5 Wonderful Outdoor Bookshops to Visit This Summer

Bask in the warm summer weather by traveling to these endearing outdoor bookshops. From Paris to California, these destinations are essential for a bookish summer.

Book Culture Bookspot / Libraries Lifestyle Travel
woman browsing books

Do you want to bask in the warm, sunny weather but aren’t ready to put down your books? Here, I’ve gathered a list of the perfect destinations for all of you summer-loving bookish people to visit. These bookshops give you your reading fix without missing out on the great outdoors.

With online book shopping and e-reading, we sometimes forget how refreshing it is to roam around a bookstore. Similarly, our busy schedules often prevent us from enjoying outdoor strolls. Knock out two birds with one stone by reveling in the nostalgia of bookshops while breathing in the fresh outside air. Visit these unique outdoor bookshops this summer to combine your love of reading and outdoor activities.

Honesty Bookshop at Hay Castle in Hay-on-Wye, Wales

Hay-on-Wye is known as the “Town of Books,” which is very fitting as it contains this one-of-a-kind outdoor bookshop. Established in the 1960s, Honesty Bookshop is built against the Hay Castle, a medieval mansion constructed in the 17th century.

Honesty Bookshop at Hay Castle
IMAGE VIA THESHOPKEEPERS.COM

Shoppers can browse the books on these outdoor shelves and pay with cash by putting the money in the honesty box. Honesty Bookshop is pushing to advance its payment system by putting in a “tap and pay” method. This bookshop is not only quaint, but it mixes historic culture with modern ideas, giving customers an all-around unique book-shopping experience.

Brattle Book Shop in Boston, MA

Brattle Book Shop was founded in 1825 and has been owned by the Gloss family since 1949. There is no doubt that this charming shop has a rich history. Even more, it has an outside lot where you can purchase books without having to enter the building. The shop prides itself on carrying over 250,000 books, including first editions, collectibles, and leather bindings.

The outdoor section is surrounded by distressed brick walls, giving the area a beautiful and rustic feel. The walls provide sufficient shade to get a break from the sun without going inside. If you are in Boston this summer, I highly suggest swinging by Brattle Book Shop to browse their vast collection of novels during your walk through the city.

Barts Books in Ojai, California

This beautiful bookshop combines nature and novels with its botanical layout, giving it a reputation for being a “literary oasis.” Barts Books was established in 1964 as an outlet for book lovers to connect with the outdoors. It is considerably one of the largest outdoor bookshops in the world, with 130,000 used and new books.

Barts Books bookshop
IMAGE VIA BARTSBOOKSOJAI.COM

Not only will you find a wide range of fiction and nonfiction on their outside shelves, but you will also be surrounded by gorgeous palm trees and potted plants. California is known for its sweltering temperatures. Thankfully, the aisles are shaded, allowing your skin to take a rest from the beaming sun. Take a pit stop at Barts Books during your West Coast road trip.

South Bank Book Market in London, UK

Have you ever bought a book under a bridge? Probably not. This second-hand book market lies under Waterloo Bridge on Queen’s Walk. Although it is not a singular bookshop, this idea is just too cool not to show off to the bookish community.

South Bank Book Market
IMAGE VIA SOUTHBANK.LONDON

Locals bring their used books and set up tables under this bridge to sell to the public. Some of the traders have been selling their books at this market for over 40 years! Customers can browse through an assortment of books while overlooking the river running along the bridge. If this market doesn’t intrigue you, then I don’t know what will.

Les Bouquinistes in Paris, France

Located along the romantic Seine riverbanks, Les Bouquinistes is a market where around 226 booksellers trade their books. The market is considered a part of the Parisian landscape, being that it is a cultural attraction that intertwines literature with beautiful sightseeing.

Les Bouquinistes de Paris
IMAGE VIA FLICKR.COM

You will be in the heart of endearing Parisian architecture while you browse old and new books for your TBR. You may even find an array of paintings and prints near the books to satisfy your love for art along with your love for literature. Cross out Paris on your bucket list by visiting this captivating outdoor bookshop destination.

Whether you are planning a road trip or flying overseas, there is an alluring bookshop waiting for you this summer. Don’t limit yourself by having to choose between soaking up the outdoors and submerging yourself in the literary world. You can have both with this list of outdoor bookshops. If I’ve done my job right, you will already have at least one of these destinations added to your travel bucket list.


Curious about other bookish destinations? Click here.

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FEATURED IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR / MORGAN WILSON