Saturday, 12 February 2011

Our visit to Hay-on-Wye

Way way back in November we took a short break in the Forest of Dean. The weather was terrible but we enjoyed being holed up in a cottage and since we were less than an hours drive from Hay in Wales we went for a visit on one of the only dry days during the whole trip.

Hay-On-Wye is famous for having over 30 bookshops packed into a tiny village in the middle of the country. The majority of the bookshops sell second hand or specialist books making it somewhat of a haven for bibliophiles.

The village itself is very pretty and there are quite a few teashops and cafes which cater for the tourists that flock there. The bookshops themselves look tiny from the outside but when you enter you are surrounded by thousands of books. A typical bookshop has 2-3 floors crammed with books of all descriptions, shelves go all around and up the staircases and the floorspaces are often so narrow that one of us would have to stand outside shops with the buggy while the other person went in to browse.

Our favorite shop is the one pictured above. It wasn't our favourite because of its selection of books or its creepy basement (think the library in Ghostbusters) but rather because the three floors all had very buggy friendly wide floor space and because they had a little area where children are encouraged to sit and look through the books on offer (then nag their parents to buy them)

In the end we came away with only 6 books between us. When there are THAT many books, quite often in no particular order, it can get overwelming. My finds were purchased from the smallest shop we visited. The books aren't eaxactly cheap for second hand books and prices ranged from £2.50 to £6 but the fun is in looking around, enjoying the atmosphere and eating the homemade jam in the teashops.

Posted by Jess


  1. Oh wow! That sounds like so much fun! :) I want to go there.

  2. What a perfect way to spend the day! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I loved my day in Hay on Wye too, but I bought very few books from the shops - all the ones I wanted were nearer £10 in price :-( I ended up buying quite a lot of books from the sheds/shelves by the church. They were all much cheaper - not sure if they have those in Winter though? I hope to go back this summer as even without buying things it is very good to browse.

  4. I live in Wales about an hours drive away from Hay and I cannot believe I do not go there often :( I <3 Hay :D

  5. Sounds fun :)
    Lyme Regis in Dorset is similar in that it has loads of second hand bookshops, but isn't as well known. I spent a fortune there a few years back!

  6. Hay on Wye sounds like a dream or bookworm heaven!! Whole towns devoted to books!! Wow!!

    On our big UK trip, the main focus was on Beatle sites due to my BeatleManiac hub-- I only got visit one garden. Next time, the focus will be on gardens and bookshops!

    Hay on Wye and Lyme Regis-- here I come!! Eventually...

  7. I've read about Hay on Wye a few times and am liking it lots! Would be great if I can go there one day. I bet it'd be a most unforgettable trip. :)

  8. Rachel - I bet on a sunny day its even better.

    Joann - no problem!

    Jackie - the castle one was open but it was so cold that we didnt want to hang around long!

    Asamum - I think I'd be there all the tme LOL stunnng part of the country btw

    Sam - we go to Dorest quite often (Durdle Dor etc) so I will take a trip to Lyme Regis next time I'm there, thanks for the info!

    Lesa - they do a massive book festival there are well in the summer but I think it gets packed out.

    Josette - its really good there, shame I didnt pick up more books.

  9. Hay-on-Wye sounds like the sort of place I would enjoy visiting. Did you know it is famous also for its Literary Festival?

  10. 30 bookstores in one little village? Sounds like heaven to me.

  11. This place sounds fantastic! I'm jealous.

  12. What a great looking and sounding place; lucky you.

  13. Amongst my list of places still to visit are: Morocco, Istanbul, Grand Canyon, and Hay-on-Wye.

    It might be my choice of place to die.

    But £6 for a 2nd-hand book? yikes.
    Still, as you suggest, browsing is fun too.