Bookbarn International is probably the most magical bookshop you could ever wish to find. Founded in 2010 and located in a warehouse near Bristol, just a 20-minute drive from Bath Spa University, the small, independent company is a haven of used, new and rare books.
If you consider yourself a quirky book-lover, you will love this place. The warehouse – easily spotted from the main road and with ample parking – consists of The Full Stop Cafe, Oriental Rugs of Bath and, most importantly, aisle upon aisle of books.
Something For Everyone
Looking for used books? They’ve got them. New books? They’ve got those too. Comics? They have them. Rare and antique books? Check out the Darwin room.
It’s really not just a cliché when we say that there is something there for everyone, from fiction to non-fiction, children’s to erotica, feminism to geography. There’s even an impressive collection of music records to browse through on your way back from the toilets.
The magic is in the vibe of the place: the moment you walk in the front door is the moment you relax
If you’re worried about not being able to find what you’re looking for or passionate about, there’s no need; they’ve made it easy to navigate by labelling each aisle with genres and by sorting the shelves into categories. Three computers are available with a database search function and the staff are more than happy to find a particular book for you if you’re struggling.
The Full Stop Cafe
After the fact that the vast majority of the books cost just £1, which still blows our minds every time we visit, the cafe is easily the next best feature of the experience. First of all, it looks beautiful. As well as an odd but quirky array of tables and chairs, there is a corner that consists of three sofas, a coffee table and an open fireplace.
They have free Wi-Fi, the menu is pretty extensive and inclusive of both vegetarians and vegans, and they even allow dogs! The friendly, chatty and helpful staff are the icing on a delicious cake.
Behind The Curtains
If you sneak a peek through the plastic strip curtains, you’ll realise that there is much more in stock than what you see on the shelves, which means you’ll probably find new books to enjoy every time you visit. If all that didn’t already sound good enough, there’s an area next to the cafe with a tent, toys, beanbags and, of course, books to keep kids preoccupied whilst everyone else enjoys a walk around or sit down for a quiet cuppa.
The magic is in the vibe of the place: the moment you walk in the front door is the moment you relax. The smell of books and coffee is incredibly inviting. You can pop in for something specific or you could spend hours browsing the shelves and relaxing with a hot chocolate in the cafe. It really is the perfect place for stressed-out students.