A Trip to Hay-on-Wye & Arthur’s Stone

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend! 🙂  And thank you so much for all your kind comments and words of encouragement following my last post. I really do appreciate each and everyone one of them 🙂 

For us, it was yet another weekend of rain, rain, rain…. and gales.  Lots of rivers have now burst their banks, including the Avon where I live.  The Canada Geese and sea gulls are enjoying floating around on the flooded fields!

Despite the bad weather, on Saturday we decided to brave the elements and go on a road trip to Hay-on-Wye  to have a look round the infamous ‘town of books’. 

On the way, we drove through Tintern and saw the beautiful remains of Tintern Abbey.  A few years’ back, I did a research project on Tintern and its abbey, but never actually went there, so it was great to be able to see it first hand at long last!

(c) Tom Pennington

For those of you unfamiliar with Hay-on-Wye, it’s a small town located in Powys, Wales (on the Welsh-English border), with a big reputation for second hand and antiquarian books.

There are about 30 booksellers in total, and some of the main buildings in the town, including the cinema, have been converted into huge book shops.  Even a section of Hay Castle (to the right of the picture below) has been converted into a book shop!

 Lil’ L is really into books at the moment, and he loved browsing all the old second hand children’s books and comics.


After a couple of hours of book  browsing, we headed to the Old Stables Tea Rooms for a spot of lunch.  This establishment has been named Wales ‘Top Tea Room/Cafe 2011/12’, and has won a multitude of awards, including ‘Great Taste’ awards for its chutneys, marmalades and cakes.  It even has a ‘Loo of the Year award’ (and yes, we did check it out!)

From what I could tell, the tea rooms seem to be a downstairs conversion and extension to a residential house.  I’ve never seen anything like it before!

Below is the entrance to the tea rooms. 

It was similarly decorated inside, with objects covering the walls and every available surface.  It was a fantastic place to play ‘I Spy’ 😉

For lunch, Lil’ L and I had jacket potatoes, while M had the brie on ciabatta, with award winning chutney and marmalade.  M and I also tried the ‘dragon roasted’ (Welsh?) coffee.  It was all delicious. 

We were planning to head back to the tea rooms later in the day for afternoon tea and to sample some of their award winning cakes but, unfortunately, we missed out as they closed at 4pm.   

As everything was closing up, we decided to head back to England, stopping off on the way to visit ‘Arthur’s Stone’ in Herefordshire – a Neolithic chambered tomb which is over 5,000 years old.  Lil’ L had a good look, but he couldn’t see any dead bodies!

This is yet another prehistoric monument that has been associated with King Arthur.  That King sure did get around! 

Back home, we had a super quick tea of Linda McCartney sausage sandwiches.  While the sausages were cooking, I whipped up some sun-dried tomato humous, with slices of cucumber and red pepper for dipping, and roasted some almonds and sunflower seeds in soy sauce. 

Our mini feast only took 15 minutes to make, and we had fun eating it as a ‘picnic’ on the lounge floor whilst watching ‘Ip Man’ (Lil’ L was only allowed to see excerpts).  It’s such a cool film! 


So, despite it being a very cold, wet weekend, we still managed to have fun 🙂  And I hope you did too! 

Here’s wishing you a wonderful week  xx

8 thoughts on “A Trip to Hay-on-Wye & Arthur’s Stone

  1. I understand that even the toilets in Hay Castle have bookshelves!

    As a student and bibliophile I should have headed there after graduation!

    A firend who previously worked there used to obtain a decent income from shipping books on, say, Bath, he purchased in Swansea, then reselling them in Bath for a good profit.

    There’s something about a book that Kindle can never replace. 🙂

    1. I never made it into the toilets at Hay Castle. That’s a shame!
      I totally agree with you about the kindle. I adore the feel and smell of books. Kindle will never be able to replace that.

  2. I love Ip Man! I was brought up on such films as my Dad and Uncle are both Kung Fu masters (my Uncle runs a Wing Chun King Fu school). That place looks absolutely adorable, glad you had fun despite the weather!

    1. It was an amazing experience to see all those second hand book shops in one place. I was very restrained though and only bought a couple of beautiful Buddhist books 🙂

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