Cecil Court – London, England - Atlas Obscura

Cecil Court

A charming 17th-century alley is lined with secondhand bookstores and antiquarian shops.  


This dreamy little 17th-century lane is a book lover’s paradise. It’s lined with about 20 secondhand bookshops and antiquarian shops, all selling a trove of unique treasures. It’s no wonder the street’s nickname is “Booksellers’ Row.”

Cecil Court feels like a hidden gem. Though the narrow street splinters from a highly trafficked thoroughfare, it maintains a calm, cozy atmosphere. The buildings that stand today date from the late 19th century, making a wander down the street feel like a stroll through London’s past.

Pop into the Victorian shop fronts, and you’ll be greeted by shelves of (at times pricey) goods. You can find anything from first-edition books to rare children’s literature, from unique maps to esoteric goods and one-of-a-kind jewellery and art. You can also sift through boxes of prints and books outside some of the shops.

Cecil Court is one of the Covent Garden neighborhood’s older passageways. As such, it’s as historical as it is aesthetically alluring. An eight-year-old Mozart stayed here for a year while he was touring Europe. A century later, the street became a hotspot for early British filmmakers; and it was the inspiration for “Diagon Alley” in the Harry Potter films. 

Know Before You Go

You can stroll down the street at any time, though most of the shops don't open until around 10. Once you've explored all Cecil Court has to offer, pop over to nearby Goodwin's Court to glimpse another charming alley.

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