After a short trip to London, England, I wanted to share some spots I found to purchase postcards.
The Cheapest Cards: Piccadilly Circus had several cheap touristy souvenir shops. The least expensive postcards I found were 15 for 1£ at a shop just a few blocks away from the circus (roundabout) near the clock at Leicester (pronounced “Lester”) Square.
Best Touristy Cards: The Tower of London gift shops had the best touristy cards if you are not looking for cheap view cards. The Tower is 900 years old and rich in royal history. The gift shop outside the gate has as good of a selection of cards as the ones inside (there may be slightly different cards inside, but for the most part it is the same). I was pressed for time here and did not have the opportunity to purchase any cards.
Best Clever / Graphic Tourist Cards: Paperchase had some delightful postcards that were not viewcards for 0.60£ each. I found these at the Kings Cross station, but there are several other stores around town.
Non-Tourist Cards: Ryman is a office supply / stationery chain. They also sell some non-touristy postcards for 0.80£ each.
The Victoria & Albert Museum had a nice collection of postcards relating to their exhibits for 0.60£ (There is no admission fee to the museum by the way.)
Shakespeare’s Globe had a few Shakespeare themed cards – not many, but for a Shakespeare fan probably worth a visit. You do not have to pay admission to the exhibit / theater to go to the gift shop. The gift shop is around the corner from the Swan on Emerson Street.
Royal Mail Postoffices do sell postcards, although I never saw any on display. I finally asked a clerk when I went to purchase stamps, and he brought out a stack of postcard sets. Also note that if you want collectible stamps, you have to be persistent. There are usually other stamps available, you don’t have to accept the standard stamp with the Queen’s profile.
Where have you found interesting postcards in London?
I started collecting postcards when I was about 5 years old. My only Grandfather lived in Germany, and it was a fun way for us to correspond and have some sort of relationship. I adored the "Hilde" postcards, and he soon started sending me a different one each time he wrote. I had a special bond with my paternal Grandfather, although I only met him a few times. A few years later my adopted Grandparents in Denver started sending me postcards from their vacations, which were mostly road-trips around the USA. My collection continued to grow and eventually filled two binders. As my collection grew, my mother, who also collected postcards when she was young, started adding postcards to my binders from her collection. I had so much fun dreaming of traveling to exotic places! I would sort and re-sort the postcards by type, location, like/dislike, etc. It wasn't until I was in my 20's, when I sorted the postcards chronologically by sender, that I realized there were a few postcards from my maternal grandmother to my mother. One such postcard was sent to my mother as a teenager who was visiting family in Berlin. My Grandmother wrote and asked her to come home early because my Grandfather's illness had taken a turn for the worse. My Grandmother died a few months later of an unrelated disease, and my Grandfather several weeks after that. I also found a postcard from a ship that my paternal Grandfather sailed on to immigrate to the USA. He sent it to his parents and explains that when he got seasick, the crew told him to eat rollmops and drink beer and hot cocoa (yes, pickled herring + beer + chocolate). My current postcard collection is divided into two sets. One set is the pictures I like sorted by theme - exotic places, animals that make me smile, costumes that I dream of making. The other set is from family and pieces together our story. I still send postcards when I travel and am an active trader.
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