What do you get if you turn a church into a bookshop? You get Leakey’s Bookshop in Inverness, often hailed the most beautiful bookshop in Scotland, and quite possibly the UK.
Back in 1982, Leakey’s stock was spread out in two small shops in Inverness (it’s a small city in the Scottish Highlands if you’re wondering). In 1994, they began the process of converting an old Gaelic church into their present business of one huge, magical bookshop.
Thankfully, little changes have been made to the building since its days as a place of worship. Looking from the outside it appears like a regular church complete with pretty stained glass windows. It’s not until you walk inside that you discover a treasure trove of second-hand books, maps, prints and even a wood-burning stove sitting alongside religious furnishings such as a pulpit.
If it weren’t for a day of sightseeing ahead, I could easily have sat by the cosy fire all day just reading and occasionally getting up to peruse the aisles. It’s easy to forget this is even a shop with its comfy chairs inviting you to curl up and make yourself at home with one of the many books available to you.
You know you’re inside an independent bookshop when local goose eggs are for sale!
The shop spans across two floors and are joined together by a stunning spiral staircase. The top floor would have been the choir area but now books are scattered everywhere, from top to bottom, left to right and arranged thematically.
One of the charming things about second-hand bookshops lies in what you might unexpectedly find. It could be a first edition or a cover you’ve never seen before.
What I love the most is opening up a book and seeing it inscribed with Birthday wishes from decades ago, or finding an old postcard wedged between the pages. It’s not only the author who’s telling a story, sometimes the previous owner of a book has a story all of their own…
I ended up leaving with A Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, a play I feel I ought to have read by now, and my brother bought a collection of poems by T.S Eliot.
If you find yourself in the Scottish Highlands, this place located fittingly on Church Street, should not be missed, especially if books are your religion.
Address: Church St, Inverness IV1 1EY
Opening hours: Everyday, 10 am – 5.30 pm
Would you like to visit Leakey’s Bookshop in Inverness?
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Source: The Culture Map