Barter Books
Barter Books
4.5
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
About
One of the largest secondhand bookshops in Britain and the home of the famous Keep Calm and Carry On poster. Barter Books has become one of the largest tourist attractions in the North East of Englnd.
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  • Myles Lomas
    15 contributions
    No other book shop like it.
    The one and only reason we visited Alnwick. My sister, kids and I found the books we wanted and had a great couple of hours looking at others. If you are anywhere near you must visit and spend sometime looking around.
    Visited February 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written February 26, 2023
  • Col C
    7 contributions
    What happened to the coffee.
    We have been going to Barter Books for years and used to find it a wonderful place to visit, unfortunately the attraction for us was the cosy sitting area at the front door with the welcoming open fire. self service coffee and cookies. We appreciate that during COVID this facility was removed for safety but surely this handy and appreciated facility is what a lot of people need. We understand that there is a lovely cafe serving meals and drinks but when busy the waiting time is unacceptable and some visitors just want to have a quick coffee and sit and review the books. As this service was self service using disposable cups and an honesty box it must of been viable.
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 18, 2023
  • NomNomAyrshire
    Kilbirnie, United Kingdom194 contributions
    Beaucoup livres
    Always visit when in Northumberland. Love this place, the smell, the vibe, the selection and quirks. Always get books that I hadn’t expected as did my family. Keenly priced and varied collection. The platform cafe is superb. Full of original features and arcing massive rolls with bacon or sausage. The home baking is unfussy and delicious. Highly recommended.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written April 3, 2023
  • Brenda R
    8 contributions
    One of a Kind!
    Heavenly place!!! We visited Great Britain from America, and scheduled our entire itinerary around two things: a Premier League game and Barter Books! It was as magical as we expected. Tasty food in the cafe, with cozy warm waiting rooms transformed into dining spaces. Row upon row of discoveries to be made on the shelves. Poetry and charm abounding throughout. Give yourself plenty of time for a bite to eat and browsing. We roamed around for a few hours, and could easily have lingered for more.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written April 5, 2023
  • Melanie N
    Sunderland, United Kingdom155 contributions
    A treasure
    What a wonderful few hours - it was a cold damp day and we were greeted by fabulous real fires and more books to peruse than we could get through. Nobody troubles you as you wander around, there are chairs and fires dotted about for customer comfort and fabulous treats in the decor including the model train pottering around overhead. Even more ingenious there is a café included where you can sit in or get take away coffee to drink as you look around the books, and yes we tried it, and yes it was delicious. As the coffee was sooo fab we decided when we’d finished shopping for books to have lunch and wow it was even better than the coffee all fresh produce beautifully presented and tasted great. So much couldn’t eat it all. Wonderful place, great staff will definitely return. Parking a bit tricky wheelchair friendly.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written April 10, 2023
  • Abbey Road
    Osaka Prefecture, Japan166 contributions
    Smiles make a difference. Great visit. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    I visited last week. Barter Books is one of my favourite places. Lots of books; some commonplace, some rare. Dogs are welcome too - which adds to the joy. If you’re in the area - visit. Forget Harry Potter - go to Barter Books for true imagination. Last week’s visit, for me, was to find a way through another Groundhog Day though. It worked largely through a young lady who was working in the cafe. She greeted customers with a genuine smile and cheery chat. A breath of fresh air in a confused world. Unfortunately I didn’t catch her name but I did thank her for her engaging smiles and said that that simple gesture would likely help get someone through their day that little bit better and make them feel more positive. It did. So thank you.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written April 11, 2023
  • Hawklord_pxr5
    Galashiels, United Kingdom869 contributions
    Amazing book shop
    Amazing, huge book shop, created within the old Alnwick Railway Station. Vast array of second hand books, bound to be something you want. Little model trains whiz about overhead too. It’s a bit distracting trying not to trip over dogs, though. And if you’re selling, they don’t buy for cash, just credit for other books.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 12, 2023
  • Jennie R
    27 contributions
    The most magical bookshop!
    If you are visiting Alnwick then you really shouldn’t miss this gem which is only ten mins from town. What an absolutely magical place, hundreds of books, places to sit, cafe, ice cream parlour (which I didn’t try, next time I will). The old train station is just gorgeous! A book lovers and train enthusiasts dream! I’ll put photos, I love words but this review definitely needs pictures
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written April 19, 2023
  • junew2016
    32 contributions
    Books and more books
    A must do for any book lover. A wide range of books on many subjects beautifully arranged. The atmosphere is great with an open fire, a train going around, comfy seats and a cafe. i could havespent many hours here
    Visited April 2023
    Written April 21, 2023
  • MaryInTheMarsh
    Norwich, United Kingdom45 contributions
    My idea of heaven!
    A “must visit” for any book lover visiting Alnwick! Thousands of books beautifully arranged in a wonderful setting. Open fires, comfy chairs & a coffee shop selling delicious cakes! Absolute heaven….could have stayed for days!
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 27, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
2,027 reviews
Excellent
1,520
Very good
377
Average
80
Poor
34
Terrible
16

