The BookBenches of London

Lucky Londoners (and visitors) have a new option for free fun in their city—a hunt for the latest art installations: Books about Town – Around London with Fifty BookBenches. Designed to look like a flipped open paperback and painted by artists to display scenes from popular tales, these books are scattered throughout the city, providing both form and function for locals and tourists alike. A partnership between the National Literacy Trust and Wild in Art, the benches “opened” on July 2 and will remain through September 15.

Here are a few of my favorites:

War Horse. Artist: Rae Smith (original illustration) Created by Gerard Strong
Mary Poppins. Artist: Darel Seow
Around the World in 80 Days. Artist: Valerie Osment


One of the best parts about traveling, in my humble opinion, is the opportunity to invest in a few new books for the trip. So I love this idea of sprinkling books throughout a city (especially one known for it’s literary prominence) and encouraging the public to interact with them. In some cases this means literally: certain benches will have themed-events, including a Meercat Flashmob, Mary Poppins Book Giveaway, and an attempt to break the world record of people dressed up as Sherlock (will Benedict Cumberbatch be there? One can only hope!)

Books About Town will run through mid-September—and if you happen upon a bench you can’t imagine life without, all the benches will be auctioned off in October to raise funds for the National Literacy Trust’s vital work to raise literacy levels in the UK.

All images via The National Literacy Trust