Christmas in Hay On Wye

Christmas Lights ‘The Big Switch ON!’
Date: Friday 24 November
Venue: Cheese Market / Memorial Carpark
Time: 5pm – 7.30pm (lights switch-on at approximately 6pm . . . by the one and only Matt Lucas!
It’s free, just turn up!Hay Big Christmas Switch On
See Hay-on-Wye transformed into a winter wonderland brimming with festive cheer as a very special guest turns on the town’s Christmas Lights during Hay Festival Winter Weekend. Accompanied by carol singing, readings and evening entertainment, it’s an evening of family fun to kick off the weekend in good spirits.  Castle Street is closed to vehicles so lots of our brilliant independent shops spill out onto the pavement, chestnuts roast, mince pies are aplenty and cider and wine is mulled, the smells and sounds all inviting you down to the Cheese Market/Memorial Carpark where Hay School and more than twenty other local businesses have Christmas Stalls in the huge marquee.  This is the REAL Hay-on-Wye, where visitors and the local residents can celebrate the special time of year and this unique little town together – see you there!
Hay on Wye Winter Food Festival!
Date: Saturday 25th November
Venue: Memorial Carpark
Time:  10am – 5pm
It’s free, just turn up!
Hay Does Vintage!
Date: Sunday 26th November
Venue: Memorial Carpark
Time: 10.30am – 4pm
Here we go again! The TENTH vintage and retro fayre to be held RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF HAY!! Come along and enjoy over 50 fantastic traders in THREE venues selling everything from vintage clothes, kitchenalia, furniture, posters, books, jewellery, textiles and lots more.
£1 door fee. Not-for-profit event.
The Welsh Girl
Date: Every Thurs, Fri and Sat!
Venue: St John’s Place (up the ‘wonky steps’ above St John’s Place Restaurant), 3 Lion Street, Hay on Wye, HR3 5AA
Time: 10.30am – 5pm (but open later till 6pm during Hay Winter Weekend)
The Welsh Girl range, a contemporary take on tradition, comprises of ponchos that double as throws, coler cwtch scarves, cushions in various shapes and sizes and bags. The cloth, woven on traditional looms that the iconic Welsh tapestry blankets were once woven on, is produced in colour combinations unique to The Welsh Girl. Only small runs are made and no two colour combinations are ever repeated, making each of these pieces limited edition items. The patchworks are created from traditional Welsh flannel and only one of a kind cushions and three of a kind bags are made. Everything is designed and handmade at her studio/shop in Hay on Wye –
Version 2

This year’s Hay Festival Winter Weekend, 23 – 26 November 2017, will be their biggest yet with a new 400-seater venue and extended programming.

The festival offers four days of family fun within the picturesque surrounds of the Hay’s independent bookshops, cafés, and markets.

Now in its 18th year, the programme of talks (announced 16 October) available here – FULL PROGRAMME – will be the most ambitious yet, highlighting the world’s best new fiction, non-fiction and poetry. A new venue will double the festival’s seated capacity and further transform the town centre into a playground of ideas. Events will also begin a day earlier than previous years, with programmed talks and performances from Thursday 23 November.

Workshops for young people take inspiration from the festival’s #HAYTREES project, with tree- to-type printmaking, festival crafts and Forest School events, plus a host of engaging talks for all ages featuring the very best writers for young people.


Late Night Christmas Shopping
Dates: Every Thursday once the lights are on! 30th November and the 7th, 14th & 21st December
Venue: Many of our fabulous independent shops are participating, see list below…
Time:  Until 8pm
A wise person once said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that all things necessary for Christmas present solutions are to be found in Hay on Wye.”  To that tune Hay Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce LATE NIGHT OPENING at lots of our brilliant independent shops this year for Christmas. Until 8pm every Thursday from the 30th November – 21st December. This will give us all even more opportunities to support our hard-working small businesses during the festive season and buy great gifts, produce and treats locally.  There’s also talk of choirs singing carols, steaming hot-chocolate and kissing under the mistletoe!
Shops confirmed so far . . .
The Old Electric Shop
Charlotte of Hay – also open late on Friday evenings
Addyman Books (Lion Street shops)
Eighteen Rabbit
The Poetry Bookshop
The Welsh Girl
Alanas Baby Corner
The Great English Outdoors
Castle Greengrocers
CJ Gibbons Family Butchers
PSM Outdoors maybe
Hay Antiques Market
Please note that although they aren’t able to open late Hay Deli will be open 7 days a week during the Christmas period!
. . . those joining in will also post ‘WE’RE IN!’ on their social media so stay tuned!
See you there with bells on! 
Christmas Artisan Market & Café
Date: Sunday 3rd December
Venue: Hosted by The Big Skill at The Swan @ Hay
Time:  10:30am – 4.30pm
It’s free, just turn up!

