Beach holidays may be great for relaxing and city trips ideal for exploring, but South Wales has something better to offer experienced bookworms – literary holidays!
Sit in Dylan Thomas’ living room at his childhood home, visit Roald Dahl’s place of worship and then swing by an entire village dedicated to books, Hay-on-Wye. Wales is the perfect destination for a short trip with a difference.
So put your reading glasses on; we’re going to tell you a short story about what you can see here.
Walk in Dylan Thomas’ Footsteps
Dylan Thomas is notably Wales’ most famous literary hero. Born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, he is known for his poems such as Do not go gentle into that good night and And death shall have no dominion.
Book a stay in the city centre’s Dragon Hotel before venturing out on foot to the nearby Dylan Thomas Centre. Here you can view a permanent exhibition on the writer and his life, as well as take part in year-round literary events such as poetry recitals and book evenings.
The Dylan Thomas Centre is also home to the Dylan Thomas Festival held every October. Attendees have access to a number of educational lectures, workshops and performances, as well as an eclectic mix of poetry themed activities.
After a visit to the centre, sign up to take part in the Dylan Thomas Experience. This is a guided tour of Dylan’s home town, his childhood house and the pubs that shaped his writing.
Thomas was born in the suburban, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive and lived there until his parents moved out in 1937. The property has now been lovingly restored to its 1914 state and visitors here can sit at his small bedroom window or chat in his comfortable living room as he once did. There are no roped off areas in this family home!
If that isn’t enough for you, travel to nearby Carmarthenshire where you can step inside Dylan Thomas’ boathouse in Laugharne; this is where he was at his happiest. With stunning sea views it is easy to see why he was inspired by his surroundings here.
Step Inside Roald Dahl’s Place of Worship
Roald Dahl is one of the country’s most beloved children’s authors having written firm family favourites such as the BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You’re probably well-versed with his work but did you know that he was born in Wales to Norwegian parents?
Dahl was born in Llandaff, Cardiff and attended the cathedral school here. He and his siblings were baptised in the Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay where his parents worshiped. This is now somewhere visitors to Cardiff Bay can explore. The attractive white clapboard structure among the modern new developments is a standout attraction near the sea.
This church is now the oldest surviving church in Britain founded by the Norwegian Seamen’s mission and today doubles as an arts centre and café. Imagine enjoying a good cuppa while enjoying the views of the bay while sat on the same spot where Roald Dahl was once baptised. That’s something to write home about!
Stroll Around a World of Books
Do you often walk into a bookshop with a single title in mind and find yourself hours later sat in a corner surrounded with a bevy of books? Then you may just lose yourself in Hay-on-Wye, a town known for its literary delights.
Nestled in the borderlands between England and Wales, Hay-on-Wye is the perfect pit-stop on a travelling adventure. With under 2,000 residents, yet more than two dozen book shops, with everything from specialist subjects to vintage classics, there are certainly more books per person here than anywhere else in the world.
Enjoy some tea and cake in one of the many quaint tea shops, window shop in the boutique stores and then finger through the titles displayed pretty much everywhere. Even the walls of the castle here have been converted into quirky bookshelves! Hay-on-Wye is a truly dreamy setting for any story lover.
Of course, with hundreds of castles, outstanding national parks and bustling cities there is plenty to see and do in South Wales. But if you make a pilgrimage to any of these sites we’re pretty sure it’s going to be all about the books.
Looking for somewhere to stay just a short walk from the Dylan Thomas Centre? Then look no further than the modern and affordable Dragon Hotel. Find out more about this city centre accommodation here.