The summer bookshop crawl is a great bookish day out organised by Bex of Ninja Book Box fame. This year’s location was Bath again (the first summer crawl was held there in 2016), which is a beautiful place to wander round as well as having some excellent bookshops.

We met up in the Parade Gardens, after much fake outrage at paying £2 to get in, which turned out to be great as you could go back and get away from the crowds (who also did not want to pay £2). They even supply deck chairs for you to sit in (and read).

Moomin books

Our first stop was Skoobs, a secondhand books stall in the Guildhall Market. This place has a great selection of books, but I found that I already had a lot of them! This should have been a sign that I shouldn’t be going round buying piles of books, but I chose to ignore that small fact.

We next went onto Oxfam which had some very tempting Moomin merchandise and a lovely window display. Bex likes to include a few secondhand options in the crawls to help everyone’s budgets go further.

Sign outside Topping & Co
Books at Topping & Company

The first time we went, we felt like Topping & Company was at the top of a massive hill. Turns out we were just tired and laden down with books then, as earlier in the day we bounded up the hill with ease! Toppings greeted us with tea, coffee and biscuits (I think the very yummy biscuits were just for us but they give all visitors a free hot drink if they want one).

Yeah, yeah, onto the books. The shelves are floor to ceiling with actual librarian ladders to reach the highest non-fiction shelves. The fiction is a bit further back in this shop which feels like it goes on forever and it has a cosy little children’s section. They have a lot of signed books in here, including first editions, and I think that’s why some are wrapped in plastic (especially with all those complimentary drinks around).

Tea and coffee at Topping & Company

Books Bought in Topping’s:

After Atlas by Emma Newman (signed)
Before Mars by Emma Newman
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Internment by Samira Ahmed
Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell
The Last Children of Tokyo by Yōko Tawada*

photo of books bought in toppings

*Thought I bought this in Mr B’s but turns out not, so it’s not in the right photo. I found my receipts just after taking them all.

After we had all dispersed for lunch, we reconvened at Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. I was excited to see their new extension, and it’s now a much bigger shop but still with lots of nooks and crannies. The children’s room is delightful and they have the Imaginarium for writers in residence to use. They’re recommendations shelves were especially useful as they had quite a few books out on them that I wanted, but wasn’t sure of the author names to go searching in the A to Z shelves.

Cartoon sloths hanging in a tree with books in Mr B's children's section
Cartoon animals including the Cheshire Cat painted on wall

Books Bought in Mr B’s

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Blackbird Vol. 1 by Sam Humphries + Jen Bartel
Water Shall Refuse Them by Lucie McKnight Hardy
Becoming Dinah by Kit de Waal
Little by Edward Carey

Books bought in Mr B's

At this point in the day, the hills were starting to seem steep again, especially with all those books I’d bought. We walked to Bath Old Books, an antiquarian bookshop, where we were hit with the lovely smell of old books. We admired some very nicely bound old books, with marbled page edges, as well as enjoying the cooler temperature in the basement.

The crawl was officially over but Bex had found the Dorothy House charity shop earlier so we decided to stop there on the way back into town. This shop focuses on books and music and I thought it had a good selection. I nearly bought something in there before realising I already had it!

Books bought in Waterstones

At this point we said goodbye to most people, but Bex’s son had been wanting to go to Waterstones all afternoon and me and Laura had some loyalty points to spend, so off we trekked the actual final stop this time. I treated myself to a clothbound edition of The Day of the Triffids.

Books Bought in Waterstones:

The World in Winter by John Christopher
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

I said my goodbyes (well not to Laura, she was somewhere in the depths of the shop) but still had nearly an hour till my train, so I decided to go look at some non-bookshops. Bath has such a thriving highstreet with a mix of big names but also loads of independent or niche shops. It’s a great place to wander round and window shop. I was feeling frivolous so went into Flying Tiger and bought a bowl with bugs on, a lobster shaped dish and a present for Scully (he’s been named Gorbachev, no, don’t ask).

A lobster shaped dish and a bowl with bugs on

Flying Tiger seems like such a random shop, looks like just stationery at first but had loads of kitchen stuff too, with a bit of an Ikea feel. I don’t have one near me so I was excited to go have a rummage. I tried to be restrained and not buys lots of stationery I’d never use.

Here’s Gorbachev being shown who’s boss:

Scully the Labrador with blue elephant toy

On my way back to the station I went into the posh fudge shop that I’d repeatedly walked past during the day, and bought some maple and walnut fudge.

There was an incident on my train on the way back, but I have no idea what was going on because I was listening to an audiobook whilst eating my dinner! Completely in my own world. I only tuned in when the guard came in to say something had been videoed and we weren’t in danger…which made me feel more worried than them not saying anything! Anyway, they put us on a different train and Josh came to rescue me (as, of course I missed my connection by 5 minutes).

So thank you to Bex for organising the bookshop crawl and not getting us lost. Huzzah! If you’re interested in going on a crawl follow @LdnBkshopCrawl on Twitter to keep up to date. The next planned crawl will be in London on 21st-23rd February 2020.

I’ll leave you with a few more photos of Parade Gardens (totally worth £2 if crowds stress you out).

Dress shaped wire frame covered in ivy in Parade Gardens
Pink flowers in Parade Gardens
Statue of young Mozart