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
A treasure trove of literature
Tony S, Nottingham, United Kingdom
This place is completely packed out with second-hand books. Sofas are provided along with coffee and a lovely open fire. Books are pretty well categorised although the fiction paperbacks seem to be spread around everywhere. A large model train runs around the place on top of the bookshelves, appropriate as the shop totally takes over the old Alnwick Station building. Good prices on books makes this a great place to visit.
Wow, where do I start? Well, this is probably the largest book shop I have ever visited. I felt a little overwhelmed when I first went in it was so large! In addition the endless book shelves, there was also a small children's area, a model train making its way round the top of the shelves near the till, a real fire, a cafe and water for dogs (yes it was dog friendly - big thumbs up from me). This is every bibliophile's dream. I only took 1 'star' off because unfortunately we went in on a Saturday and there was no space in the cafe so we missed out on cake (though went back the next day and I can recommend the enormous shortbread biscuits!).
Unique amongst bookshops
Alison D, Norfolk, United Kingdom
Always visit Barter Books when in Alnwick and it never fails to impress. It's an amazing use of an old railway station and the roaring fires in the cafes (former waiting rooms) never cease to surprise me. Just love the train set too. The book staff are unfailingly helpful and knowledgeable and the cafe staff are lovely too. Great place to wile away several hours and the food is always good (tremendous strawberry scone!). Dog friendly too.
Wow what a place
applegate69, Bath, United Kingdom
Really unique place based in the old railway station. Thousands of second hand books and a nice food we shop come cafe. Don't miss it.
Go out of your way to come here!
davidthomas4085, Driffield, United Kingdom
Heard about Barter Books so made a special trip and was not let down. Coal fires warming the place, toy train trundling around and a fabulous selection of books ( I bought 4 in all). Sat in the old waiting room and had a really tasty lunch; hot roast beef sandwich. Dogs v welcome. Parking not ideal as quite right to get in and out. Plenty of parking in town of nearby instead. A must do!!!!!