It took me a while to get excited about having the Riverside Bookshop as my closest bookstore. Maybe because it’s located in Hay’s Galleria, which is sort of an open-air mini-mall with nice architecture but unfortunate shops (including a Next branch of tacky clothes and the disturbing, year-round Christmas Shop). But the Riverside stands out as a well-stocked lovely little place (where I picked up, by chance one afternoon, It Was the Nightingale, which is a book that I think not too many shops would have right up front). I was also able to score some bookplates with images of the British red squirrel. I was not, however, allowed to flip through a copy of the The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, which is expensive and huge and, I assume, beautiful—but, in the end, perhaps not much more accessible than the actual restaurant.
Even so, if you plan to give the affordable luxury of books this holiday season, then the Riverside Bookshop might be a good place to get started.