Take a Seat: London's BookBenches Are All Kinds of Artistic Cool

Sure, nothing beats a hammock for kicking back with a favorite book, but if you’re going to go bench, you can’t beat these new seats in London: 50 open-book-shaped benches decorated by prominent artists and illustrators in the style of some of the UK’s most enduring literary characters.

James Bond. Paddington Bear. Sherlock Holmes. Pip. Peter Pan. Bridget Jones. Jeeves. Mrs Dalloway. That guy from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (keep on keeping on, Arthur). Oh so important Ernest.

In terms of public art trails, some cities go cow, others go elephant, and NYC had its Fabergé Easter egg hunt, but in London, it’s all about the books — makes sense, because, you know, Shakespeare. Dreamed up the National Literacy Trust and Wild in Art in an effort to encourage more reading, the benches can be found in four different trails through Bloomsbury, Greenwich, Riverside, and City districts, all areas deeply associated with writers and writing.

Visitors can discover Books About Town this summer through mid-September, at which point the art piece/benches will be auctioned off for charity.

Related: London Cheat Sheet

Alex Rider, Mary Poppins, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy BookBenches in Books About Town (Photo: National Literary Trust)

James Bond bench (Photo: National Literary Trust)

Mrs Dalloway bench (Photo: National Literary Trust)

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species bench (Photo: National Literary Trust)

Brick Lane bench (Photo: National Literary Trust)

Fever Pitch bench (Photo: National Literary Trust)

Jeeves and Wooster Bench (Photo: National Literary Trust)

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