Visit: Scarthin Books, Derbyshire

Scarthin Books is a wonderful little independent bookshop based in the Derbyshire Dales. Well-loved and locally famous, it’s a perfect place for book lovers to visit. Situated just off Cromford Market Place, there’s free parking nearby and with a good public transport network in the area too, it’s easy to get to.


Filled with imagination and information, this shop has always been a haven of mine. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been visiting this place with my Mum and Gran. There’ve been so many times where I’ve lost track of time while browsing! Sometimes we stop briefly in their cafe for a drink before continuing to peruse. Without fail, we’d all find a book or two to buy and take home! Katie and I ventured up there this week to find out more about the shop and cafe at Scarthin Books! Here’s why we love it so much:

The Books On Offer At Scarthin Books

The shop has an impressive collection of new and second-hand books. You can find books of all descriptions among the old, sturdy bookcases. From top to bottom every single nook and cranny is filled with books. In terms of variety, I’ve always felt that their collection beats many high street bookshops. You can’t beat the old book smell that flows through the shop!

Some subjects have their own specialised room such as the children’s books and the art books. The art room is filled with art, crafts, fashion, poetry, TV & film and adult colouring books. There are two armchairs by the window which make it a cozy room to sit down in and flick through some novels. The door even has a lovely 3D map of the local area pinned to it! As for the children’s room, it’s bright, colourful and crammed full of books for every age! Near the picture books are a cute pair of tiny seats for children to sit on. We’re sure that they’d happily spend a lifetime in there with the array of books on offer!

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About the Bookshop

When Scarthin Books first opened in 1974, most book shops were only found in larger towns and cities. Back then it was a novelty for such a shop to be situated in a small village like Cromford. Sadly, many these old independent bookshops have closed down due to the popularity of chain stores. Scarthin Books has survived thanks to its loyal customers, who love its quirky nature and friendly staff. The lovely, homely feel of the store is also a big part of its appeal.

The loyalty of its customers is best shown by the crowd funding event in March last year. Parts of the building were in need of structural repair. The staff hoped to raise £2,500 towards repair costs. They were met with overwhelming support from customers and fans from all over the world. In the end they managed to raise £20,000!

Scarthin Books has an artist in residence this year too, which just adds to its charm. The current incumbent is Liz Wellby who’s a local Derbyshire artist. This is just one of the many aspects of the shop that makes it all the more unique and lovable.

Vegetarian Cafe

On the second floor there’s the lovely vegetarian cafe where customers can stop for a break. The cafe has a range of drinks available, including an impressive variety of herbal teas and freshly ground coffee. Katie and I visited earlier this week and stopped off here halfway through our visit to have a hot drink. The food on offer is mostly vegetarian but they do have several vegan and gluten-free options as well. It’s all homemade and includes a variety of both savoury and sweet dishes.

If you fancy a light lunch you could treat yourself to one of their soups or wraps. And for those of us with a sweet tooth, they have a variety of homemade baked goods including some delicious cakes. They even have scones with jam and cream for fans of English cream tea! What’s not to love?

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After enjoying our delicious drinks, Katie and I enjoyed looking at some books for ourselves. I found a few Christmas presents for a few of my book-loving family members, while Katie found a pretty little illustrated book all about Coco Chanel. I’m sure it won’t be long before we’re both back there, and if you fancy knowing more about Scarthin Books, click here!

Written by Amy. Editing and photography by Katie.

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