A new book shop promising "a real, magical experience" has opened its doors in a Suffolk village with a familiar face at the helm. 

Byron and The Bard at 72 Water Street in Lavenham is the brainchild of first-time bookshop owner Holly Bellingham, the first woman to sit on the board of Ipswich Town FC, who hopes the store will become a hub for all ages to explore the world of literature.

The shop opened its doors on Saturday morning and offers a range of genres from children's books and graphic novels to mystery, fantasy and autobiographies.

East Anglian Daily Times: Holly Bellingham (centre) with husband Simon and Jemma Mcknight at the new bookshop Byron and The BardHolly Bellingham (centre) with husband Simon and Jemma Mcknight at the new bookshop Byron and The Bard (Image: Newsquest)

Of the venture, Ms Bellingham said: "People have said to me it is wonderful, and others have said that I am completely mad and that nobody reads books anymore, but actually I think they do. 

"I think it is particularly important for young people, especially boys where it is considered not very cool, to get them to realise through things like sports books and graphic novels that reading can be fun and it is not a chore. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Inside Byron and The Bard in Water Street, LavenhamInside Byron and The Bard in Water Street, Lavenham (Image: Newsquest)

"I want the shop to be full of life and a real, magical experience." 

Ms Bellingham, who has a long history as a businesswoman, officially opened Byron and The Bard alongside her husband, Simon, and Jemma Mcknight, whom she described as "the spine of the bookshop".

They began renting the shop in April and worked for six months to renovate and decorate before the opening.  

East Anglian Daily Times: Outside Byron and The BardOutside Byron and The Bard (Image: Newsquest)

The team plans to host book readings and signings at the shop, as well as linking up with local schools to provide reading sessions.

The shop also sells book-related merchandise including wands, handbags shaped like novels, and Byron and The Bard clothing. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Sign writing in the shop was carried out by Wayne TanswellSign writing in the shop was carried out by Wayne Tanswell (Image: Newsquest)

East Anglian Daily Times: The first floor of the bookshopThe first floor of the bookshop (Image: Newsquest)

Ms Bellingham said: "We are careful about what we buy and where it comes from, and tracking it back as far as we can.

"Our textiles all come from a lovely company in Cornwall who are very transparent about their modern slavery and sustainability policy, and all the furniture has either been handmade from sustainable woods or upholstered and recycled."