An Afternoon in Hay-on-Wye

Where did I go: Hay-on-Wye, Wales, UK

When did I go: January 2016

We went to Hay-on-Wye, a little village on the English/Welsh border on a rainy Sunday in January.

On the road to Hay-on-Wye

I have been wanting to visit ever since I found out that it was a “town of books”.  Hay-on-Wye (or just “Hay” as it is known by the locals) has dozens of small independent bookshops and is a must-go destination for book lovers.

Hay-on-Wye seen from Hay Castle

Over 80,000 people descend on the town during the world famous Hay Literary Festival, but on this Sunday afternoon, the town was completely quiet, save for a few people.

We visited several bookshops – each dedicated to film, railways, poetry, murder mysteries, travel etc. and finally bought a couple of books from the murder mystery book shop.

Our souvenirs from Hay-on-Wye

After to cup of coffee and a sandwich, we also explored the Hay castle, situated right in the middle of the town. It’s undergoing renovation, so you can’t go inside the castle.

Hay Castle
Hay Castle

Another great feature of Hay is the number of “Honesty shops” scattered around the little town. An Honesty shop is like any other shop, but there is no shopkeeper. You pick your items, and put the “payment” into a little box in the shop. Usually, items on sale are fairly low value  – 50p to £1. It entirely relies on the honesty of the general public to make it work.

One of the many “Honesty Shops”

There was enough time to walk around the town a little bit more and take in the sights – such as this “one way” street – or is it “the other way” street?

Which way?

A quick stop at the wishing well, and back on the road!

Hay-on-Wye Wishing Well
This post is a part of #FarawayFiles with Untold Morsels, Suitcases and Sandcastles and Oregon Girl Around the World.

This post is a part of #MondayEscapes with Packing My Suitcase and My Travel Monkey .

Packing my Suitcase


  1. Love the one way signs on the road, how to confuse visitors! I’ve visited Hay a few times but not recently, maybe time to pay another visit soon. #farawayfiles

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always wanted to go to the Hay Literary Festival. I’ve visited the town only once – and it was very short and sweet as we were heading elsewhere in Wales. It’s somewhere I’d like to spend a weekend in to get a proper flavour of the town. I’d no doubt spend hours in each and every book shop. I love the sound of the honesty shops. Thanks so much for joining us on our first ever #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our visit was far too short as well. Like you I would love to go back one day – especially during the festival. Although I hear it can be very busy. Thanks for stopping by. Love the idea of #farawayfiles


  3. A lovely trip to visit a place of books! I had not heard about the Hay festival until I visited Maldives some years back. The international Hay festival was being hosted in Malé during my visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That looks really cool! So the bookshops are themed? Each genre has its own bookshop? That’s really interesting. There is also an honesty shop in the Philippines and although I haven’t been there yet, a lot of people say that it does really work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There are a few “general” bookshops, but a lot of them are themed (murder mysteries, railways, music, films etc.). It really is a book lover’s paradise. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

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