Heading to Hay for the Hay Festival? Well there’s much more to this small Welsh town than the excellent lineup of events to attend. Including old atmospheric pubs and whimsical walking, so here’s a quick guide on what to visit in Hay-on-Wye…
Shops and other things in Hay
There are plenty of lovely gift shops, boutiques, food and craft shops in Hay that offer original and unusual items, with many of the goods for sale made by local artists, potters and farmers. So explore the range of galleries including the Lion Street Gallery, it specializes in showing both paintings and sculpture by some of the best artists working in Wales and the boarders today. Explore the town’s castle and learn about its fascinating history, it’s a gorgeous ruin that was once a medieval fortress and is definitely worth a visit.
The majority of tourists come to Hay because of it’s reputation as a Town of Books so here is a list of the top 10 Bookshops in Hay:
- Addyman Annexe – is “The jewel in the crown of this famous book town”
- Addyman Books
- C. Arden Bookseller – Specialist bookseller dealing in Natural History, Botany & Gardening and Bees & Beekeeping
- Francis Edwards – Specialists in Antiquarian and rare books since 1855
- Barnabee’s Books
- Hay Cinema Bookshop – opened its doors to buyers in 1965. It’s the world’s biggest open air bookshop set in the landscaped gardens, home to the famous pyramid
- Murder and Mayhem – the most bizarre and outrageously decorated bookshop in Hay-on-Wye
- Hancock & Monk Music
- Rose’s Books – over 12,000 rare and out-of-print children’s and illustrated books
10. The Poetry Bookshop
Food for Thought
In between book-browsing, high quality bistros and restaurants are there to delight you. Hay’s selection of cafés and restaurants is just as impressive as the Festival programme itself. True foodies should check out the likes of the Old Black Lion, The Swan Hotel, and The River Café, Glasbury while those needing a caffeine fix should check out Booths Bookshop. There’s also a local farmers market held in the Memorial Square on Thursdays between 8am and midday if you want to stock up on local produce. And nobody should leave Hay without trying the homemade ice cream from Shepherds Ice Cream Parlour, it’s made from sheep’s milk for a lighter, smoother taste.
Activities in Hay-on-Wye
Many people come to Hay to cycle, canoe and gorge/mountain walk around the stunning, unspoilt Welsh countryside. There are however many more activities including: bushcraft, kayaking, horse riding and many, many more. Or for something a bit different how about taking a trip to Talgarth Mill, it’s a a fully restored, 18th century Flour mill. Not only do they offer guided tours but they also have a wonderful bakery and cafe on site. They are currently hosting ‘The Big Art Share’ project in there ‘Stone Room Gallery’, here you will find local art work in various media by a range of local artists.
Nearby Accommodation for Hay-on-Wye
If there’s a large group of you, why not stay in the privacy of a luxury country Manor House, Felin Newydd for example. This beautiful manor can sleep up to 18 guests and sits snugly between Hay and Brecon. Smaller groups may want to check out Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages for everything from cosy bolt holes to cavernous converted cottages