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“A nice surprise”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Barter Books

Barter Books
Ranked #1 of 15 Shopping in Alnwick
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: 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.
Hartlepool, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 attraction reviews
“A nice surprise”
Reviewed June 18, 2012

Barter books was just one of those happy accidents - we popped in between visiting the gardens and castle in Alnwick - and liked the feel so much we decided to revisit later that day as Barter books stays open to 7pm

Built in an old station - it has many interesting features - and unlike other second hand book shops - is both light and spacious - which it needs to be as it was pretty busy) prices range from a £2 to 5 or 6 hundred pounds for collectables.

they also have a nice cafe - which has nice atmospheric "old waiting room" style rooms to sit in, we had a salad and a cake - both of high quality - in fact I couldn't eat my cake - so when asking for a bag - was given a lovely take away box.

other highlights where the huge mural of famous authors to spot and the toy train set which buzzes about over your head.

Visited June 2012
Thank Harry P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
164 reviews
110 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“If you like books...”
Reviewed June 17, 2012

Give yourself plenty of time to search through the many shelves for the books you like.
Refreshments are available and there is plenty of space to browse and relax.
It takes up the entire space in the old railway station and there is every kind of book imaginable.
Not to be missed!

Visited June 2012
Thank Geoffs-Angels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“What a find!”
Reviewed June 17, 2012

For years friends have talked about Barter Books but somehow I'd never managed to visit it until earlier this month. I knew it was housed in an old railway station but had always imagined it as a draughty warehouse of a place, full of boxes of dusty books laid out in rows like a jumble sale from the 1950s. I certainly couldn't have been more wrong. My 25 year old son & I called there one Tuesday morning, intending just to have a quick look around & ended up staying 3 hours, buying several books each & having a delicious lunch.

The building itself has been beautifully converted to make optimum use of all the space available, combining the best of railway architecture with modern additions like a striking mural showing great authors & a memorial list of all those who worked in the building during its life as a railway station.

Books of almost every description are shelved in clearly labelled categories linked by signs showing literary quotations & a delightful miniature railway runs above head height. Library steps are provided to help reach the highest shelves & there are plenty of comfortable seats where potential buyers can sample their purchases. Open coal fires & original features like the old drinking fountain with its chained brass cups add to the charm of the place. Glass cases around the walls hold the most valuable old books, often open to show detailed illustrations of plants, flowers or animals

There is an honesty box for those wishing to buy a coffee & sit reading by the open fire near the entrance, & more substantial, excellent quality food & drinks are served in the cafe. Staff seem to have an almost continental attitude to service; unobtrusive until needed, then immediately helpful & friendly. Those bringing in books to barter are given credit towards their own purchases & there are computers available to help in the search for some elusive treasure.

Barter Books must surely be one of the reasons why Alnwick was said to be the best British town to live in a few years ago. I'll certainly be back.

Visited June 2012
Thank Bambar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
341 reviews
95 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
“Amazing, interesting and mad!”
Reviewed June 13, 2012

Fabulous cavernous book shop with a wide range of basic and rare books. Many first editions in glass cases. Seats to read in, excellent cafe for coffee and lunch. If you want a book you will probably find it (after a long search!) Worth a visit even if you are not a book fiend. Parking outside.

Visited June 2012
Thank aberdeenjohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Original and delightful - a gem.”
Reviewed June 13, 2012

We visited on a Saturday so there were a few people there but there was plenty of room inside. The decor is charming and original (there is a miniature railway in operation), the food in the buffet excellent and very reasonably priced. The open fires dotted around were very welcoming. Our long experience of visiting second-hand bookshops made us realise that this is a really special one. Immaculately arranged sections, plenty of chairs, computers available for checking the stock. They also have a separate counter for those bringing books to be purchased by the shop. All in all, a treat for book lovers and railway buffs alike.

Thank Mowglip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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