From cosy cafés and second-hand havens, to boutique booksellers and children’s treasure troves, you’re spoilt for choice when hunting for a good read at one of Gloucestershire’s independent bookshops.
SoGlos has selected 16 of our favourite independent bookshops in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds, so you can pick up a great read and support a local business at the same time.
Cheltenham Rare Books
Specialising in rare, antique, signed and first edition books, Cheltenham Rare Books on Imperial Square is a bibliophile's dream. Its collection spans poetry, fiction, plays, crime, sci fi and fantasy, as well as private presses such as Cotswold Fine Press.
It's ideally located for anyone attending Cheltenham Literature Festival, too, as it's just a few moment's walk from the festival village in Montpellier Gardens.
Octavia's Bookshop in Cirencester
A winner of the ‘Best Children’s Independent Bookshop’ award, Octavia’s Bookshop in Cirencester specialises in children’s literature – with more than half of its stock dedicated to younger readers – in addition to a collection for adults, which includes bestsellers and reference books.
The shop’s ‘Book Spa package’ is certain to attract readers, offering Octavia’s personal book recommendations alongside sweet treats and hot drinks, all for £10 – with visiting authors, children’s book groups, birthday parties and plenty of Moomins, too!
Bookworm in Tewkesbury
An independent charity bookshop which stocks an impressive array of second-hand and antiquarian books, the aptly named Bookworm in Tewkesbury spans two floors of fiction and non-fiction books.
There are also a number of rare items and first editions to be found – which, to date, has included a coveted first edition of The Da Vinci Code. And for those looking to relax after scouring the shelves, there's also a cosy tearoom, too.
The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop in Tetbury and Nailsworth
Plus, the independent retailer also supports local schools by supplying books to classrooms, creating bespoke booklists for teachers, and organising book fairs.
Moss Books in Cheltenham
With a cornucopia of well-priced books literally lining the walls from floor to ceiling – and often spilling out onto the pavement outside – Moss Books in Cheltenham is a haven for dusty pre-loved items and bargain hunters.
Avid readers will be in their element scouring the shelves for a literary fix, with specialist sections on transport, history, art, music and topography, in addition to an eclectic mix of fiction and non-fiction items.
R&R Books in Stroud
Dating back to 1988, R&R Books in Stroud is an Aladdin’s cave of literary goodies, stocking a huge collection of second-hand titles and original ephemera, ranging from children’s fiction and poetry, to history, psychology and horror.
If you’re looking to add a DC or Marvel to your collection, the range of comics is impressive, too, with vintage magazines and memorabilia also providing novel gift items galore for fans of retro treasures.
Madhatter Bookshop in Burford
Welcoming readers into Wonderland, Madhatter Books is a unique independent bookshop located in the Cotswold town of Burford that also sells an impressive array of hats, made by some of the oldest milliners in the UK.
Book lovers can expect a fine selection of books, along with many by local authors. The owners are keen to share their love of reading with others and will happily recommend books, should you need some guidance.
Jaffé & Neale in Chipping Norton
Located just over the county border in Chipping Norton, Jaffé & Neale is a treat for literary savants searching for a new read – offering a wide range of titles over two floors, as well as a delicious café where you can delve straight into your new purchases.
The award-winning emporium offers a warm and welcoming environment for visitors to shop, read and relax. Plus, partnering with the annual Chipping Norton Literature Festival, the shop is also accustomed to welcoming acclaimed authors through its doors.
The Cleeve Bookshop in Bishop's Cleeve
The Cleeve Bookshop in Bishop's Cleeve, on the outskirts of Cheltenham, stocks a variety of bestselling books, as well as a selection of board games, jigsaw puzzles, greetings cards and gift wrap, ideal for picking up presents for the book lover in your life.
The charming shop also hosts author events, board game Saturdays, writing workshops and a poetry club, where budding authors and literary enthusiasts can get together and meet like-minded new friends.
Codex Books in Cirencester
Specialising in sci fi and fantasy fiction, Codex Books in Cirencester is the place to pick up everything from DC, Marvel and Star Wars graphic novels and Manga, to series like Game of Thrones and The Witcher; as well as works by iconic authors like Ian M. Banks, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Terry Pratchett.
It also offers a fantastic young adult collection, ideal for teen sci fi fans - and a collection of role-playing games.
Rossiter Books in Cheltenham
Rossiter Books, on Cheltenham's Rotunda Terrace, opened in March 2022, promising book lovers over 7,000 titles to browse and buy, as well as exciting author events throughout the year.
The Cheltenham store is ideally located for Literature Festival visitors, while the independent bookseller also has stores in Ross-on-Wye, Monmouth and Leominster, across the Gloucestershire border.
Alison's Bookshop in Tewkesbury
An independent Tewkesbury bookseller since 1999, Alison's Bookshop stocks a broad selection of books, alongside maps and local interest books, greetings cards, gift wrap, calendars, diaries, stationary and jigsaw puzzles - with the owner more than happy to provide recommendations based on what he's been reading recently.
For the musically minded, Alison's also sells a variety of classical CDs and sheet music, including piano exam pieces and choral works.
Borzoi Bookshop in Stow-on-the-Wold
Located in the centre of Stow-on-the-Wold, Borzoi Bookshop has been running for 40 years, with a team of avid readers in charge and a huge range of books to peruse. Named after the Borzoi dog breed, the bookshop welcomes readers' furry friends, too.
It also helps readers source unusual and specialist titles from small publishers and presses that aren't usually stocked elsewhere.
Books & Ink in Winchcombe
Open only by appointment, the exclusive Books & Ink in Winchcombe specialises in old and antiquarian books, ephemera, maps and prints. It is also known for helping bookworms track down elusive and out-of-print titles, as well as ordering in new books for its customers.
With over 25,000 titles from fairytales and folklore to collectible Penguin classics, this quaint Cotswold bookshop is a collector's dream.
Fireside Bookshop in Stroud
Fireside Bookshop is an independent, second-hand bookshop in Stroud town centre, just a short walk from the train station, with over 10,000 titles on offer in store and in its online collection.
Offering fiction, non-fiction, academic and antiquarian books spanning a huge variety of subjects, it's a must-visit for students and curious minds.
The Cotswold Book Room in Wotton-under-Edge
Having been open for more than 70 years, The Cotswold Book Room is a Wotton-under-Edge institution. The shop boasts a carefully curated selection of books, with owners Gideon and Cathy York more than happy to chat to customers to help them find the perfect book for themselves or as a gift.
There are new titles arriving all the time - and if you want more inspiration, there's a monthly book club, too, offering attendees 10 per cent off book club titles.