Monica Petrucci

Where History and Literature Meet: Barter Bookshop in England

Monica Petrucci

I took my very first trip to England last summer to visit my longtime friend and pen pal, Alex. Since she and I have similar interests—reading, writing and pleasing aesthetics—it was only fitting that she would introduce me to the coolest bookstore I’ve ever been to: Barter Books.

Located in Alnwick Station in Northumberland, Barter Books is a secondhand bookstore where over 350,000 books sit in a Victorian train station. It’s huge—spreading out among 8,000 square feet of original architecture. In addition to its overwhelming shelves of every genre you could imagine, there are also open fires during the chillier months, a café and a model railway running above the shelves.

As if this place wasn’t cool enough, Barter Books is also home to the original WWII-era “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster that started the worldwide trend. Today, they sell plenty of gift shop items, found in-store and online, inspired by the original poster.

If you ever find yourself in northern England, I strongly encourage making a trip to Barter Books. It’s an ideal, cozy place to sit down, have coffee and read for hours (or just admire the history surrounding you!).

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