Historically a stronghold for artists and writers, Cornwall is synonymous with award-winning authors and literary landscapes. While you’re on holiday, ditch the Kindle and online bookshops, and take the time to scour the shelves of one of these independent bookshops.
Whether the latest releases or timeless classics are on your reading list, you’ll find tomes for every taste – from the best-selling fiction set on rugged Cornish shores, to nature titles that bring the landscapes to life.
The bustle of the quayside, briny air infused with pasties and seafood, a star-studded culinary scene and eye-popping scenery flecked with heritage… it’s no wonder that Padstow has inspired writers to etch its character into page-turners. Dip into the town’s bookshop and you can find titles that take you to the shoreline where the salty breeze licks your cheeks – whether you’re deep in Daisy Darker’s latest murder mystery, or witnessing this seaside abode through the eyes of Fern Britton.
Once voted the best independent bookshop in Cornwall by locals, The Wadebridge Bookshop is the beating heart of a vibrant literary community in and around Padstow and Wadebridge. Specialising in local authors, books in the Cornish language and publications that highlight the heritage of the South West, many of the titles will take you under the skin of the Cornish landscape and culture, without having to leave the comfort of your armchair.
Once home to the region’s best-known author, Daphne du Maurier, Fowey is entrenched in the literary heritage of Cornwall – with a vibrant annual festival to celebrate its author connections and creative scene. Staying true to the town’s literary roots, Shrew Books endeavours to promote local writers and artists wherever possible, with a carefully curated range of titles flagging up Cornish writers and settings, as well as a strong contingent of nature writing, alongside classic titles and modern fiction.
Ranked one of the leading booksellers in the country, Falmouth Bookseller packs diversity, local interest and international award-winners into its small interior on the cobbled streets of Falmouth. Spotlighting local authors and supporting emerging talent with regular events and signings, there’s a huge range of books bringing Cornwall to life; from children’s picture books to contemporary Cornish fiction, as well as monthly picks from the passionate staff.
Despite being one of Britain’s smallest bookshops, St Ives Bookseller is stacked with a huge variety of titles, from timeless classics to new releases and local tomes. A pebble’s throw from the bustling harbour, it’s little surprise that many of the recommended reads are inspired by Cornwall – from fiction set in iconic Cornish landscapes, to real-life tales of sea farers and adventurers that have found inspiration on our shores.
Quirky, independent and a treasure trove of tomes for all tastes, The Edge of the World Bookshop is everything a bookshop should be. At the heart of a creative community in the far west of Cornwall, this part of the county has inspired many literary greats including local resident Patrick Gale. Continuing to support and inspire the literary community, as well as having its shelves stacked high and staff on hand to recommend titles, there are regular author nights, recently featuring Raynor Winn, scribe of bestseller, The Salt Path.
Half a century ago, Rae Thorn opened the doors of an independent book store after struggling to source books for her daughter whilst living in Bude. Having diversified from just words to an emporium of books, cards and gifts, Spencer Thorn has remained true to its bookshop roots, sourcing rare titles and regional interest books, alongside new releases and best sellers. A step away from the beach, you’ll find a decent range of non-fiction and fiction titles that bring Bude’s landscape to life.
Dip into Cornwall’s best bookshops on your holiday and discover the landscapes and literary talent of the South West. Whether you plump for local interest or the latest fiction title, hunker down in your holiday cottage and let the scenes of Cornwall come to life in words. Browse our collection of holiday cottages in and around Padstow and find the perfect pad for your next literary adventure.
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