Bookshop Post: Foyles of London

A favourite place to be for a Book Fairy is a good bookshop. So, some of us wrote a little piece about our favourites! Here is Zarina’s post about Foyles, a renowned, even legendary award-winning independent bookstore with a long history

My Favourite Bookshop: Foyles on Charing Cross Road

By London book fairy Zarina de Ruiter

Imagine walking into a shop and the first thing you see if the text “Welcome book lover, you are among friends”, followed by floors upon floors of beautiful books. That is Foyles on London’s Charing Cross Road.

I visited London for the first time in 2006, so while Foyles and I don’t go back a lifetime (despite the flagship store gracing Charing Cross Road in one form or another for over a century now) it certainly feels like it. I made a special journey to the shop on my first visit to the capital and every trip since. And when I came to live in London myself in 2010 it became a fixture in my wanders through the West End – even increasing when I worked just around the corner on New Oxford Street and I made regular lunchtime trips to get my Foyles-fix.

Throughout the years I’ve not only spent many a paycheck in there after browsing the store for hours and coming across new hidden gems (of particular excitement was the discovery of a whole range of the Folio Society classics, including display copies which makes it so much easier to decide which ones to get), but I’ve also come to associate the shop for their unrivaled literary events and have met many fantastic authors over the years in the Gallery, such as Rachel Caine and Maggie Stiefvater, and more recently in their much larger events area in new-Foyles (I will never stop calling that), such as the Quick Reads 10th Anniversary Event and the Bloomsbury New Writers’ Evening.

The staff members always make the events special and memorable by giving attendees unexpected goodies, dressing up for themed events (there was a particularly excellent one for Halloween a few years ago) and their sheer enthusiasm.

Just before the big store move to an even larger space a few doors down on Charing Cross Road in 2014, the old Foyles building had an insightful exhibition on the rich history of the bookshop and the Foyle family’s impressive influence on the bookselling market. Find a (very small) selection of my pictures from the exhibit below and perhaps you too will be inspired by the fascinating story behind this one-of-a-kind bookshop and fall in love with it like I did many years ago.

Link to select pictures:

You can also see a little piece on my instagram:

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