Reading is situated where the rivers Avon and Kennet converge and is the county town of Berkshire. We stopped overnight on our way to Buckinghamshire where we were spending Easter. We had visited the Waterstones in Reading before I started my quest to visit every store but it is in such a stunning building that I was happy to go back! It is situated in a Grade II listed building which was formerly the Broad Street Independent Chapel until its closure on 15th January 1984. The building inside has been sympathetically redeveloped inside to incorporate the shop and still retains many of its beautiful features, together with a couple of cabinets containing items of history and memorabilia of its former life. There are lots of photographs, but I think they’re worth it!
There is a pretty, raised windowed area above the Children’s department
Currently reading: Long Road from Jarrow: A journey through Britain then and now by Stuart Maconie and The Rich Mrs Robinson by Winifred Beechey
We were due to pick our son up from his two-week trip to Texas so we decided to drive up the night before and stay in Uxbridge, where we just had time in the morning to pop in for breakfast before heading to Heathrow. The Waterstones here is set over four floors and located in the Intu (formerly The Chimes) shopping centre which was built in 2001.
Uxbridge is the last station on the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines of the London Underground. The station was built in the 1930s and is Art Deco in style, with a lovely stained glass window inside. I know this style isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s really attractive.
Currently reading: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
We took the day off work to take our son up to Heathrow airport for his trip to Texas and after dropping him off we popped to Staines-upon-Thames for lunch. The town used to be called Staines, but was rebranded as Staines-upon-Thames on 20 May 2012 to try to get away from the negative connotations given to the town by the comedian Ali G, and also to highlight its proximity to the famous river to encourage visitors. We didn’t have long to explore the area, unfortunately, but had a quick wander up the High Street, the location of Waterstones.
These are by Chris Burke (who did lots of artwork for Ottakar’s, who were bought by Waterstones). They are high up on the wall just inside the entrance door!
Sculpture commemorating the linoleum industry in the area
I loved this Art Deco style Marks & Spencer building – especially the clock!
These mosaic markers are at the end of the High Street – there are two at each end.
Currently reading: The Corset by Laura Purcell
Peter picked up his new car during the week so we decided to take it out for a spin! After stopping for breakfast in the Designer Outlet in Swindon, we headed north east and found ourselves in Witney, a small market town in Oxfordshire, famous for blankets! Neither of us had been here before but we thought it was very pretty. The Waterstones is a former Ottakar’s store in the Woolgate Shopping centre, but with its entrance on the High Street.
The Corn Exchange building was built in 1863 and corn trading took place until the 1930s. It was used for social events after this time but eventually fell into a state of disrepair. It was sold and refurbished and reopened in 2015 as a community venue. Other interesting buildings include The Buttercross and the Town Hall.
Currently reading: Cider with Roadies by Stuart Maconie
Our next venue after the Trafalgar Square branch was the Lego Store in Leicester Square. After leaving there we headed up to Charing Cross Road to visit the Foyles flagship store. Waterstones are keeping the branding (at least, for the time being). This store is set over 8 half floors (up a half-staircase, shop floor taking up half the floor plan, up another half-staircase, another half floor – if that makes sense!). I absolutely adore this store – we must have been in there nearly an hour but I could easily have spent half a day (probably longer) wandering round the bookshelves!
Please be warned that there are going to be a LOT of photos!
I realise the first photo is wonky, but I joined together two pictures to give an idea of the size of the store.
Fifth Floor (Café)
And, if there weren’t already enough photos – The Lego Store…
I went to London for a weekend to meet up with friends – the same friends I met up with last March. We stayed in Beckton in East London, and on the Saturday we went into town for the day. Our first planned stop was the Lego Store at Leicester Square so we stopped off at the Trafalgar Square branch of Waterstones on the way! The building it is housed in was built as the Grand Hotel in the 1870s.
There are some very famous landmarks near this branch. Here are some of them…
Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery
Currently reading: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Our final stop on the way home was to Shrewsbury, the gorgeous county town of Shropshire which is almost entirely circled by the River Severn. The town is filled with mediaeval buildings in streets with names that hint at their former businesses such as Fish Street and Butcher Row and the amusing Grope Lane (the original purpose of this lane is pretty self-explanatory!). The Waterstones is situated in the centre of the town near to the Old Market Hall building which now houses a cinema!
The Market Hall and Shrewsbury Square
St Chads Church
This pretty church was the baptismal place of Charles Darwin who was born in the town. In the churchyard is a gravestone that acted as a prop in the 1984 adaptation of A Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge, protagonist of Charles Dickens’ wonderful novel.
This beautiful park has a fantastic floral area in the middle called The Dingle which was created by celebrity gardener Percy Thrower, probably best known for presenting Gardeners’ World and Blue Peter.
So, as you can see, Shrewsbury is beautiful and definitely worth a visit!