Thursday, November 15, 2012 | Category: Travel Stories, Travel Tips
For us it was important to create the right atmosphere, so that people who have discovered us can really have the space and time to escape into a different world. — Co-owner Edward Tobin
Books stores are my favorite places. I love a great independent bookstore, whose selections, design and events reflect the personal quirks and preferences of the owner. But I even enjoy spending time in my local Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million, to be honest. I don’t care where I find books — browsing and choosing just the right addition to my collection and making new discoveries is a glorious pastime. And if there’s good coffee available, well, I’m a happy girl.
On our trip north of London a few weeks ago, we stayed for a few nights in a lovely B&B called Upper Buckton in Hereforshire, part of the Wolsey Lodges family of very special accommodations in the UK and France (watch for a story on this in the near future). As we spoke to the owners, they mentioned a little bookshop nearby and said it was worth stopping in. And so we did.
Aardvark Books, run by Sheridan Swinson and Edward Tobin, is housed in a beautiful 19th century barn that sits at the intersection of Shropshire, Herefordshire and Wales. Known as the Bookery & Cafe, Aardvark is in the historic village of Brampton Bryan between Leintwardine and Knighton on the A4113, and is open seven days a week. Sheriden’s mother runs the Aardvark Café which offers six filter coffees, together with cappuccinos and espressos, a range of quality leaf teas, home made cakes and hot soups. You’ll be served wonderful fare along with fantastic stories about her life.
Aardvark contains more than 50,000 volumes: new, secondhand and rare, so there’s absolutely something for everybody. And of course, Sheridan is more than happy to track down any title you like. There are also cards, mugs, journals, walking sticks, and other book-related bits to savor.
Last July, The BookBurrow opened, a dedicated book and play space for children of all ages. Designed by local artist
Ciara Lewis, it offers a cheery and comfortable space where children can browse, read and take part in special events created just for them.
This is a destination bookshop, as you’ll see from the website. Sheridan and Edward are completely devoted to their customers and their community and are involved in a great many events throughout the year. If your travels take you anywhere near Wales, make this a stop before you cross over. And, dear readers, I am here to tell you that this part of England is well worth putting on your wish list. Watch for my story about Wolsey Lodges and make plans to go. But stop frequently at Aardvark Books for a nice browse and a great cuppa.