Our Guide to Hay-on-Wye (30-40 mins drive)
With lots of bookshops, this creative little bit of the borderlands is known as the town of books. It is now making a name for itself as a place for vintage shopping too. The weekly Market Day on Thursdays is a delight of creativity with food, crafts and vintage stalls.
Top on the list for many people is Richard Booth’s Bookshop, not only for books, but it also has a café - good for coffee and lunch - and a cinema out the back (Lion Street, HR3 5AA / www.boothbooks.co.uk). Almost next door is the Hay Deli where you can stock up on local cheeses and supplies (www.haydeli.co.uk).
Don’t miss the Old Electric Shop on Broad Street selling an eclectic mix of clothes, homeware and books, it is also a café serving good coffee, cakes and light lunches (10 Broad St, HR3 5DB / www.oldelectric.co.uk).
Stay on Broad Street and you’ll find a butchers and access on your left down to the bridge and river. Carrying along Broad Street will take you to The Globe, an arts centre with a kitchen serving lunch and dinners (check times) and films, music, talks, workshops and art exhibitions (HR3 5BG / www.globeathay.org).
Up towards Hay Castle you’ll find the market (Thursdays), as well as the Hay Antique Market (HR3 5AF / www.hayantiquemarket.co.uk) and Beer Revolution (www.beerrevolution.co.uk). Along Castle Street are more bookshops, outdoor shop and gift shops, plus another butchers and greengrocers at the end.
Hay is also a good spot for wild swimmingand canoeing - see Active adventures section. The famous literary Hay Festival (www.hayfestival.com) takes place in May when 80,000 visitors descend on the town. Running concurrently is the How The Light Gets In, a philosophy and music festival (www.hay.htlgi.iai.tv).
Parking try Oxford Road Car Park (HR3 5AJ)
A little further into Wales from Hay is Glasbury where you’ll find the River Café, a licensed cafe-bar-restaurant (also does canoe and bike hire / www.wyevalleycanoes.co.uk/ HR3 5NP). Further still on the other side of the Black Mountainsis Talgarth, a little market town with Talgarth Mill a working mill, bakery and café serving good coffee and lunches (LD3 0BW / www.talgarthmill.com).