For a true explorer, there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as relaxing in a comfortable spot and reading the descriptive travel narratives of such masters of the craft as Bill Bryson, Frances Mayes, and Paul Theroux. The sights, sounds, and smells of the destinations seem to come alive in their vivid descriptions, transporting you along on their journeys–and inspiring you to take your own. If this describes you, make your next journey to the chic Marylebone neighborhood of London, where the best selection of travel books in Europe— and possibly the world — can be found at Daunt Books. A visit to this historic shop is always filled with discoveries, so bring along a travel-loving friend or two and take a journey of words and pictures without leaving the city.
Daunt Books has opened a handful of other locations around town, but none is quite as majestic as the Marylebone flagship. This literary Shangri-La opened in 1925 as an Edwardian bookshop, boasting long galleries with dominating windows and skylights to give customers plenty of light to read by. In 1990, James Daunt purchased the store and shifted its specialty to travel books. Today, Daunt Books plays host to numerous author readings and literary discussions, and has even ventured into the publishing field, putting out works of literary fiction and nonfiction that it sells in its stores.
The beautiful guidebooks, narratives, and phrase books have been arranged by destination, making it easy for you and your friends to stock up on all the necessary information before catching your flight. You’ll enter on the ground floor, where texts cover travel through Europe — but if you’re seeking insight on Ethiopia, Antarctica, India, or the rest of the world, head downstairs. No matter how remote and obscure the destination you seek may be, you’re certain to find it here.
Photo by Charlotte Gilhooly