I confess: I love books. Even if I don’t read as voraciously now as I once used to, I still love the smell, the feel, and the presence of books. A house is not a home if it does not have books in it! And so it comes as no surprise that one of my favourite places in Scotland is a used bookstore in Inverness.
Felicity and I had found Leakey’s Bookshop quite by accident. We had gotten somewhat lost in Inverness and while finding our way again, came across a couple of shop windows filled with books and large lettering spelling out the name. “Like Harry Potter!” we exclaimed. The shop was closed for the day, but we took note of where to find it and came back the next day.
Inside it is, literally, a sanctuary of books. The building is a repurposed church and the former sanctuary has been converted into the bookstore. There are few better ways to repurpose a disused church than to fill it to the brim with books. In the upper gallery is a café that serves delicious soups and sandwiches and the large room is heated with a wood stove. Part of me is slightly terrified at the thought of a wood burning stove in the presence of so many books — but that risk adds to the appeal.
I visited Inverness again over the years, and I took whomever I was traveling with to Leakey’s. There we would have lunch and spend the afternoon perusing the shelves, finding treasure after treasure. They might have wanted to go to Inverness to spy for Nessie in Loch Ness, but I would go to Inverness for Leakey’s.
Photo: Leakey’s Bookshop and Café in Inverness, Scotland.