The Sanctuary Bookshop in Lyme Regis is the best secondhand bookshop I have been in. Ever.
Look. Don't you just want to go in?
They buy books!
Once inside, you have stepped into a different world...
The shelves (and at times, the floor) are covered with books, statues, artefacts, original artworks, curios, comics... Fabulous creatures lurk in dark corners and piles of mysterious papers are left for you to peruse through.
You can lose yourself for hours and hours, because the more you look, the more intrigued you become. Downstairs, in the "bargain basement", they even have a comfy reading room complete with welcoming sofas.
The Sanctuary Bookshop is a secondhand bookshop, an antiques centre, a bric-a-brac, an art exhibition... It is even a "booklovers B&B", and guests can stay in the upper floors and sleep blissfully surrounded by the thousands of books displayed in the rooms and corridors, listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the Cob, down the harbour. We didn't stay there, but how tempting it was!
The Sanctuary is an eccentric refuge in another dimension, in which time is happily suspended. It is old-fashioned but not stuffy. Its atmosphere of laid-back, sofly out-of-kilter intellectualism stimulates the imagination. It is for all ages, all walks of life.
When you step out, you can see the crumbling cliffs of the Jurassic coast from the threshold of the shop, and you blink. It is an exhilarating experience.
The Sanctuary is one of those very special places we should cherish... I for one will be returning in October.
The Sanctuary bookshop website is here, with their complete online catalogue:
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