Friday, 15 August 2014

Hay-on-Wye - Book Heaven!

It’s always a delight to visit the Hay-on-Wye book town. Its position on the border between England and Wales makes it the perfect place to set out on an exploration of the beautiful border country

A mug of tea and a quick study of the map is always first on the agenda. I know where the shops are, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared!

The main attraction for me is, of course, the numerous bookshops. We were only in the town for half a day, but I've been before so made straight for my favourites, one of which is Backfold Books & Bygones, an interesting mix of general & children's books, plus postcards & ephemera. 

Backfold Books & Bygones (Oxford Road)

Someone at The Addyman Annexe (27 Castle Street) has a fine sense of humour!
Kindles are banned from The Kingdom of Hay – Amen!

I noticed the ‘No Parking Sign’ on the side of the building when I took the previous ‘photo but what I didn't notice until later was the message chalked above it.
Buy a Book - At any time.  

If you like your bookshops big, be sure to visit The Hay Cinema Bookshop 
From the Guardian Independent Bookshop Directory... A cathedral of books, an enormous building, stuffed to the rafters with second-hand books on old library shelving.  

I could happily spend a week browsing the shelves but my husband doesn't enjoy book shopping, so I made a beeline for the children's section and avoid the rest. 
A tiny corner of the Hay Cinema Bookshop. 


We picked a perfect July day for our visit.

If books are not your thing, you will find plenty of other distractions.

Quirky vintage shops, 




delightful flowers


and charming streets to explore. 



I didn't get much time in this interesting shop and am kicking myself because I can’t remember the name. I do remember the owner saying it was named after one of his dogs. Looking at the map, I think it might be Belle Books on Broad Street?


From Hay-On-Wye it was on to Stella Books at Tintern in the beautiful Wye Valley.

With around 30,000 out-of-print books this is one shop you can’t afford to miss. 

The river with Stella Books in the distance.


After a good sleep and a delicious breakfast at this fantastic b&b, we were ready for more adventures.

We weren't intending to visit Hay this year hence the shortness of our trip. We were en route to Buckinghamshire, but it was raining there so we went to Hay first. If you are thinking of going, you really need to allow more time to visit all the shops. A week should just about do it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just before I close I want to share this beautiful gift received in the post last week.

Thank you very, very much Nicole I was so excited when the postman called, and I love every single thing.

For those of you who haven’t met Nicole, she is a very talented author and illustrator living and working in Holland; See more here 

Nicole and I have not met, but we have corresponded over a number of years, and I count myself very lucky to have her as a friend.
  

I am also grateful for all my blogging friends, thank you for visiting.

36 comments:

  1. Wonderful photographs Barabara :) Looks like a heavenly place with numerous book shops..Loved the beautiful lanes..:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nagini, it really is a beautiful place and visiting on a sunny day made it even more special. The little lanes around the centre are gorgeous, and they alone make a visit worthwhile.
      Thank you for your comment, have a great weekend, Barbara.

      Delete
  2. Oh dear Barbara, I am in BOOK HEAVEN! YES!!!!!

    I want so badly to go to a place like this...next year, I will be in my beloved France with some students. After my duties with them, I hope my husband will meet me there to do some touring of the northern part of France and MAYBE England and the Netherlands. I must go here, and I'd love to pop in to see Kate and Nash at their bookstore! I'd love to meet you!

    My husband surprised me yesterday with an on-line purchase of the sweetest vintage children's book! It is called, "The Story of Buttons" by Alf Evers and pictures by Marguerite Kirmse. What a darling book about a Scottie terrier that finds out who he is in the pack.

    I LOVE these bookstores that do NOT allow (or want) Kindles. There are some thing that are just "sacred" and a pulp read is one of them, to me!!!

    HAPPY DAY my dear! Anita

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Anita, how exciting to think you might be coming for a visit – it would be lovely if we could meet. I’ve forgotten where Kate and Nash are, I know you’ve told me, but it has gone out of my head. I’m sure we could get together somewhere. We are not that far from Hay on Wye so if you are thinking of making that one of the places on your itinerary we could perhaps meet there, or in Somerset if you come this way.

