If you’re ever in Winchester, you have to make time to visit P&G Wells Booksellers. Not only is this quaint independent bookshop a haven for readers, it’s also situated in one of the prettiest parts of the city.
To find it, we had to wind our way through a maze of alleys and lanes that wouldn’t be out of place in a Harry Potter tale. It stands in Kingsgate Village, a few doors down from both the stately Winchester College and the house where Jane Austen spent her last few months (the latter isn’t open to the public). The shop itself has been trading for over 250 years and has a lovely vintage feel that you’d expect from such a historic building.
The ground floor is dedicated to books for adults. Each section has been curated carefully and if you’re searching for special Jane Austen edition, then they have a good selection here. This level also houses the Winchester Bindery, a separate business that repairs and restores books. We didn’t take a look, but I’m sure the bookbindery offers a useful service for locals and students alike.
After racing through town, we were more interested in the children’s area which fills the first floor. There are two rooms on the upper floor. The first contains YA, middle-grade and chapter books. The second is a spacious reading room surrounded by picture books. Little M wasted no time in making herself comfy at the colouring table while Al was immediately taken with William Grill’s Shackleton. We ended up buying this together with a lovely hardback edition of Tales from Moomin Valley by Tove Jansson. Seats were at a premium when we arrived and later we met a local family heading to the shop. It was brilliant to see that it’s a popular destination for kids.
The shop offers regular events on its website including children’s storytime, creative writing classes, author events and book groups. You can find all the information about these on their website. They also have another outlet on the University of Winchester campus which caters directly for students.
Any literary tour of Winchester wouldn’t be complete without a stop at this atmospheric bookshop. It’s part of the fabric of the city and a landmark in its own right. It’s also a good place to take children if they’re fed up of sightseeing and want a rest, but make sure you buy something to keep this wonderful place openfor another 250 years!
The first floor is dedicated to children’s books and designed especially for a family visit. Access is restricted and there aren’t any amenities. However, you are in the middle of Winchester so there are public toilets available locally as well as many cafes nearby.
The Barrister’s Book Chamber Opening Times
Monday – Saturday: 9.00-17.30
Sunday and Bank Holidays: 11-17.00
11 College Street, Winchester, SO23 9LZ
If you enjoyed this, you might like to see our other posts on bookshops.
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