Where new writing finds its voice
My Favourite Bookshop

The Book Inn

Sharon L Forsdyke


I live in the small seaside town of Leigh-On-Sea overlooking the Thames Estuary in Essex. The local library was built in 1836 as a rectory and retains much of its Victorian charm and is one of my favourite places to pass the time. For many years, there was only one bookshop in the town, but now we have The Book Inn, which started out in a tiny corridor of space in Elm Road before moving to its current location in Broadway West.

It is still a small shop, but has such an atmosphere. On arrival outside, the keen bookworm is struck by the quaint wooden windows, always beautifully decorated. There are a couple of tables and chairs at the front as the bookshop also has a coffee shop at the rear, plus a very small travel agent. So the visitor can take a warm drink and slice of cake whilst browsing the literary magazine or books from the shelves before booking a short break or holiday. 

The adage ‘small is beautiful’ comes to my mind whenever I enter this haven of refuge and peace in our busy town. It reminds me of the small bookshop that Meg Ryan’s character ran in You’ve Got Mail with its cosy feeling of warmth and friendliness. There’s a particularly good children’s section and it’s a wonderful shop to visit at Christmas. The staff are friendly and always support local charity events. (The owner, Judy Matthews, was kind enough to donate a book from the shop for a charity event that I held last year in aid of The Dystonia Society
which supports awareness and research into this rare incurable movement disorder from which I suffer.)

Waterstone’s and Hammicks have their place in the High Street, but there is nothing like an independent bookstore where every customer is valued, and treated as an individual. I feel that every book in the shop has been personally chosen by the owner: she has good taste in attracting such a varied clientele, but still managing to retain some of the village charm that is slowly disappearing from our towns today. 


The Book Inn
49 Broadway West
Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
T 01702 716614


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