Tucked along the River Wye, this lovely, characterful town is a must-visit, famed for its collection of bookshops that have drawn bibliophiles (myself included) for miles around.

Surrounded by the gorgeous Brecon Beacons, the town is dominated by Hay Castle, a reminder of its feudal past as a border town. Nowadays, most of it lies as a ruin but it’s also home to – you guessed it – a book shop, albeit an outdoor with honest box for donations.

Wander through the town and you’ll find fabulous architecture, not just dedicated bookshops but also antique shops and a plethora of places to eat such as The Old Black Lion which has parts which are said to date back to the 13th century.

If books are your thing, come prepared with bags and a full purse! There are over twenty bookshops to be found, and it can be a little overwhelming to choose from, but my advice is to just go with the flow and allow yourself a good few hours to explore. A few notable ones to visit are Richard Booth’s Bookshop (he’s said to be the person who made Hay a bookish town), Murder and Mayhem (dedicated to all things gruesome) and Addyman Books.  

Should you be in Hay around the end of May, you’ll find the town celebrating its annual book festival which runs for two weeks. For such a small town it draws huge names, including Bill Clinton, Salman Rushdie and Hilary Mantel – so expect it to be very busy!

If you’re all booked out and need to stretch your legs, head to nearby Hay Bluff, part of the Black Mountains, for a bracing walk with incredible views over the verdant Welsh countryside.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottage in Wales here.

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