      I found a picture of ‘The story of buttons online’ – it looks adorable, what a lovely present and how nice to receive it as a surprise.

      Happy day to you too!

      Delete
    2. Hello dear Barbara! Yes, I 'd love to see if I could get up your way while in Europe next late May! And you saw sweet Buttons! I adore the style of illustration and it is that style that I am fond of the most for both viewing and illustrating myself. My husband is so kind and also enjoys vintage animal stories!

      Have a lovely afternoon, Anita

      Delete
    3. Hi Anita, we will be looking out for you! Just let us know where you are likely to be, and we will try to get to you. I say we because Terry (hubby) will be doing the driving. xxx

      Delete
  3. What a gorgeous place. I still have ten days of my holiday. Time to saddle up the bike I think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Roger, do you have room for a little one on the pillion? No, actually forget that I’m rather a coward when it comes to motorbikes! I hope the sun keeps shining for you, enjoy the rest of your holiday. Barbara

      Delete
  4. I absolutely love Hay on Wye! It's such a long journey to get there, but well worth it when you finally do. Funnily enough, my father was talking about going there for a visit last week, but my mother didn't fancy it....and she's the book lover.

    There used to be an 'honesty book shop' there, where you browse, select your book and leave money in a little tin. I still have the one book I bought there back in '97.

    A perfectly lovely outing, and how sweet to receive a surprise all the way from Holland.

    Have a perfect weekend Barbara x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell your dad I will go with him if he wants some company! I would visit every week if I could. I think the Honesty Bookshop is still there although I didn’t visit it this time.

      The sun is shining so it looks as though we might have another lovely weekend. I’m off to a book fair shortly so must get myself ready. I hope you are doing something nice. xx

      Delete
  5. I love these pictures! It looks like a magical place to visit. Any place with so many delightful bookstores must be magical! I definitely hope to visit one day. :)

    So glad you received such a nice parcel in the mail. What a great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You would enjoy it Stephanie, anyone who loves books must visit at least once in their lifetime :-)

      Delete
  6. What a fun outing in a picturesque place. I love the B & B. Looks so cozy. I would definitely need a week there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Darlene, the B&B was wonderful, lovely gardens to sit in and fresh hen's eggs for breakfast. Perfection!

      Delete
  7. I always love your beautiful pictures!! It feels sometimes like the places you visit are fairytales!! So different than life here in the States.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Teressa! I sometimes think I’m living a fairytale on some of these visits. There are some truly beautiful places in the world, and I’m sure some of those are in the States. It’s been a long time since we visited America

      Delete
  8. Oh my goodness, another place to put on my list of must visits. Given that we are such a small island it is quite frightening to think how long this list of mine actually is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It’s the same for me Tracy. There are loads of places I’ve yet to visit in the UK never mind the rest of the world.

      Delete
  9. SO charming! And I loved that sign. "Kindles are banned!" LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Stephanie, I loved the sign and just had to include it in the post. There is a nice coffee shop opposite, so I took the picture while sitting in the sunshine sipping a coffee – bliss!

      Delete
  10. The real Hogsmeade! I knew it existed!!! What an adventure. It looks like such a wonderful place, and I hope to visit someday- I think I'll need more than a week though!!! :) ~ Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jess, I’m sure you would love Hay and the countryside around it. You could easily spend a week (or more) just in the bookshops. My dream is to stay in the town so that I can take a leisurely stroll around then all. There are lots of b&b’s in the town so it should be easy to turn that dream into a reality one of these days. Thanks for your visit, Barbara.

      Delete
  11. What a place. I would spend 1-2 weeks going through each shop and staying at that beautiful B&B. Of course, of course, buy a book at anytime! Your friend, Nicole, has sent some very pretty goodies. I'm off to visit her website. I count myself very lucky to be one of your friends here, Barbara!

