Scarthin Books couldn’t be in a more ideal location. It looks out over a pretty duck pond, complete with a handful of benches for those warmer days when you simply cannot wait to sit outside with a good book.
Heading inside it’s like something out of a fairy-tale with its higgledy-piggledy layout. Set over several floors, the towering bookshelves lead you round the little nooks and crannies, constantly surprising you with different categories of books, both old and new.
Upstairs is a wonderful room full of children’s books with book pages covering the ceiling and origami mobiles dotted around. It’s so magical I almost spend as much time in here browsing as I do in every other corner of the store.
Opposite the children’s room is a rather heavy looking bookshelf, which actually operates as a door! And behind the door? Not Narnia but a hidden away cafe. Surrounded by cookery books, and with a fire for colder days and a hillside garden for warmer days, it’s impossible to leave without having a spot of lunch or a slice of cake. The menu offers simple and delicious home cooked food – soups, salads, pies and cakes – including vegan and vegetarian options, as well as a great variety of teas and coffees.
Scarthin is, without doubt, my all time favourite bookshop; a perfectly, magical place for bookworms but also a great place to stop for heart warming grub after a walk in the nearby hills. I usually go with another book fan, so that we can spend hours browsing followed by lunch or tea and cake. It’s a perfect afternoon out and always a treat.
Images by Joanna Payne