A VISIT TO BARTER BOOKS
I think this is the sort of place I dreamt of as a child
Alnwick’s Barter Books is the most magical place for book lovers and is somewhere I could happily pass a day (week/month) or two curled up in a chair devouring a book.
My husband had heard about Barter Books while watching an episode of Portillo’s travels around the UK and it is a must visit if you are in Northumberland. My sister (who lives in the North-East) was so enthused by our reports and pictures that she spent the entire day there at the first opportunity.
Barter books was opened by Mary Manley in 1991 and is now one of the largest second-hand bookshops in Britain. It is situated inside a Victorian railway station which is a beautiful building with so much character. Those with a particular interest in the station’s history and architecture can follow the Alnwick Station Walkabout ‘A self-guided historical tour.’ This gives a step-by step room by room description of the building.
There are books everywhere and comfortable chairs and sofas and fires and even a train running on tracks above your head. There are amazing quotes joining bookcase to bookcase and beautiful murals to enjoy.
The 3 murals were commissioned by the owners. They are – the “Famous Writers mural” (see who you can spot) – the “Railway mural” which consists of the names of railway workers who worked at the station between 1850 and 1968 and finally the “Tennyson Installation.” This was inspired by the work of artist Mark Handforth and contains the first lines of Tennyson’s poem ‘Crossing the bar.’ (source from the Barter books leaflet)
FOOD AND DRINK
There is a station buffet shop and we enjoyed a very tasty meal followed by a nice cuppa with some cake!
We absolutely loved spending time at Barter Books….what more could you ask for? Over 350,000 second hand books including some very rare (and expensive ones), WiFi, free parking and a station buffet? This is a very special place and if you are in Northumberland a must visit!
We plan to visit again in winter, choose a good book and curl up on one of their sofas, enjoy a warm fire and a hot chocolate from the station buffet. What better way to spend a winter’s day?
Barter Books is in Alnwick in beautiful Northumberland about 35 miles north of Newcastle. There are lots of things to see and do there. As well as visiting the bookshop you can visit Alnwick Gardens and Alnwick Castle.
We had a fantastic day driving up the coast visiting Seahouses, Bamburgh and Holy Island amongst others which you can read about “A drive up the Northumberland Coast”
If you are visiting the UK you may be interested to read some of my other posts
PIN FOR LATER – BARTER BOOKS
Sign up for my monthly (ish) newsletter which includes updates, anecdotes and lots of other stuff about travel!