyroots Book Centre, Main Street, Grange over Sands, LA11 6NA
Modern, light and well presented, Daisyroots are aiming to become the Waterstones of the second-hand book market. Books here are in either incredibly good condition or near mint; all at realistic prices. Subjects reflect high street tastes, plus a very good section on climbing and mountaineering, antiquarian, New Naturalists, transport, etc. They hold arguably the biggest selection of paperback fiction in the North West with many out of print titles. Daisyroots also run the UK’s first dedicated book recycling business and were High Street Champion finalists in the national “letsrecycle.com” Awards for Excellence in 2008. Open 6 days Winter 9.30am - 4.30pm, Summer 9.30am - 5pm

Carnforth

Carnforth Book Shop, 38-42 Market St
This famous bookshop has new books on the ground floor and second-hand books above. They boast over 100,000 second-hand books on three floors. The second-hand section feels a little tired now; but the enthusiastic hunter can still find some interesting bargains given time. Open 6 days

Sedbergh (a booktown?!!)

Dales & Lakes Book Centre, 72 Main Street
Now here’s a good idea. Lots of different specialist booksellers have rented book shelf space in the Tourist Information Centre of this aspiring book town. (I say ‘aspiring’ because it’s going to need many, many more booksellers prepared to hang their hat here before the concept really gets off the ground.) In spite of its multiple input, the Dales and Lakes Book Centre seems to offer a predominance of local history and natural history books but is redeemed with enough interesting rarities to make the shelves worth burrowing through. TIC opening hours

R F G Hollett & Son, 6 Finkle Street
The Rolls Royce of booksellers, the name Hollett is known throughout the kingdom, being synonymous with high quality and commensurate prices. Those able to move in the higher echelons of book collecting will of course remember to make an appointment before visiting. Not open to the public

Sleepy Elephant, 41 Main Street
This shop makes book browsing fun. You’ll find an eclectic, hectic mix of books and fabrics all cheek by jowl in a fairly tight space. I’m not sure the cool purity of classic embroidery books sits comfortably alongside the garish noisy offerings of an Oriental bazaar, but in an off-beat way this place really works. Open 7 days, 12 - 4 on Sundays

Westwood Books, Long Lane
These Hay-on-Wye booksellers really know what they are about and have put together a modern, retail experience in second-hand books. Well worth the effort to visit, Westwood’s put the books into ‘book-town’. Open 7 days 10.30 – 5pm