Tuesday, 13 May 2014

A trip to the Town of Books


I'm back from a lovely long weekend in Wales and wanted to share some photos taken in a place known as the 'town of books' - the beautiful Hay-on-Wye. Hay lies on the Welsh border near Hereford, and plays host to the popular Hay Literary Festival at the beginning of June each year. If you're a fan of second-hand bookshops, antiques and cute cafes this is the place for you! It even has a crumbling castle atop a hill.




My favourite of the many bookshops we visited there was Richard Booth's bookshop - which was also home to a cafe AND a cinema! When the rest of our group headed off on a long (drizzly) walk in search of a stone circle, I was glad I'd chosen to stay and explore the town when I came across this treasure trove. Inside was row upon row of books on every subject you could imagine (there was even a shelf dedicated solely to books about badgers!)


Bibliophile Richard Booth, who started the shop in the 60s certainly sounds like a character, according to this source:
"On April 1, 1977, disdainful of big business and government indifference to the fate of little towns in Britain, (Booth) declared Hay-on-Wye an independent state. He crowned himself king, issued passports for carefree travel, a local currency and petitioned the local town council to ban automobiles in favor of bringing back the horse to create employment for blacksmiths, grooms and stable-boys. When a fire destroyed much of the castle in the early 1980's "King Richard" was forced to sell many of his properties."
Richard Booth's bills itself as the world's largest second-hand bookshop (although I'm not sure if this spot my have since been taken?) It's definitely one of my all time favourite book shops and the perfect place to spend a rainy Sunday. I am just sad I can't make this event coming up in their cinema - puppet maker Peter Firmin talks about a lifetime spent creating characters such as Bagpuss, Noggin the Nog and the Clangers!

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5 comments

  1. Oh this looks so wonderful! I've never been to Hay, I'd love to go. I'd be worried I might not leave, however!

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  2. My mum, my brother and I make regular 'pilgrimages' to Hay. We've even named the sore neck you get from tipping your head to browse bookshelves "Hay neck"! Only ten days until we go again, for the festival, I can't wait.

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    1. Ha that's great! Having looked through the festival brochure I'd really like to go one year too, it looks brilliant. Oh and I'd recommend eating at the deli in the centre of town (can't remember its name now though but you may have been before?) I had a yummy veggie burger there :-)

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  3. Umm......this looks utterly perfect. How have i just learnt about this place! Did you pick up any books whilst you were there?

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