Straddling the Anglo-Welsh border some twenty miles west of Hereford, the hilly little town of HAY-ON-WYE has an attractive riverside setting and narrow, winding streets lined with an engaging assortment of old stone houses, but is known to most people for one thing – books. Hay saw its first bookshop open in 1961; today just about every inch of the town is given over to the trade, including the old cinema and the ramshackle stone castle. The prestigious Hay Festival of literature and the arts, is held over ten days at the end of May, when London’s literary world decamps here en masse.

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