Skye P
Perth, Australia31 contributions
Dec 2019
The store is quite the tourist attraction all on its own. Amazing architecture, books as far as the eye can see on near every imaginable subject. We went on a cold December day so we were delighted to walk in an see the fire going. Certainly added to the atmosphere, disappointed though to find only the front room of the shop heated. The vast back room was an ice box which made scanning the shelves uncomfortable.
Prices were on the high end however I could have given a much higher review despite the prices and cold had the staff been better trained. I and others in my family were pushed aside from searching the shelves so that the young staff member could put books back. Not a quick 'can I pop this back please' but 'can you move I need to work there'.
Not a great way to make money if you're not allowing potential customers the time to look.
Written January 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lovebooks
3 contributions
Jun 2021 • Solo
I contacted this bookshop as in fairness it has a large amount of stock and clearly a heavy foot flow. I asked if I was to consider purchasing two secondhand book sets if there was premise to reduce the price slightly. I got an email back which was a little patronising regarding their choice between selling with an increased margin to allow discount or selling at base profit margin, a little unnecessary, but clearly was trying to explain themselves. I then thanked them for their response and made a quip regarding the irony of the name of the business in a jovial manner and actually told the guy I was appreciative of his time and would consider. Next day I’d almost made up my mind to purchase one of the sets, until that is, I saw this guys email response.

‘Bartering is a popular part of what the live bookshop offers, but I think you are confusing the word 'barter' with the word 'haggle'!’ - Connor Clark.

No morning, hello or how’s your father.

However, instead of being as rude and obnoxious about them, as they felt they could be towards me. I actually want to thank Charles Connor, as having sent me such an email I decided against buying the set priced at £80 including shipping and not a few days later managed to save £30 and find the set for £50 incl. shipping from a much nicer, professional bookshop.

Proof that not only are Barter books rude and obnoxious, but are also extremely overpriced and thoroughly untrustworthy.
Written June 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

westy40
Preston, UK12 contributions
Aug 2020
I was really excited to visit this book shop as I love books but overall I think it is a bit disappointing. We queued for ages to get in, when we did finally get in we took the children to the children’s section. The books there are very tired and not a good selection either, they were bored immediately. I looked around the other sections, and whilst it is big with lots of books, they are very expensive for books that are nt in great condition. Cafe was good however with the biggest sausage butty I have ever seen. I would nt go again though.
Written August 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mukhasben
South Shields, UK2,038 contributions
Sep 2021
We’d planned to visit Barter Books after redecorating and discovering how many books we actually had! It’s signposted and is part of the old Alnwick railway, in fact it is like a tardis, you enter and yes there’s books by the hundreds in what looked like a small waiting room, then a slight ramp takes you into the Shed! A train runs around over head and we just thought the atmosphere was great. Not being a Kindle fan the smell of books is in the air (sad but true). The premise as well as selling paper back and hardback books, maps, dvds and cds, is you bring in your books create a paper account and get a value for your books. Whether you accept the offer is up to you. We took 10 Annuals in for valuation from the 70s and 80s and a valuation after 10 mins was £30. If we’d accepted the amount your account is credited with that amount. On this occasion I had sentimental feelings for my 4 Misty annuals so declined the offer. You have 1 transaction per week and next time we visit we’ll take books we are prepared to let go. The shed itself adds to the charm, various seating and old rugs are dotted around and also has a cafe, one part where dogs are allowed. There’s also a cafe just outside where we saw the biggest ice cream cone double scoop we’ve ever seen. It can be overwhelming the number of books and the scattergun arrangement of books, so maybes take a note of what authors or what books your after. Dogs welcome too.
Written September 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

stormyseas31
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK65 contributions
Feb 2020 • Family
Take a bag of books in with you, in order to bank credit off the books you’re going to buy.

