Read To Travel

The Best Reading Spots in London

One of my absolute favorite activities to do while traveling is read a good book.   Consuming my current read in different spots all over a city or town is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a new place. I lived in London for four amazing months. On days when I would explore by myself, I made a point to take reading breaks whenever I found a beautiful spot. It’s the best way to ensure that I don’t skip over beautiful places. I sit down, take in the scenery and atmosphere around me, and read.  This practice turned out to be so meditative and enjoyable that I have taken it with me to every place that I have traveled to alone.


Here are London’s best reading spots!


Regents Park & Queen Mary’s Gardens

Flowers! Everywhere! These gardens are so colorful, relaxing, and easy on the eyes.  My favorite spot is a bench right beneath a weeping willow.




Food markets, street performers, and the London Eye attract many to the vibrant South Bank.  Don’t turn away because tourists go here because you can pick up a great read at the book market and find a spot to sit facing the Thames.


Tower of London

As much as I love reading in a tucked away little space, there’s something very enjoyable about escaping into the pages of a good book while in a really busy place. Any of the steps around the outer wall are my go-to.



The Tube

Londoners don’t speak on the tube. I repeat, the tube is a silent place (unless you’re in a group of a dozen Americans on a Friday night). Everyone is either reading, listening to music, on an iPhone, or staring straight into space (NO eye contact with other tube-riders). I get excited knowing I have a long tube ride ahead of me because it means chapters and chapters of my favorite book.


Trafalgar Square

In many ways Trafalgar Square feels like the center of all of the hustle n’ bustle of London. Pick a spot right on the steps of Nelson’s Column.



St. Paul’s Cathedral

Not only is this cathedral beautiful on the inside, but its striking architecture calls for a walk around the exterior. While you’re taking a stroll, select one of the benches on the edge for quiet solitude that will make you forget you’re located in the middle of a huge city.


St. James Park

St. James Park is tiny and I love it. It’s a small, tucked-away slice of green with beautiful plants, trees and flowers. Benches are sporadically spread around the looped path that encircles the pond, just begging you to sit down and continue reading The Picture of Dorian Gray (maybe that was just me).



Russell Square

The square in which I took classes for my semester abroad as well as the slice of the city seen in the first episode of Sherlock.  A pleasant small square in the middle of the city, where you can take a stroll, take a break, and take out a book.


Italian Gardens

Gorgeous, peaceful water gardens built in the 1800s on the north side of Kensington Gardens.  Need I say more?


READ MORE: Day of Firsts in London

Do you have a go-to reading place in London?

Tara Higgins

Tara Higgins

Tara loves all things London and wants to spend the rest of her life reading books in beautiful places. She can often be found nestled up in a bookshop, drinking a pint at the pub, or searching for the best pizza slice in town.

  • solosophie

    The tube is definitely one of the best places to read (and beat the boredom of sitting in silence)! 🙂

    December 2, 2015 at 9:15 AM
    • Tara Higgins
      Tara Higgins

      I agree 100%. There’s something peaceful about it despite being jammed between dozens of silent people.

      December 2, 2015 at 9:57 AM