The Kingdom of Books: Hay-on- Wye
Books, books, books, everywhere you look. Hay on Wye truly lives up to its reputation of being a kingdom of books. Its got a lot of lovely bookshops but it doesn’t stop there. Within the Castle Grounds there are shelves full to the brim with books for sale, even a little cupboard outside the tourist information centre is chocker with books you can have for a small donation. It really is a town made of books. And there couldn’t be anything dreamier.
Naturally I had to do several laps around Hay to make sure I covered every street and alleyway dedicated to books. And now I’m going to take you round some of my favourites.
First up is Richard Booth’s Bookshop. This really is bookshop goals. It has beautiful wooden shelving and a mix of oldy woldy stone and wood flooring. It has a tea room, a basement full of crime and mystery tomes and a stunning top floor which gets bathed in sunlight (when the sun makes appearance). It really is a beaut of a shop. It has a mixture of new and secondhand books and covers a wide range of genre and topic. I think you would be hard pushed not to find something to take away from here. I walked away with a well loved hardback of the third in the Isabel Dalhousie series, which I found in the basement sitting happily amongst a large selection of Alexander McCall’s work. We went several times as I couldn't resist spending time in this shop. An inspiring place.
Next the ever famous Addyman Books. You may have seen them on Instagram with their Booksellers Breakfast - which is a wonderful photo they post most mornings (or sometimes late at night depending on how busy their day has been) based on a certain book or theme. I would highly recommend checking it out. But now back to the shop or shops should I say, as there is the main Addyman Books, Addyman Alleyway and the Addyman Annexe. As I said, books everywhere! All three are like a cabinet of curiosities with over flowing shelves of secondhand books. They have dedicated rooms for certain genres so you are never at a loss as to where to start and there are plenty of well placed armchairs for you to perch. They also have an incredible room which is jam packed with Penguin Classics. Organised by colour. It is one of the loveliest sights. It’s hard to describe Addyman fully as it is just a riot of books and there's something very comforting about the shop, it’s probably because I dream of one day owning such a place but I just feel cosy and comfortable there and I think it is a brilliant thing to be able to create such an environment.
And last but by no means least is the lovely shop Murder and Mayhem which is filled floor to ceiling with, you guessed it, murder mysteries and crime novels. This is a unique shop, small in size but perfectly formed with plenty a title to choose from. I'm a big fan of murder mysteries and love nothing more than a grizzly thriller especially during Autumn/Winter time when the rain is pouring outside and the days are short. If you've ever wanted to collect an Agatha Christie or two then this is the place to go. Gorgeous and rare collectibles that would grandeur to any bookshelf.
So if you've ever needed a little encouragement to visit Hay I hope this provides it. It really is such a wonderful town and I can can say hand on heart you won't be disappointed.