Kernaghan Books

Polly Checkland Harding

Kernaghan Books is not a new business – it downsized from a larger premises in Southport to take up residence in Liverpool’s city centre. Though this might seem like a diminishment, it has meant the consolidation of the collection and, more significantly, a place in and under the wing of the Bluecoat.

It’s the sort of move that can safeguard an independent bookshop’s survival – Kernaghans has become part of a hub that provides a café, gallery and retail spaces so that they don’t have to. The bookshop will attract readers in search of a creative destination, as well as passersby, whilst managing to retain its independent feel. Which is, in this case, a closely-shelved, archive kind of atmosphere, with low ceilings and dusky corners. There are revolving stacks packed with earnestly-titled hardbacks, rather beautifully arranged corner shelves and a wicker eel trap hanging from the back wall – ask owner Bryan Kernaghan for the story behind that one.

Bryan is something of an expert advice celebrity; his extensive knowledge saw him feature in The History Channel’s “Pawn Stars UK”. He was eager to emphasise that Kernaghans can source book requests not included in its current stock, a boon for those with something specific in mind. Equally the bookshop has over 3,000 of its titles available to buy online, if you need to go away and have a think – or are simply drilled to buy at a distance. But it is worth popping in to sift through its collection of antiquated photos, for instance (the names of people featured are carefully inscribed on the back, where they’re known). Details like these, along with Kernaghans symbiotic relationship with the Bluecoat, are good signs for its survival. It seems that, although bookshops are struggling with more than the usual number of challenges facing any small business, the key is in keeping things personal.

School LaneLiverpoolL1 3BX View map
Telephone: 0151 703 9077 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday10:30am - 5:30pm
  • Wednesday10:30am - 5:30pm
  • Thursday10:30am - 5:30pm
  • Friday10:30am - 5:30pm
  • Saturday10:30am - 5:30pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near Kernaghan Books

An image captured from overhead of two men embracing. One is seated, and the other is kneeling.
On the other side at FACT

‘On the other side’ at FACT presents the work of three artists, thoroughly examining themes of authority, power and control.

free entry
Old Dock Tours, Liverpool

The Old Dock tour is a treat for younger and older visitors alike, fans of Liverpool’s maritime past, and anybody curious about local history.

£8.50 with concessions

Where to go near Kernaghan Books

City Centre

Once a school, it’s now one of the city’s liveliest arts hubs, an art gallery showing work by major inter/ national artists that also stages regular performances, readings and more.

Photo of the shop's front window
City Centre
Bluecoat Display Centre

The Bluecoat Display Centre in Liverpool is a contemporary craft shop – and it’s been doing its thing for over 50 years – despite funding cuts and recessions.

Probe Records record shop in Liverpool
City Centre
Probe Records

For more than 40 years, Probe Records has stocked an immense selection of music and provided a hangout for vinyl addicts and musicians alike.

Mamasan Liverpool
City Centre
Mamasan Liverpool

Mamasan is a new three-floor South East Asian inspired restaurant and bar based in Liverpool One. It also has exciting cook-at-home options.

City Centre
Epstein Theatre

The Epstein Theatre in Liverpool, formerly known as the Neptune Theatre, was renamed in honour of The Beatles’ Manager Brian Epstein.


Bacino pizza and cicchetti bring a slice of Naples cuisine to Liverpool. With tasty dishes and lots of drinks options.

Culture Guides

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Cinema in Manchester and the North

From the latest installment in the Mad Max franchise, to silent movie masterpieces we highlight the best new releases and big screen classics showing near you this month.