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Hay-on-Wye tourist information & travel guide

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Hay-on-Wye tourist guide

Hay-on-Wye, at the northernmost point of the Brecon Beacons National Park, has perhaps become most famous globally for becoming the largest second-hand and antiquarian book centre in the world, attracting literary giants to it literary events throughout the year. There are over thirty major bookshops in the town, from specialists to general sellers, with many opening late during the summer months.

However, Hay-on-Wye, despite the huge impact the literary world has on the town, is not just about books. There are plenty of leisure activities for all the family, great varied scenery surrounding the town and a traditional market every Thursday in the central Memorial Square, running from early morning until mid-afternoon and selling everything from proverbial needles to anchors.

The surviving Norman gateway towers above the town, made all the more noticeable by the narrow streets below it. AS a border town, there has been plenty of action under the watchful eye of the tower over the past 800 years or so, from Welsh patriots and reigning monarchs to English lords and the nasty Norman Marcher Lord William de Breos II. You can also visit the romantic ruins of the Hay-on-Wye castle.

Aside from the fabulous bookshops and the great independently-owned shops and boutiques in the town, it was once home to some thirty-four pubs, of which the 16th Century Three Tuns in Broad Street is the oldest of those still welcoming guests. There is a good selection of cafes and restaurants throughout the town, all proud of their home-cooked meals made from fresh local produce.

The creative work of some of the region's top artists and designers is represented in the town's Bowie Gallery, where you will find some of the finest in contemporary ceramics, textiles, jewellery and metalwork.

The region surrounding Hay-on-Wye is perfect for the outdoor sports enthusiast, in particular canoeing, fishing and pony trekking being very popular and well-catered for. The River Wye presents an excellent balance of both easy and difficult waters for canoeists, and there are ample stretches where beginners can train and practice. The river is also popular for coarse fishing, and is said to be one of the best for salmon in the western region. However, do check the local rules and regulations before taking to the rod and reel!

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