Tag: Hay-on-Wye

A Return: Hay-on-Wye, The Town of Bookshops

Hay-on-Wye is a little town in Wales, just right beside the English border. And you can find bookshops in literally ever corner, or every where you look, that’s why the place is often referred to as the “Town of Bookshops and of course, it’s also famous for its Hay-on-Wye Literature and Arts festival held every year, usually at the end of May till the first week of June.

The first time we visited, was about five years ago, before little T came along.  Since my husband couldn’t take much time off from work, we came here for our honeymoon and ever since, we’ve always wanted to go back and take little T with us, especially since she also seems to have the same love for books, we just hope she won’t out-grow this though.

This is little T in front of the Castle bookshop which is believed to have one of the oldest towers in Wales, dating back to 1121.  Today, it is a second-hand bookshop known for its antiquarian books. When we first came here years ago, you could still go inside the castle, but now it’s either being reconstructed or they’ve just closed-it off to visitors, because you’ll find the books at the side of the castle.  They’ve also added some little gift shops.  And of course, they still have their honesty bookshop on the castle-grounds.

And there she is, peering inside the castle which is empty now.

Inside Addyman bookshop where she bought a “Spooky Book”.

Browsing through the thousands of books at the Hay Cinema Bookshop.

And this is the Richard Booth bookshop.  He’s also known to be the “father” of Hay-on-Wye, the town of books and in 1977, he declared it an independent kingdom.

I love his bookshop.  There are loads of comfortable chairs you can just sit on and read a bit, or even just rest your weary feet as little T is doing in the above photo.  They’ve also added a lovely little cafe inside.

And upstairs, you will find shelves upon shelves of beautiful Folio books.  If you come and visit, this book-shop must be on the top of your list!

And for those who love Murder Mysteries,  this is your stop.

This is mine.  Had a lovely conversation with the bookseller at the Poetry bookshop about the poet Bernadette Mayer.

I love this little town of books, in spite feeling a bit disappointed with a couple of things. 1.  The Kilvert’s Inn where we stayed somehow felt a bit run-down.  The room was lovely though.  Weeks before our trip, we actually had to chase them-up to book our accommodation.  We couldn’t do it online, and every time we phoned, no one seemed to know anything.  As for the food, let’s just say every time we asked for something, they didn’t have it.

The room was lovely though.  It had the beautiful views of the Welsh countryside and the most enormous king-sized bed, the three of us actually fit in – comfortably too!

Little T reading her new book.

The lovely view outside our window.

And the other thing we didn’t like was that, some of the booksellers didn’t seem too keen to have little ones around their shops.  One even said, just as we paid and were about to step-out of her shop and reminded little T to use her umbrella because it started to rain outside – “Little girls always make that sound.  I find it really annoying”.   We just looked at her and left.  I was shocked and felt that it was a really rude thing to say to a costumer!

I know there really are some people who really can’t stand children.  That’s why there are holidays with the “no kids policy”, or some restaurants with the no children under 5 rule.  I hate that.  As if kids are vermin to be avoided at all cost.

Anyway, of course we won’t let this little incident cloud our love for Hay.  Would we come back?  Definitely, perhaps when little T is older!  Hopefully, by then that bookseller has retired.

Have you been to Hay-on-Wye?

Would you be interested to visit a town of books?


Have a lovely week folks!

Hay-on-Wye – A Book Lover’s Destination

As I’ve mentioned in many blog posts, my husband and I love books so it seemed only natural that we would end up “honey-mooning” in Hay-on-Wye in Wales, which is located just along the English border and is also known as the town of books.

After getting married in Bristol, the next day we hopped in our car which we found decorated with lipstick drawings of hearts …

and the obligatory “just married” words  on our car windows.  I remember some cars honked our way, which we translated to ‘Congratulations’, or on hindsight, could’ve also meant ‘Get out of our way!”

So off we drove to Hay-on-Wye with the Blackdown mountains as backdrop, made famous by Tolkien in the Lord of the Rings.  We arrived well before sun-down into the little town that’s known for its two dozen bookshops dotted all over. It is also actually famous for its literary festival in June that brings over 80,000 visitors hoping to catch their favourite authors/personalities or just to browse through its bookshops.

Among my favourite was the poetry bookshop, I was hoping to get a copy of Nika Turbina, the Russian poet known for her haunting poems penned when she was  just ten years old, but sadly, they didn’t seem to have any copy of her books.

And there was also a Murder and Mayhem bookshop, perfect for people who love mystery or crime novels.

As for bibliophiles, they can browse through hundreds of books to their heart’s content at the Richard Booth bookshop.  Incidentally, Richard Booth is also known as the man who wanted Hay-on-Wye to be an independent kingdom, and even declared himself the monarch.

Then there’s the Castle Bookshop that is difficult to miss because it is in the centre of the town and has shelves upon shelves of books in its garden.

And if you can’t find the book you’re looking for at the castle bookshop, you might just be able to find them in the bookshop next door, or the next.

Don’t be surprised to see your favourite characters in the shop, they’re just browsing too and it would be nice and polite if you just left them alone and not ask for their autographs or worse, have your photo taken beside them.  Remember, they value their privacy too 😉

My husband and I left with our pile of books.  We’ve been wanting to go back and introduce little T to this town of books, do you know I don’t even remember seeing a Children’s bookshop there.  But I’m sure they do, there you go, I’ve just found another reason to go back 🙂  And if you haven’t visited, you absolutely have to put Hay-on-Wye on your  list!

This post is linked-up with PODcast’s What’s the Story.

And the Oliver’s Madhouse

Hope everyone has a lovely week ahead of them!