A literature lover's guide to Wales

Monday, 18 March 2015 11:21 AM

If you see yourself as an avid bookworm, Wales is one destination you definitely ought to visit. Not only is it the birthplace of some of the UK's greatest writers - including Dylan Thomas and Martin Amis - but it also contains dramatic scenery that has inspired countless authors and some fantastic bookshops. All this combines to make Wales a literature lover's dream, not to mention a perfect place for a luxury holiday.

Booking a cosy Wales cottage means you will have somewhere comfortable where you can relax and read a good book, but it would be a bit of a shame if you were to stay entirely within the confines of your accommodation for your break. Indeed, there are many attractions that will appeal to literature enthusiasts, so you should be sure to seek them out. Here is a look at some of the places you may be interested in stopping by.

Museums and visitor attractions

Exploring Wales's museums and other tourist attractions will give you a great insight into the life and work of its writers, with the Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne making for a particularly fascinating day out.

As you may have guessed from its name, this riverside attraction is dedicated to the Swansea-born poet and is where he lived and worked from 1949 until his death in 1953. The property's period decor has been carefully restored, so coming here will offer a glimpse into what inspired the writer, with various exhibits on display here showcasing his personal possessions. Among the items you can see are family photographs and private letters, while you can also listen to recordings of Thomas reciting his own poems. Once you've taken in the boathouse, head to the nearby church where you will find his grave, alongside that of his wife Caitlin.

A trip to the National Library of Wales, which is based in Aberystwyth, should also be on the itinerary of any book lover visiting Wales. Commonly regarded as one of the best libraries in the world, this institution contains millions of books covering every subject imaginable.

You can, of course, spend an entire day browsing the shelves, but it is also worth checking out the many exhibitions here. These largely focus on literature, although other forms of art are covered. Upcoming displays are set to feature original manuscripts by poets such as Thomas Parry and showcase the work of John Cowper Powys, who lived and worked in the North Wales town of Corwen for a significant period of his career.

Bookstores

If you're looking to pick up a new book or two during your holiday, you certainly won't be short of places to do so. While branches of high street bookstore chains are to be found throughout Wales, there are also plenty of independent outlets that will make for a richer and more personal shopping experience. Holidaymakers in Pembrokeshire may find a trip to the Seaways store in Fishguard an excellent place to buy some tomes. Situated on West Street, this shop sells a vast range of books, as well as CDs, maps, calendars and art materials, so there will be plenty to choose from.

Those taking a break in the Brecon Beacons region of Wales, meanwhile, might want to stop by the Andrew Morton Books store in Brecon. This store sells a vast variety of second-hand books, although there is a particular focus on military, art and history titles.

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