Barter Books is one of the biggest antiquarian bookstores in the UK with a tremendous selection of books from antique to contemporary novels. The place is so big you could literally spend a half a day here easily, inside the building you will find the orginal waiting rooms with roaring fires and places to sit and browse the books, they do what their name suggests as well, you can take in used books and trade against new purchases.
Inside is the Station Buffet - Open every day except Christmas Day, 9:00-18:30. (Last orders for hot food is 18:00) The Station Buffet is owned and operated by Barter Books. The inviting ambiance includes an open fire in three of the rooms, while the menu specializes in the owners' own preference for comfort food at its best - all of which is home-made, using local produce whenever possible. This ranges from soups to bacon sandwiches and our own cutom made hotdogs to Northumbrian rarebit to baked goods to die for! Also on offer: barista coffee, teas, hot chocolate - and, yes, wine, too!
Back in April 1991, and in the face of a rather large overdraft, Mary Manley decided to open a secondhand bookshop - one that would be based on the swap system and called Barter Books. Her husband, Stuart, immediately took to the idea and suggested that Mary open the shop in the front room of what was then his small manufacturing plant, located in Alnwick's magnificent old Victorian railway station. From that time a joint partnership was formed that would eventually result in what the New Statesman magazine would call 'The British Library of secondhand bookshops'.
Open all year
With Disabled Toilet
Well worth a visit
We visited on a cold day in February after rain and before lunch, so the place was very busy with customers and browsers and lunch seekers. The books are mostly laid out in categories, but then there are more special books all round the outside walls mostly in glass cases, where you would need to ask a staff member to help you. Ideally, you might spend quite some time just wandering round to see what takes your fancy, and there is no pressure to buy so you might just sit and read a few pages before deciding to buy. The prices I would say seem to be around half new price although rarity and availability influence this. The food available was served in generous quantities although getting a table to sit down to eat involves loitering wherever you think people might leave soon, no formal queuing system here. You can take dogs in here, which is great
Lindy R, Lond
Magical book shop! Took two bags of books to exchange, sat and had a delicious breakfast in the cafe next to a roaring fire, then spent the generous credit we received. Wonderful way to spend a rainy morning!
Book shop day out!
Yet again we have had a lovely day at Barter Books. My two young children (2 & 6 year old), husband and I love it here. Kids get to play and read their books whilst my husband and I take it in turns to go book shopping. They have lots to choose from. We are from out of the area but come back once a year to bring our books back to sell and buy others. Always a good deal! Don’t miss out and also try the cakes! Lovely adventure to pass a few hours!
wdw47, Linlithgow, United Kingdom
Visited this bookshop after reading about it online. Marvellous e perience, and easy to spend several hours browsing, reading (and eating and drinking in the cafe!).
Best bookshop in the land.
Mellow93, Palm Springs, California
Fantastic selection of books, knowledgeable staff, great relaxing areas to read, and a fantastic cafe, all set in a brilliant building.