Last Updated on October 12, 2019 by Sophie Nadeau
Located along Fore Street, i.e. the road where most of the main Topsham shops are to be found, The Topsham Bookshop is a delightful bibliophile’s heaven in the heart of the town of Topsham, just a short drive (or bus ride away) from the Devonian capital city of Exeter.
Address | 27 Fore Street, Topsham, EXETER, EX3 0HD, UK
A guide to the history of The Topsham Bookshop
Opened by Hilary Neal (known as Lily), in a 17th-century townhouse, the bookshop is spread over three floors and across 5 rooms (as well as the many staircases and hallways which interlink the quirky rooms). Lily herself has over two decades of experience in bookselling and is helped by a number of bookshop assistant.
Though a few new prints are stocked, the majority of the books in the shop are of the second-hand, vintage, and antiquarian variety. This means that wander in at any given moment and there will be more than a couple of local interest books worth reading (that you certainly won’t find anywhere else!)
The history of the building itself is equally as fascinating as the books housed within. Constructed during the 1600s, the structure has served a number of purposes over the years, including being used as a bookshop since the 1990s. Formerly known as Joel Segal Books, the current bookshop has been vending books to locals and tourists alike since November 2011.
How to visit The Topsham Bookshop
Located next to Country Cheeses cheese shop, The Topsham Bookshop is open from 10:30 AM to 1 PM and then from 2 PM to 5 PM Monday through to Saturday. Like many Topsham high street stores, the bookstore is closed on Sundays and so I recommend visiting the town during the week or on a Saturday if possible.
Inside the store, bibliophiles will soon discover a wide array of books; every general interest topic is covered from automobile covers to botanical journals. But what visitors to the bookshop are most likely to notice is the sheer number of Westcountry books, biographies, and tomes for sale.
Almost every room features at least a small selection of books about Devon and Cornwall, as well as Somerset and Dorset. From church guides to in-depth books about specific churches in the English region, there are also books about topography, history, archaeology, and even a limited array of travel guides.
Visit Topsham as a day trip from Exeter (or even over the course of a long weekend so as to truly soak up the picturesque ambience of the town) and you’ll soon discover that there are plenty of things worth doing in the historic port. From soaking up the sea breeze along the quayside to independent shopping experiences, and even enjoying a traditional cream tea, I highly recommend setting at least an entire day so as to enjoy all the attractions which Topsham has to offer!
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