The Big Skill will be hosting a festive Artisan Market in the beautiful Swan hotel in Hay on Wye.
There will be lots of stalls full of handcrafted gifts and treats for you to buy, and one or two (must be booked) festive workshops too.  A Christmas Cafe will serve mulled wine, prosecco, warm drinks and mince pies, and all the visitors to the Market can, if they wish, book lunch or dinner at the hotel with a 10% discount (call the hotel for dining bookings)
To apply for a stall, please email with photos, online links, descriptions of your own Handmade art, craft or produce.

Make the magic happen . . . 

Get involved! Help us to light up Hay this Christmas, 2017! We need to raise at least £7500 to fund the purchase of new lights, installation and maintenance, taking them down again in January, and the costs of the “Switching On” event at the end of NovemberThank you to everyone who donated in 2016 and everyone who is donating so generously towards the 2017 effort! We hope businesses and residents will want to contribute towards the lights, which really add a touch of magic to Christmas in Hay. Here’s how you can play your part:

Donate online now via PayPal or credit card.

Drop off a donation in person with Clare at Want to Canoe? or Andrew at Eighteen Rabbit Fair Trade.

Give us a call on 01497 820604 and we’ll collect from you.

An army of Chamber Elves will also be out and about collecting from businesses in October – please give generously!

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Theatr Brycheiniog welcomes The Haymakers’ Christmas Collection

21 st November at 6pm – 15th January 2018
Theatr Brycheiniog is looking forward to hosting local design makers – The Haymakers, for a celebration of their 30th anniversary with a Christmas Exhibition in The Andrew Lamont Gallery.

‘The Haymakers’ is a cooperative gallery in Hay on Wye and some of their members are
exhibiting at the theatre along with some other invited local makers bringing an Haymakers Christmas collection image.jpginteresting and appealing addition to the Christmas shopping opportunities in Brecon town. All of the work will be for sale. Haymakers involved are wood turner Chris Armstrong, ceramicist Pat Birks, stone carving and lettering by Caitriona Cartwright, prints by Victoria Keeble and Jenny Chippindale’s felt work and Dawn Cripps’ embroidery.

Guest exhibitors include John Webb: ceramics, Catrin Davies: stained glass, Stephen
Hawksworth: wooden birds, Claudia Petley and Paul Shepherd: blacksmiths, Julia Manning: prints, Jump for Timbuktu jewellery and leather boxes, Pauline Paterson: ceramics, Sue Forest: silk ties and Sue Dunne: ceramics.

The exhibition is opening on Tuesday, 21st November at 6pm and then will be open Monday – Saturday until January 15th 2018. Please note the exhibition is closed on Friday 24th November &; Wednesday 29th November as well as 24th – 27th December.

Queries: Punch Maughan, Visual Arts Coordinator – / 07736

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Why you should visit the Royal Welsh Winter Fair on 27 & 28 November…

Get that Christmassy feeling
What better way to kick-start the festive season than with a visit to the Winter Fair. Open to everyone, the fair is a fantastic two days packed full of competitions, festivities, decorations, fairy lights, carols, seasonal treats and Christmas shopping

Food, glorious food!
The food hall at the Winter Fair attracts producers from all over Wales and further afield and is packed full of culinary delights, demonstrations, perfect Christmas gifts and tempting tasters. There is also a lovely Farmers Markets and plenty of places to sit down, relax and sample what’s on offer. Come along, eat, drink and be merry!

