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The Town of Books: Why every book lover should visit Hay-On-Wye

If you’re like me, and you love books – the smell of them, the real touch of a paperback, the plethora of stories – you will love Hay-On-Wye.

You’ve probably heard of Hay-On-Wye for it’s annual Hay Festival. A two week event that celebrates literature, authors and writing. The festival regularly brings big names to the Welsh countryside, such as Stephen Fry and Margaret Atwood.

But there’s another reason why Hay-On-Wye has such a charm. It’s known as the town of books.

It’s common to walk the winding streets of Hay and come across different bookshops, all with something different to offer. The great thing about the Hay-On-Wye bookshops is the independent feel they all have. Cosy old buildings, with stacks upon stacks of classic novels, new releases, second hand books and your favourite hardbacks. Walk through the door of a bookshop and be greeted by the person behind the counter. A friendly hello exchanged makes you feel like you’re part of the community.

Browse the shelves for political reads, autobiographies, and cooking books. Buy yourself classic fiction novels, of all genres, or, if mystery and crime is your thing, take a visit to the specialist Murder and Mayhem shop on Lion Street.

Inside this shop, which is my favourite, you can come across rows upon rows of Agatha Christie novels. Not a fan of Christie? No problem! Take a walk upstairs and browse novels from leading names in crime, such as Peter James and Ian Rankin. Downstairs, walk past the chalked line body on the floor, and find yourself in the true crime section.

Where should you stay?

There are plenty of B&B’s available in Hay-On-Wye, and even some nearby B&Bs, if you feel like staying like a local. When I went, I was there for the Hay Festival, so naturally chances of booking into a B&B were slim, due to the popularity. I managed to find a yurt, just a five minute walk from the town. I stayed in a luxury yurt, and it was fantastic.

I’m not much of a camper, but I was up for the experience. I had accidentally booked a luxury yurt, but I’m glad I did! I had electricity, a bed, and a door that locked. I would definitely do it again!

Where to eat?

Naturally, there are plenty of places to sit down, relax, and sample some good food. Hay has plenty of pubs, all of which have a quaint charm. Eat a traditional pub lunch, or stop by the burger shop, on Lion Street, which is where I ate. If you’re looking for ales and lager, the Rose and Crown might be for you.

I would definitely recommend visiting Hay-On-Wye. The people are friendly, and the bookshops are magnificent. If I could, I would move to live there in a heart beat.

Have you been to Hay-On-Wye? Let me know what you thought!

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