History

Hay-on-Wye : A Magnificent Town of Books

We recently popped by one of my favourite towns in Britain. On the Welsh border, the town is situated in a lush, green valley with the expanse of Hay Bluff in the distance. The mighty Wye is a fun river to canoe and there are loads of interesting gift shops, quirky places to stay and tasty dining to be had in the small town’s restaurants. Amazing second-hand bookshops abound. For a booklover, this is like reaching Nirvana! An American, Richard Booth saw an opportunity here. Setting up a bookshop in the semi-derelict castle, he bought up unwanted books by the shelf-load (mainly from American libraries). This provided the stock and soon other shops joined forces – making it the second Hand Book capital of the world. Hay is host to a major prestigious literary festival. This was able to continue virtually during the worst of the COVID lockdowns, but I was worried if the town had suffered by not hosting a major tourist draw. The town is lovely as ever, I’m happy to report. If you are ever in the area, make an effort to stop by and support the local shops. If you are not nearby – change your plans! It really is an amazing area to spend time in. For a very brief video preview, here is my YouTube video: https://youtu.be/0G5n693qIT8

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