Five Cambs bookshops you need to visit ahead of World Book Day 2022

Inside G. David - a world of rare and collectable antique items

Inside G. David - a world of rare and collectable antique items - Credit: G. David Bookseller

Cambridge and its surrounding countryside have inspired writers for generations.

From Virginia Woolf to Stephen Fry, Cambridge with its winding River Cam and world-famous university has hosted poets and authors for centuries.

Ely Cathedral and the vast fens beyond inspired a magical childhood dreamland in Tom's Midnight Garden, and a backdrop to Graham Swift's award-winning novel for grown-ups - Waterland.

Ely Cathedral rising above the mist

Ely Cathedral, poetically named the "Ship of the Fens" - Credit: Terry Harris

It's no wonder that Cambridgeshire is magnet for book lovers.

To mark the 25th anniversary of World Book Day in the UK, which takes place on March 3, 2022, here are five Cambridgeshire shops where you can find a whole world of books:

1. Niche Comics Bookshop, Huntingdon

Where? 147 High Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TF.

What? Angela, Adam and Guy Makey's award-winning Huntingdon bookshop is a Cambridgeshire gem. Niche is adored by fans of fiction, comics and board games who have hailed the store a "delight" in Google reviews.

It is also an autism-friendly bookshop, and Angela, Adam and Guy encourage people on the autism spectrum to get shop floor experience with them.

The British Book Awards judges named Niche the Independent Bookshop of the Year in 2019 and the shop is in the running to take the crown again in 2022 as an East of England region finalist.

Guy Makey said: "I am proud of what we are doing in the shop.

"I am extremely pleased that we are finalists in The British Book Awards 2022. It means a lot to us and it is nice to be recognised for what we are doing."

View the shop online: https://huntsbooks.co.uk/

Guy, Angela and Adam Makey of Niche Comics Bookshop, Huntingdon

Guy, Angela and Adam Makey of Niche Comics Bookshop, Huntingdon - Credit: The Makey family

2. Topping and Company Booksellers of Ely

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Where? 9 High Street, Ely, CB7 4LJ.

What? Celebrities flock to Topping & Co. Gyles Brandreth and Yes band member Rick Waterman have previously named the Ely store their favourite bookshop.

The company has four bookshops - in Ely, Bath, Edinburgh and St Andrews.

As well as a selection of books, Topping & Co hosts a calendar of events with some of Britain's best-selling authors.

Breaking Bad star Bob Odenkirk will visit Ely Cathedral with Topping & Co on Monday, March 21 to celebrate the launch of his book - Comedy, Comedy, Comedy, Drama. Chef Delia Smith will spend the evening in Ely on Wednesday, March 23 to talk about self-awareness, confidence and her new book - You Matter.

View the shop onlinehttps://www.toppingbooks.co.uk/

Topping and Company Booksellers of Ely's shop front

Topping & Co, Ely has its fair share of famous fans - Credit: Archant

3. G. David, Cambridge

Where? 16 St Edward's Passage, Cambridge, CB2 3PJ.

What? G. David is an antiquarian and specialist bookshop which made its home in Cambridge city centre 126 years ago in 1896. It is named after its founder, Gustave David, who died in 1936.

Brian Collings has worked at the shop for 57 years.

He said: "Our secret to survival is sticking to the traditional style.

"There's a lot of choice in quite a small shop."

Brian said that the world of book dealing has shrunk throughout his career, which means that antique book dealers are more hard to come by than ever before. He said that customers are bound to find unusual Cambridgeshire gifts and collectables in the shop.

View the shop onlinehttps://www.gdavidbookseller.com/

Inside G. David - a world of rare and collectable antique items

Inside G. David - a world of rare and collectable antique items - Credit: G. David Bookseller

4. Heffers Bookshop, Cambridge

Where? 20 Trinity St, Cambridge, CB2 1TY.

What? Heffers is a famous Cambridge bookshops which has been on the city's streets since 1876. Today, it is owned by Oxford book firm  Blackwell's.

Heffers is celebrating World Book Day on March 3.

David Robinson, manager, said: "We're proud of our history but always looking at new ways to help people engage with books."

David added: "Now more than ever we want to share the joy and the possibilities that reading offers to children. We firmly believe that reading has the power to transform young lives and love being part of the celebration of books and reading that is World Book Day."

View the shop online: https://blackwells.co.uk/

5. The Haunted Bookshop, Cambridge

Where? 9 St Edward's Passage, Cambridge, CB2 3PJ.

What? Also known as Sarah Key Books, The Haunted Bookshop specialises in collectable children's and illustrated literature.

Sarah Key took on the bookshop in 1994, but the previous owner asked her not to change the shop's spooky name.

Sarah's husband, Phil Salin, also looks after the shop and said that he has never seen a strange apparition among the bookshelves.

But he said: "There is some sort of truth to it if you are a believer.

"It used to be a pub called The Red House centuries ago. Allegedly, the publican died on the doorstep and he perhaps he haunts the shop."

He added that the apparition - which is normally described as being a woman - has not been seen in more than 25 years.

View the shop online: http://sarahkeybooks.co.uk/