Hay-on-Wye

Located on the Welsh side of the English/Welsh border in the county of Powys, Hay-on-Wye is a town famous for its link with books. Records show that at last count there are around 30 bookshops in the town, many stocking specialist or antique books. There are specialists in antique maps, detective fiction and horror, poetry, and childrens books.

Sitting alongside the many bookshops, you’ll also find art galleries, craft shops, antique shops, writing circles, and The Hay Craft centre, where you can purchase homemade fudge, art supplies, greetings cards, jewellery, and visit the Glass Blowing and Cartoon Studios. Hay-on-Wye is in every sense a creative town, and two if its key events promote and celebrate the arts.

Hay Festival Of Literature And Arts is a truly international affair, attracting visitors from across the UK, Europe and America. 85,000 people enjoy 500 events each year, featuring musicians, writers, comedians, and politicians. Events suitable for adults, schools, and families are all part and parcel of this event, while ‘How The Light Gets In’, a music and philosophy festival, attracts an older crowd.

Attending events isn’t the only reason for visiting this part of the border counties though, the town also has a lively Thursday market. Sample or buy local preserves, cheese, bread, fresh fish and game, or choose from an array of antiques and bric-a-brac items. Other amenities in the town and surrounding areas include around 11 pubs, 28 restaurants, cafes, and tea rooms, and a good choice of hotels, inns, self-catering cottages, and caravan/camping sites. If you’re an active type, then the official Hay-on-Wye website lists details of companies offering tuition or facilities for a wide range of outdoor activities, from white water rafting and mountain biking, to pony trekking, golf, and climbing.

There is a good collection of things to see and do in this so-called ‘Book Town’ which mixes traditional countryside pursuits, with creativity and a strong appreciation for not only the arts, but the talents of local creatives and producers in several different industries. It’s also known for being connected to a Royal Mail story, which revolves around the company recommending people address their post as ‘via Hereford’ or ‘Herefordshire’ instead of addressing it Powys. Who would have thought a town would be known for ‘postal reasons’!

If you’d like to visit Hay-on-Wye, then the nearest train station can be found 22 miles away in Hereford. There’s also a Hereford to Brecon bus service which stops in the town, and numerous taxi services if you arrive by air to airports in the South West. Alternatively, if you want to arrive by car, there is a route from Birmingham via the M5 and A49, and several routes from London and Oxford.  Maps and transport details are available from the tourist information centre, or the Hay-on-Wye website. Why not have a read and consider a visit?