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Foyles Bookshop

107 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DT, United Kingdom | 020 7437 5660 | Website


New flagship bookshop, impressively accessible, a few problems



Visit date:

This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Wheelchair, Powerchair


The new Foyles bookshop is a vast improvement on their horrible ancient premises next door. Overall impression: good, except for the 5th-floor café and the difficulty of getting around the shop with a wheelchair. On my most recent visit the accessible toilet was in a bad state too.

Transport & Parking


Several northbound bus routes will drop you off at a bus stop right outside the shop entrance. Tottenham Court Road is very nearby indeed and is step-free to train (Northern Line) and step-free to platform only, with manual boarding ramps (Central Line).



Excellent lifts in the shop, fast, spacious, plenty of them, and they don't smell of a sewer like the ones in the old shop. It's easy to navigate around the shop, though there are some fairly tight gaps which *can* be negotiated in even a wide wheelchair, if you take care. Half a star lost because they have put very wide, heavy benches between banks of bookshelves, and there isn't room for a wheelchair to pass without shoving a bench out of the way, which can be awkward and difficult. They also put big benches in front of the lift buttons; people then sit on these benches; this can make it VERY hard to access the lift buttons from a wheelchair. Thoughtless!! The staff have a bad habit of parking their enormous heavy metal book-trolleys in places which obstruct access to the bookshelves for wheelchair users. They also put impromptu bookshelving units in places which make gaps too narrow to negotiate in a wheelchair - see my picture below. The staff also have a bad habit of dumping large packing crates and heavy metal book-trolleys right outside lift doors, which means that sometimes it's impossible to exit the lift in a wheelchair. This is very silly and thoughtless. The 5th floor café is a horrible place for wheelchair users. The tables are crammed too close together so it's very hard to find anywhere with enough space and manoeuvre-room. The background music is loud jazz of the most boring, monotonous, meaningless type, and it makes conversation difficult . Best to avoid the café if you're a wheelchair user or if you have hearing difficulties. "Store Guides" are placed in some locations, but erratically, without rhyme or reason, not near every lift - this is a real irritation.



Zeros stars for the good, modern, spacious, accessible toilet on the fifth floor, with a sensible sign asking people not to tamper with or shorten the red emergency cord. Unfortunately on many of my visits the red emergency has been tampered with - tied up out of reach around hand-rails and water-pipes, very annoying and inconsiderate. Sometimes the red cord has even been removed, cut off completely. See my photos below. On my most recent visit the red emergency cord had been cut very short, there was a nasty leak in the handbasin, and the fold-down grab-rail was broken (see my picture below) and consequently unusable. I'm really shocked and disgusted that the management can let this accessible toilet fall into such a disgracefully dilapidated condition, and that the management can put people at risk by allowing the red emergency cord to be tucked away or shortened or tied up - a VERY dangerous situation can arise if this cord cannot be reached if someone falls over during the often precarious transfer from wheelchair to toilet and back and needs to summon urgent help.



Friendly, always keen to be helpful, a bit glum at times - are they still as ill-treated as they were in the old days? There seems to be a tradition at Foyles for the staff to be glum. Poor dears. Two stars lost for their bad habit of obstructing gangways and lift doors with packing crates and enormous heavy metal book-trolleys and other large objects. More thought and consideration should be applied to the placement of these objects. Two stars lost for the dreadful fifth-floor accessible toilet described above. Special thanks to Giles on the 4th Floor, unfailingly courteous and helpful with requests for help and information.

Anything else you wish to tell us?

Another shopper came up to me during my first visit to the new shop and said: "How do you find the new shop from an actor's point of view?". I was stumped. Had he confused me with someone he'd seen on TV? I paused for a long time and then said: "I don't know... I'm not an actor...". Now *he* was stumped. Then he understand the misunderstanding. "No... from an *access* point of view...". We both had a good laugh at this absurd communication failure.


The accessible toilet at Foyle's bookshop This gap is too narrow for a wheelchair to pass through The accessible toilet at Foyle's bookshop The accessible toilet at Foyle's bookshop Broken grab-rail in the accessible toilet

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