Books sit side by side. Tome after tome. Row upon row. Shelf upon shelf. All just waiting to be glimpsed through, purchased, read. Abbey Books is owned by Spencer Magill and has been established for twelve years in the very heart of Launceston, a Cornish town between land and Moor which is well worth checking out on any British adventure.
Abbey Books: A Vintage & Antiquarian Bookstore in Launceston
The Abbey Books bookshop can be found at Unit no. 2 of the White Hart Arcade, one of the more iconic shopping destinations in the market town of Launceston. On one end of the covered mall there’s the historic White Hart Hotel (which is thought to date back to the time of Edward IV and whose archway entrance contains stone from the former Launceston Priory), while at the other lies a selection of coffee shops.
Also of note within the White Hart arcade is the Launceston tourist information office (open from Monday through to Saturday) where you’ll find all manner of guides and advice for exploring Northern and Central Cornwall. While there, I recommend picking up a free copy of the town map/ guide which includes a brief overview of Launceston’s history.
Within the walls of Abbey Books itself (as well on display on the shelves on display outside), some 15,000 books are to be found. As well as contemporary titles, there’s out of print and antiquarian tomes to be discovered. Of particular note, I rather enjoyed the huge variety of photography, art, and travel guides for sale, many of which are vintage.
Things to see near Abbey Books
The Little Bakehouse @ Launceston: For fans of all things sourdough and baked, the Little Bakehouse is a must-visit café and bakery in the heart of town. Serving some of the best coffee to be found anywhere in this part of Cornwall, I highly recommend the mushrooms on sourdough for lunch!
Launceston Castle: Of course, the number one historical attraction to see in Launceston is its imposing castle. Founded centuries ago by the Normans, the ruins of this well-preserved Motte and Bailey Castle provide an excellent viewpoint of the town and the Cornish countryside surrounding it.
St Mary Magdalene Church: Just beneath the castle, Launceston’s main church is fairly substantial in size and is home to numerous stained glass windows, each more interesting than the last. Of particular interest is the church’s stone carved façade; dating back to the Tudor times there’s nothing else quite like it in Cornwall.