Visit Hay on Wye – town of books

Visit Hay on Wye   town of books

If you’ve visited the towns of Wales that border England such as Brecon, near the Black mountains, you’ll know that this area is fantastic for those who love outdoor activities. You can hire mountain bikes, canoe down the river Wye, go horseriding, climbing and abseiling at one of the numerous outdoor activity centres, not to mention the wonderful walking around the area.

Visit Hay on Wye   town of books

What’s a little more surprising to find such a cultural hub in the small town of Hay-on-Wye that we visited recently. Hay-on-Wye has all the charms of an old border town. The old stone shops and market place, the old mansion on the hill, the pleasant inns and the galleries and gift shops. But what Hay-on-Wye is really known for is books. In fact, it brands itself as being the Town of Books.

In the 1960s, the first second hand book shop opened in Hay-on-Wye, and now the town has 30 bookshops selling mainly second hand books, with over a million books on different subjects on sale. An extension to this bookish activity is the Hay Festival of Literature, an annual event every May, where authors, writers, poets gather to talk and hear about literature. In recent years the festival has branched out to include music and entertainment as well as literature, although they always try to have some big name speakers from the world of literature.

Visit Hay on Wye   town of books

Naturally during the festival in May, accomodation gets booked up well ahead, so make sure you pre-book if you’d like to attend. But if you enjoy leafing through old books, or just to visit a very pleasant little town, then visit at any time of year.

Photos by Heatheronhertravels

Visit Hay on Wye   town of books

5 thoughts on “Visit Hay on Wye – town of books

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  3. J Ferros

    Hay really is a unique place. Being a border town it mixes the County set of Herefordshire with the Hill Farmers of Wales, which creates a certain eclectic atmosphere on its own. Add to that the 60s bohemians, the book-lovers and the media types drawn by the Festival and the stunning (uncrowded) countryside and you have a very special area. You can see more info and videos about Hay at

  4. Karen Bryan

    J Ferros – thanks for your comment and links to more info about Hay. Border counties make for an interesting mix. I’m Scottish but now live in Berwick upon Tweed in Northumberland, 3 miles from the border with Scotand, I call the area Scengland.

  5. J Ferros

    I think the ‘uneasy’ truce of many border areas can lead to something closer to identity. Travelling the length of the Welsh borders from North to South one feels that the towns and people share greater similarities in culture and outlook than one would moving away from the border into their respective countries. Is that something you have noticed in Scengland?

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