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New survey names Hay-on-Wye as best town in Wales

23 Apr 2022 2 minute read
Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye by interbeat CC BY 2.0.

Hay-on-Wye is the best town in Wales according to a survey by consumer guide Which?

The town scored 84 per cent in the customer score category of the five top-rated Welsh towns and villages making it among the best in the UK.

Other Welsh towns which make the grade in the top towns and villages survey are Abergavenny in Monmouthshire which took second spot at 77%, followed by Brecon in Powys at 76%, Betws-y-Coed in Conwy scoring 74%, and Chepstow in Monmouthshire at 73%.

The overall UK winner in England was Avebury in Wiltshire which scored 90%, closely followed by Wells and Castle Combe jointly scoring 88%, while in Scotland, Perthshire towns Aberfeldy and Pitlochry scored 82% and 80% respectively, and Fort William in the Highlands came in at 73%.

According to the findings of the survey, Hay, or Y Gelli is a hotspot for ‘creative types’ who are drawn in by the dramatic scenery of the Black Mountains and the beauty of the River Wye.

It describes the town as having been a sleepy place until bookseller Richard Booth transformed it into the world’s first Book Town, when he opened numerous shops and declared himself ‘King of Hay’.

Through the last week of May and the beginning of June, Hay’s population of around 2000 grows to 10,000 as book lovers pile in for the literary festival.

The town also hosts How the Light Gets In Festival which this year runs from 2-5 June and features music, debates with the ‘world’s leading thinkers’, comedy, cabaret, and film.

Along with plenty of bookshops, there are farm and food shops, cafés and pubs, and a regular market takes place every Thursday on the attractive streets of the riverbank town.

Seaside winners

Aberaeron, in Ceredigion, took the top spot in Wales in a Which? survey of the UK’s best seaside destinations.

The town scored 82% in the customer score category, making it the top rated of 11 Welsh seaside towns included in the top 100 in the UK.

St Davids, in Pembrokeshire, was the second Welsh location on the list, with a customer score of 80% while Conwy, Criccieth and Tenby came in at 79% on that survey.

More than 5,000 Which? Readers responded to the best town survey and the locations were ranked based on their tourist attractions, attractiveness, scenery, peace and quiet, and the quality of food and drink.


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