Updated: Sep 22
Group Bookshop Crawls (previously known as guided groups) made their post-covid return for the Big Welsh Bookshop Crawl in summer 2022, and now run in all our events. They are the version of the bookshop crawl where we do all the planning and you get to come and meet fellow bookish folk & explore bookshops together, and you'll need a ticket to come along. If you'd like to do your own thing on a bookshop crawl, most of our events have free (or pay as you feel) Welcome packs with everything you need to plan your own day.
If you've not been along to a Group Bookshop Crawl before here's what to expect...
The idea of our Group Bookshop Crawls is just to gather together a group of book loving people and explore bookshops together. They're a socially antisocial space and people are free to chat as much or as little as they'd like. You can share book recommendations, ask questions, and generally have a fun time. Bring your kids (they're free with paying adults, but do let us know how many you're bringing), your parents, your friends... All ages and reading tastes are welcome, or come on your own and make new friends! The routes groups take often include a wide range of different types of bookshops including general bookshops, charity bookshops, specialist bookshops and children's bookshops - all bookshops are good bookshops!
A big disclaimer I like to add is that all of our groups are led by people who love bookshops and books, but most of us are not actual tour guides and thus will probably not have in depth knowledge of the history of the area that we're in. Your group guide should be friendly (some of us are chattier than others) and make everyone feel welcome, and they will lead you around to different bookshops, probably telling you a little about each bookshop and letting you know about any discounts and perks on offer. They'll also often share book recommendations with you and should be able to tell you about other things going on as part of the bookshop crawl. Some guides like to share information about history and other aspects of the place you're bookshop crawling in, some will share personal stories attached to bookshops, basically it very much depends on the individual guide you have. Our events are run by bookshop enthusiasts, not city tour guides.
Due to the nature of bookshop crawling, our group Bookshop Crawls often involve a lot of walking! When you are sent information about where to meet up for your group you should also be given an indication of whether there will be public transport journeys involved and a vague idea of how much walking might be involved. You are always entirely free to leave the group at any point, and if you'd like to catch up later on (particularly with longer events) your leader will provide you with a way to contact them and find out where the group is later on. If you have any access needs please do let us know ahead of the event (email Bookshopcrawluk@gmail.com) or on the day and we will do our best to help you.
The bookshop crawl was founded by a socially anxious person so I always try to be aware, and make our volunteers aware, that it's not always easy for people to come along to groups, especially on their own. If you are anxious about coming to an event, please feel free to get in touch via email or DM and let me know beforehand, and I'll do my best to put you at ease! You can also always join in with our pre-event chat via Instagram Live (I'll be live and you can chat with your fellow bookshop crawlers in the chat box) and get to know some of your fellow bookshop crawlers that way so it doesn't feel so much like meeting up with strangers! I will say that in almost 9 years of bookshop crawl, everybody I've met on a group has been absolutely lovely, so the odds of that remaining the case are extremely good - book people are the best people after all.
There is no book buying requirement! If you're feeling put off of coming to a group because you don't want to buy loads of books, or because you do want to buy loads of books and are worried people will judge you, please don't be! Our groups are just for booklovers to get together and explore bookshops - nobody will be judging how much you're buying (or honestly even noticing unless you want to share with us!) and although we're always happy to chat about book hauls, if your haul is zero, thirty or anywhere in between, as long as you're enjoying the bookshops that's all we want!
If you'd like to join us for a group bookshop crawl at one of our bookshop crawls you can find out more and book tickets here.