About us

Red Lion Books is an independent book shop in Colchester’s High Street.  We have an unshakable belief in the value of physical books and their continuing, rightful place at the heart of the town. We support literary excellence enthusiastically in both adults and children’s sections. And we do this by filling our shop with a large range of  the best new titles each week, thoughtfully selected and attractively displayed, combined with a carefully curated stock holding.

The shop is firmly embedded in the cultural life of Colchester and beyond. We have strong relationships with local schools, supplying books, supporting author visits and providing book fairs – particularly around World Book Day in March each year. We host in store author events and support local authors.  We are involved with author events outside the shop, both in Colchester and further afield,  travelling around the county to provide books for literary events through our close involvement with the Essex Book Festival.

The shop was founded in 1978 by Peter and Sarah Donaldson. Many people over the years have reckoned it was a mad idea but decades later they still own and run the shop. It opened originally in Red Lion Yard, in a unit converted from the stables of the old coaching Inn. In 1985 the shop moved over the High Street to its present site and in 1989 the basement was converted to provide more sales space.

Also downstairs is our gallery area where we have regularly changing exhibitions. Over the last few years we have mounted many exhibitions of painting, photographs, prints, sculpture and textile art featuring the work of some of the areas most talented artists.

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