Prize winning animals
The Royal Welsh Winter Fair has a reputation for being one of the finest prime stock shows in the UK, if not Europe. Proud stockmen bring their prize animals from far and wide to compete for a chance to win a championship title and their share of the £25,000 worth of prize money up for grabs.

Vying for first place…
It’s not just animals… the Winter Fair hosts a huge variety of different classes and competitions, including a horse, national Welsh poultry and hound show, dressed poultry, butchery, meat hampers, cookery, produce and handicraft, horticulture and floral art… there’s something for everyone to get involved in.

Christmas shopping
The Winter Fair offers the discerning shopper the perfect opportunity to pick up some unique and original Christmas gifts from the hundreds of tradestands found throughout the showground. Once again the fair will have a late night Christmas shopping evening on Monday 27 November, with free entry into the showground from 4pm.

Spectacular fireworks
Since our silver jubilee event in 2014, the fireworks display has been a firm favourite with Winter Fair visitors. You can catch the display at 7pmon the Monday night.

Music and song
Soak up the atmosphere as you wander around the showground by listening to the many local school and community choirs and other artists performing beautiful renditions of Christmas carols and festive songs.

Bump into Father Christmas
We are very lucky to have Father Christmas as a regular visitor to the Winter Fair. He can be found, with his elves, in Tŷ Ynys Môn where he is happy to meet the younger visitors to the fair. They might even get an early Christmas present – if they’ve been good!

Grab yourself an e-ticket before you arrive and you won’t have to join the queues of people at the pay booths! Your e-ticket can be quickly scanned as you enter our new Welcome Centre via your own entrance, before taking advantage of the café and free WiFi and enjoying the rest of the event. Buy your e-ticket here!


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Late Night Christmas Shopping in Hay and Hay Vouchers!

A wise person once said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that all things necessary for Christmas present solutions are to be found in Hay on Wye.”
To that tune Hay Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce LATE NIGHT OPENING at lots of our brilliant independent shops this year for Christmas. Until 8pm every Thursday from the 30th November – 21st December. This will give us all even more opportunities to support our hard-working small businesses during the festive season and buy great gifts, produce and treats locally. There’s also talk of choirs singing carols, steaming hot-chocolate and kissing under the mistletoe!

Check out their Facebook pages here:

and the website for details and a list of which shops are joining in … those joining in will also post ‘WE’RE IN!’ on their social media so stay tuned! See you there with bells on!

Don’t forget to use your Hay vouchers once you’re in the town! They make great gifts for Hay enthusiasts and book-lovers or why not just treat yourself?! We have £5, £10 and £20 notes so they can be used for anything from stocking fillers at Christmas to ‘MAIN’ presents to keep-sakes from your travels. 100% of the voucher value is returned to the retailer and 95% of our very special, independent businesses in and around Hay accept them. The scheme is funded by the Chamber of Commerce ​in partnership with the brilliant team at Pughs Hay-on-Wye where you can buy them in person. You can also buy them online here.

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Christmas events for Usk House with St David’s Hospice Care

St David’s Hospice care have fund raising and events running throughout the festive season! They are a great opportunity to support hospice care in the local areas, with all money raised going towards hospice care in the local area, either in Usk House, or in patients’ own homes. Events include:

Brecon with Bells onSaturday November 18th. Look out for our stall in town, and come and have a warming cup of mulled wine.Image result for brecon with bells on 2017

Artisan Craft MarketSunday November 19th. Under the direction of Jan Williams, we are running the café at the market. We are anticipating a really busy day – the market hall is fully booked up with stalls – and we need help with serving/washing up/taking money. Any time between 8am and 5pm.

Christmas Coffee MorningFriday November 24th, in Bishop Bevan Hall. Come and see what we have for sale (there are always some bargains!) and perhaps meet a friend for coffee. Everyone welcome. Help with selling raffle tickets/taking door money much appreciated too! If you have anything you could donate to sell on the stalls, or for a raffle prize, I’d love to hear from you.

Light up a Life ServiceThursday December 7th at 7pm. Plough Chapel, Brecon. A Christmas service to remember and celebrate the lives of those we have loved and lost. Everyone very welcome.

