Bookish Kensington

A typical charity shop shelf.

‘Book Collection’ (c) 2006 Ian Wilson. Used under a Creative Commons license. (

Guests lodged at the hotel in Kensington I work in often have a very pertinent question for me: where should one go to find a good book in our fair Borough? These visitors have usually exhausted their reading options on the plane or train when travelling here, and are now in need of ‘brain food’ for their stay in London; being a reader and frequent traveller myself, I can understand their plight. Fortunately, there are more than a few locations across Kensington where one may find a good book.

The best option, of course, is to go to a charity shop. These delightful British inventions – well, I’m not sure if they were actually invented here, but I have seen them in very few other places in the world – can allow you to buy a nice romance novel or thriller for sometimes as little as 50p. Of course, their selection is limited to what they have at any given time, but you can usually find a good selection of popular bestsellers and classic works, to fit all tastes. Kensington has a number of these types of shops, but the Trinity Hospice one is particularly recommended, as it was selected in a Time Out article as one of the best in all of London – so make sure not to miss out on that one!

What’s best, by buying a book at one of these establishments, you will always, invariably, be contributing to a good cause. Whether it’s cancer research, heart disease, animal shelters or helping the needy, you can take your pick of what cause you think is the most worthy! I’ve been known to pop into one of the several establishments of this type dotted around the area, to buy a book for those less busy afternoons at my hotel in Kensington, and I generally like to ‘spread the wealth around’. There are just so many causes worth helping! Plus, as one of our major chains of supermarkets states, ‘every little helps’… So I like to do my part, and I strongly encourage visitors staying at my hotel in Kensington to visit these sorts of establishments as well!

Once you do get your book, however, I recommend that you reserve reading time for the evening, when you are back in your hotel room after a day of adventuring. Otherwise, there is so much to see and do in Kensington that you will barely have any time for reading!