South Bank Book Market

Creative writing editor, Greg, explores the world of the South Bank Book Market and why you should check it out…

With panic on the streets of London, phone hacking and an increasingly jittery economy, watching the news in England has become more and more like punching oneself in the gut.


Whilst the best way to escape from the current doom and gloom atmosphere might be a sun-drenched cruise, or trip to the Seychelles (oh wait…), most of us lack the money or time to make this a reality.


In those quiet moments after a day of work, or internet research on the next likely internship, there’s little better than a book at guiding your mind from the latest crisis to the pleasanter world of the imagination. But the prices of books, as well as the range displayed by the typical book store, can leave a lot to be desired.


So, if you happen to find yourself in post-riot London, why not check out the Southbank Book Market (5 minutes from Waterloo Station) for a multi-national, multi-genre, selection of cheap literature.


The market is open daily until around 7pm, and is tucked under the Waterloo Bridge (in front of the National Film Theatre). It is the only established second hand, antique and vintage book market in Southern England, and boasts a range of literature to make Waterstones blush.


Visiting last weekend, my eyes were drawn to:


  • The celebrated Stieg Larsson thrillers (£3 per book).
  • Chinese author Mo Yan’s politically charged ‘The Garlic Ballads’ (£1.50).
  • A collection of Oscar Wilde’s best loved poetry (£2).
  • Lionel Shriver’s debate-provoking ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ (£4).


With a wonderfully haphazard range of books and prices to rival any charity shop, the Southbank Book Market thoroughly lives up to its reputation as one of London’s best kept secrets.


So give it a look this summer. After all, where else can you pick up Sebastian Faulks’ ‘A Week in December’ along with a collection of ‘Icelandic Folktales and Legends’?

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