Conwy is an exciting walled-market town in Wales that we passed countless times and it happens to be my absolute favorite. The air is salty, the roads are vibrants and it manages to stay humble and cozy despite it being a hot spot. It’s loaded with snug traditional-looking cafes and buildings; its roads are uneven and there’s a massive 13th century castle in its center- what’s not to love, right?!
At 4th High Streets sits a small teal-colored bookshop called Hinton’s of Conwy. Hinton’s is an independent bookshop owned by a wonderful hardworking woman who despite being a new mom at the time she opened her shop managed to keep Hinton’s up and running in a seemingly competitive place.
There’s a nifty fussy bookshop/cafe just down the street from Hinton’s but what makes the latter special is how endearing it is. The shop isn’t big but it is definitely neatly kept, with pleasant lighting and a comfortable bright interior. There’s a small children’s reading room at the back and there are plenty of maps, cards and random stuff which makes this place a great place for gift shopping. The selection of books isn’t big but you can tell the titles are carefully selected.
I asked the owner how she manages to survive especially during a time when rent is high and commercial bookstores are taking over. She said that she’s fortunate to be situated in a strategic location. Hinton’s regulars are mostly tourists or people who choose to stay loyal to their independent bookshop.
This is something that I really appreciate. After interviewing a few independent bookshops, the answer is always the same: People still CARE about their local bookshops and want to keep them in business.
I think what makes Hinton’s of Conwy special is its calming ambience. There are no frills or over the top decorations. The place is comfortable and pleasant for browsing just as any good bookshop should be.
After interviewing/chatting with bookshop owners, I usually ask them to suggest a book for me to buy. It builds my collection of books and also a nice way to support and say “thank you” for giving me the time of day by answering my probing questions.
I bought A History of Wales by John Davies from Hinton’s of Conwy. It was a great choice to learn more about Wales while we were staying there.