Good tip is that only 5% of their stock is on their computer system, but that the staff are amazingly knowledgable about what they have in stock: they were instantly able to tell us that they had the trashy paperbacks we fancied in the warehouse out back, and to swiftly bring us a selection of them to choose from. Also note that the main biography and fiction sections are hardback only, and that cheaper paperbacks are shelved elsewhere. Ask.

Food is amazing and bargainous. Staff happy to give you a box to take leftovers home in.
Written February 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SuperBear123
15 contributions
Aug 2021 • Family
We’ve been here before a few years ago when the place was a haven with the train running round the top fo the book shelves, shelves packed with books , children’s books at low prices, ride on toys and cushions in a plush children’s area for them to relax, play and sit and read.

This visit was disappointing, staff insist everyone has to wear a mask. The place is rammed with people, it’s hard to squeeze past anyone to look at a bookshelf. The train running round the top is covered in cobwebs. The children’s area has no toys, no cushions, looks neglected with lots of empty spaces in the shelves and very few books to choose from, these books are all ridiculously overpriced for children too, not what you would expect a child to pay with their pocket money/holiday spending money. Then there is a tannoy that repeats reminding people that there are too many people in the area, which is true because the place is rammed because they let large volumes of people in, however the persistent announcements to move away from other people really kill the literary atmosphere.

A real shame, this used to be a favourite bookshop where you could get a lovely new read for yourself or the kids at a great price whilst soaking in a wonderful atmosphere but not anymore.
Written August 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Beck Woods
Nuneaton, UK29 contributions
Feb 2020
The place was already buzzing when we arrived Sunday lunchtime and even though there are 75 car spaces we were lucky to get a space. Inside there were people and books crammed into every part of what was once an old railway station, especially the waiting rooms which now served as a cafe. A nod to the previous purpose of the site was in evidence as model trains circulated a track that stood atop of the bookshelves by the till. Another nod was the coolness of the main area though there was a fire in one area and the escape to the cafe in the other. A fabulous selection of books, fiction and non-fiction, meant that there'd be a good chance you'd not leave empty handed (I bought 3 on my first visit and then another 2 when we returned the next day on what should have just been for a coffee). It would have been churlish too not to sample the cafe fare, which seemed to be everyone else's idea too - tip: grab a seat as soon as one becomes available and then go and place your order (remember the table number).
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KarenD
Milnsbridge, UK8 contributions
Sep 2020
Can't believe how wonderful this place is.Individual, unique, friendly & welcoming. I thought it might only have highbrow books but it caters for everyone & all types of secondhand books can be found.I bought popular fiction for £2.20 & others were priced £6.60( these were hefty novels in pristine condition so I was happy with the price)
There are toilets & a cafe & I can imagine people spend all day in here.The quotations are dotted everywhere & are a joy, so many rooms to explore, murals & a model train! If only I lived close by, I would be a regular visitor & customer!
Written September 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert B
Manchester, UK147 contributions
Jul 2021
Barter Books is a huge bookstore. It is based in an old railway station. They buy and sell all sorts of books including paperbacks. The shelves are well organised into genres for non fiction and by alphabetical author for fiction. More expensive/rare books are in locked cabinets round walls. A large model train layout runs above your head on entry paying homage to buildings past use. A pleasant hour or so can be had here.
Written July 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

gourmetflaneur
York, UK1,078 contributions
Sep 2021
The old station in Alnwick is now a glorious bookshop, full of secondhand books of every shape, size, vintage, genre and price. It is notable for three things in my mind: the architecture of the station is relatively intact; the book range of large and eclectic and you have a cafe. The train shed roof looks intact and original, there are original features such as the water font with the typical cups chained in place. The font was carve from one large piece of stone. The old waiting room is now part of the cafe's seating area and at the entrance the original ticket office window and fire place are still there. The book display is well organised with rarer and pricier books in locked glass cabinets. The rest are arranged in bookcases that are far better signed than in many second hand bookshops. Hard to resist. I did not try the cafe but it looked to be reasonably price and was very popular.
Written September 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Barter Books - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Barter Books

Barter Books is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM



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