Barter Books is probably the UK’s finest second-hand book shop (it’s certainly one of Europe’s largest). Set inside an old Victorian railway station in the town of Alnwick, it’s as quirky as it is cosy – and you can easily lose an afternoon there by one of its open log fires.
Where the railway tracks once clattered with trains, there now stand huge rows of bookshelves, and the station’s old waiting room – with its first-class lounge – is now a place to eat, The Station Buffet, brimming with original elegance. In truth, Barter Books is no ordinary book shop.
Picture open fires, soft sofas, a model railway flowing above your head leading you from one room to another, a children’s room with enough toys to allow parents and grandparents to browse elsewhere in peace and, of course, towering columns of books from all genres and eras. Added to that are three stunning 40-foot writer’s murals, a mini-cybercafé, free Wi-Fi and over forty glass cases containing some of the rarest and most interesting antiquarian books and memorabilia.
Step inside and you will be driven into a mad-eyed frenzy by the classics and moderns, the first and second editions, and you will lose, we kid you not, hours amongst the exhilarating dust covers.
- Open every day 9:00 – 7:00 (including Sundays and Bank Holidays, apart from Christmas Day)
- Buffet hours: 9:00 – 5:00 (last orders 5:00 and for hot Food 4:30)