Bag packing/collecting in WaitroseFriday December 8th. Any help welcomed between 9.30am and 3pm.

Bag packing in MorrisonsSaturday December 9th. If you could spare just an hour to help with this, that would be great – I am looking for lots of volunteersas I am hoping this is going to be a busy day!

Christmas at Penpont with the Aberhonddu Male ChoirSunday December 10th, 6-8pm. Come and join us for some Christmas drinks and nibbles, and some Christmas cheer and entertainment from the choir. Tickets in advance from me or the St David’s Shop in Brecon. Numbers limited, so don’t miss this lovely evening, by kind permission of Gavin and Vina Hogg.

Bag packing/collecting in Co Op, Hay on WyeThursday December 14th. Volunteers welcomed!

Finally, don’t forget our Christmas cards in the St David’s Hospice Care shop and in St Mary’s!

Donate Online – 
Donate by SMS – Please support our next generation of Nurses – Text NURS02 and your donation amount to 70070

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Less than a month until Abergavenny Christmas Fair!

Discover incredible seasonal producers from Wales and beyond at Abergavenny Christmas Fair.

There’s just over a month to go until Abergavenny is filled with the tastes and aromas of Christmas! At our Christmas Fair you’ll find over 85 stallholders across the Market Hall, Upper Brewery Yard and the Priory, ready to help you stock up on delicious produce for the festive season, or seek out gifts for friends and family.

From artisan cheeses to handmade chocolates, you’re sure to find everything you need for a fantastic Christmas feast. Explore the producers on our website here and book your wristbands in advance through our website.

Sherry and Food Pairing with Gonzalez Byass and Freddy Bird

No longer relegated to the back grandma’s cupboard, sherry is having a resurgence! Come along to this tasting workshop with David Hayward of Gonzalez Byass and critically acclaimed chef Freddy Bird and discover the best foods to match with sherry.

You’ll get the chance to taste your way through a range of food pairings alongside each sherry, including jamon and smoked eel croquette with parsley alioli, roasted duck with bone marrow bread sauce and a classic Christmas trifle. Freddy will talk you through each of the dishes and you’ll receive recipe cards to take home, just in time for Christmas. Book here.

Stoked Festive Feast

Introducing the first of our festive fringe events! Join Stoked Feasts in their restored oak framed barn tucked at the foot of the Black Mountains for an evening of fantastic food, fun and festivities. From meat raised and dry aged on the farm to ingredients foraged from the surrounding hills and valleys, this is a dining experience not to be missed.

Peak/Copa Exhibition at Abergavenny Food Festival

Photographer and artist, Jon Pountney, was selected for the Peak/Copa Horsebox Studio Commission at this year’s Abergavenny Food Festival. Using archive photography as a starting point Jon discovered more about the smallholdings and farms, past and present, of rural Monmouthshire. If you missed the Horsebox Studio at the festival, you can explore the exhibition here.


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Give the Gift of Adventure!

This festive season, Llangorse Multi Activity Centre is offering the perfect gift idea for the adventurous. Their range of activity and horse riding gift vouchers are a unique Christmas present that promise to give an experience to remember.

Multi Activity Centre Director, Ryan Thomas said, “Our gift vouchers offer a more
exciting present than a traditional shopping voucher and offer the opportunity to give
the gift of adventure this Christmas. Our voucher range includes a selection of
activity and horse riding vouchers that can be tailored to your recipient’s needs.


“Activity vouchers come in the form of a half or full day of activities. The gift recipient has the flexibility of choosing from the wide range of activities we offer. Our indoor activities include rock climbing, rope bridges, caving, zip line and abseiling. Outdoors our Sky Trek Challenge or Junior Challenge Course are unique and exciting adventures within beautiful surroundings.

“Our riding vouchers are suitable for all ages and abilities including beginners treks,
intermediate rides or half day hacks. The perfect way to enjoy the beautiful Brecon
Beacons with our friendly instructors.”


For more information about Llangorse Multi Activity Centre and their gift voucher
range please call 0333 600 20 20 to talk through your requirements with an
experienced staff member or visit

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