    (Oh, and do you remember I won Susan's book from one of your blog posts? I just finished reading it two days ago, and it was quite an adventure! I'll write a review on it soon.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Claudine, I do remember you winning Susan’s book and am looking forward to reading your review.
      Let me know when you are at the B&B, and I will join you. Two weeks looking around bookshops with a fellow book lover would be wonderful! : )
      Thank you for your friendship Claudine, I really appreciate it. Barbara.

      Delete
  12. I am missing the action from past few days and the reason is...I was a little too busy with life :)
    Now,I am glad to be here as I can see that you have been to the King Solomon's mine and had actually seen, touched and (probably)brought back some precious jewels! The pics you have posted are A.W.E.S.O.M.E. and though I can perhaps never visit these but it fills my heart with immense pleasure to see these exist.... specially in such scenic picturesque settings... straight out of the magic lands from above the Faraway tree :) Thanks for going there and sharing Barbara :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Kokila, sometimes real life just has to take precedence over ‘virtual’ life as it all gets too hectic.
      I’m so happy you enjoyed the pictures. It really is a magical place for us book lovers. I hope you get to visit one-day.

      Delete
  13. Hello Barbara thank you so much for sharing the photos of this lovely charming town. I wrote a comment yesterday but it seems to have gone into the black hole of the internet ;-) I think Hay-on-Wye is a place I need to put down as one of the places to visit in Britain. I like the sound of stuffed to the rafters it certainly looks like my kind of shop:-) Now I have to persuade my husband to go along with me.
    Oh that parcel from Holland looks like it has a lot of delightful things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Shashi, I’m so sorry about your previous comment. I checked on the blog but there was nothing, so I think you are right about the black hole!
      You would love Hay-on-Wye, but you might need to find something else for your husband if he is not a lover of books. Terry gets very fed up as it’s not his kind of place at all, but he enjoys photography so is happy to go off with his camera.
      I was thrilled with my parcel (an early birthday present) Nicole somehow finds all the things I like. Thanks for coming to visit I will be over to see you in the next few days. Barbara.

      Delete
  14. Hay-on-Wye is one of my dream places to visit and now I want to go more than ever, but your beautiful photos are the next best thing to being there. Thanks for sharing them, Barbara. And your parcel looks heavenly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alex, I’m sure you would love Hay-on-Wye it’s a very special place. Enjoy your weekend. Barbara

      Delete
  15. Hello dear Barbara. Oh I did so love seeing your wonderful visit to Hay-on-Wye! I am going to share your post with Rob when he gets home tonight as I know that he will so enjoy it too. I am so glad that you spotted all those wonderful quirky bits ...love the sign! And I have to confess that I really don't like kindles much either. Give me a real book any day! Did you find many lovely children's books while you were there? It's such a shame that we don't have little villages like that here in New Zealand..I just don't think we're old enough. We don't have quite enough substance & history...yet. Have a wonderful week Much love Catherine x0x0x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Catherine, I’m so pleased you called in it reminded me to a pay you a visit. I’ve been missing your blog.

      I did buy a few nice things in Hay-on-Wye, but time was limited so I intended to go back again before too long. We always come home from every holiday with a car full of books, and this time was no exception. I hope Rob enjoyed the post.
      Whenever I see photographs of New Zealand, think how beautiful it looks, I hope to visit one day but need to save a few more pennies. Lots of love Barbara xxx

      Delete
  16. I love Hay-on-Wye. It's a beautiful town and it's such a bonus that it's full of book shops. Have you been to the festival?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, have you? I've always wanted to, but the opportunity hasn’t arisen. I will get there one of these days and when I do I will be sure to share the ‘photos :-)
      Happy Monday, Barbara.

      Delete
    2. Yes, I didn't go this year, but I went on 3 different days last year and a couple of days the year before. It's definitely worth a visit!

      Delete
    3. Hi Nikki-ann, it certainly is, and I’m determined to go for longer next time. I found quite a few nice things, but I just know there are more to find!

      Delete

I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...