• Play Hard
  • 17th Feb 2024
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  • 4 minutes

6 independent bookshops in the North East

Indie bookshops are having a moment – these are the ones we love…

Keel Row Books, Whitley Bay 

93-97 Park View, Whitley Bay, NE26 3RJ

Keel Row Books is the longest standing antique and second-hand bookshop in the region. They specialise in first editions, signed, rare and antique books, as well as the history of the North East, including the works of Thomas Bewick. 

They’ve just moved into a new home in the old Boots store on Park View and it’s well worth a visit. 

HLN TOP TIP: This is the perfect spot to pick up a unique and thoughtful gift. 


High Life North

1b Books, Heaton

1A-1B, Bolingbroke Street, Heaton, NE6 5PH

1b Books is the latest neighbourhood gem in Heaton which opened just before Christmas.

It sells both new and second-hand books and they have a really great, diverse selection – including books for children and young adults. Owners Mandy and Kate have great recommendations – there’s something for everyone no matter your budget, and the atmosphere in the shop is super welcoming and relaxing.

They don’t have any socials or a website yet, so be sure to pop along and say hello.

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Forum Books, Corbridge

The Chapel, Market Place, Corbridge, NE45 5AW 

Forum Books is an award-winning independent bookshop in the heart of Corbridge – which now has sister stores in Alnwick (The Accidental Bookshop), Whitley Bay (the bound) and a small concession in The Biscuit Factory.

Eclectic and original, these shops are run for book lovers, by book lovers. All of the team are endlessly enthusiastic about reading which makes for a super fun shopping experience.

They also host regular author events which are a great way to meet likeminded people.

HLN TOP TIP: You can also shop their wide range online to support independent when getting your next read. 

Check it out

High Life North

Barter Books, Alnwick

Alnwick Station, Alnwick, NE66 2NP

It wouldn’t be an independent book round-up without mentioning this well-loved bookstore in Alnwick – which is actually one of the largest second-hand book shops in Britain.

Step inside the converted Victorian railway station and get lost for hours, surrounded by books, a model railway, 40ft murals, burning log fires, a café and now, an ice cream parlour. 

Check it out

High Life North

Book Corner, Saltburn

24 Milton Street, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, TS12 1DG

One of our reader’s told us about this little find, situated on Milton Street in Saltburn. They’ve gone from strength to strength, relocating to larger premises in 2017.

Specialising in contemporary fiction for adults and children, their collection includes new releases, bargain books and non-fiction, as well as a wide range of children’s picture books and young adult fiction.

HLN TOP TIP: Keep an eye on their Instagram for events including book signings and reading clubs.

Check it out

High Life North

the bound, Whitley Bay

82a Park View, Whitley Bay, NE26 2TH

This bookshop on a corner in Whitley Bay stocks a great range of fiction and non-fiction finds, including cookery books, interior inspiration and coffee table books.

A self-confessed team of proud bibliophiles, the team are always happy to share their current reads and provide inspiration. Plus, they have a lovely space upstairs for events which is worth checking out.

HLN TOP TIP: Take your new book a few doors down to Rustic Cup or Kith and Kin to while away the hours with coffee and a treat. Real life can wait. 

check it out

High Life North
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Laura Kingston
Founder and Editor

Laura is the Founder and Editor of High Life North. She had the idea to set up an exclusively digital women’s magazine after feeling there was a gap in the market in the North East. With over 10 years of experience in marketing and PR, Laura had a very clear…


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