Top ten things to do on your visit to Hay Festival 2018

The world-renowned Hay Festival takes place in the small Welsh Town of Hay-on-Wye on the edge of the Brecon Beacons each year. The literary event attracts novelists, poets, scientists, musicians and comedians who congregate to celebrate great writing, music and comedy. This year’s festival runs from the 24th May until the 3rd of June.

Festival site © Finn Beales

Hay Festival Wales brings writers and readers together to share stories and ideas in events that inspire, examine and entertain. Browse the programme and buy tickets…

If you are coming to this year’s festival, then heading into town is a must.  Hay on Wye is full of interesting places to visit and is a short walk (or shuttle bus ride) away from the festival site.

Have a read of our top ten things to do during Hay Festival for ideas.

1. Head to one of the many second hand bookshops 

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

Explore one of the many independent bookshops. Hay has a lot – it’s not known as the town of books for nothing. There is something for everyone.

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority



2. Wander around Hay Castle

You can’t miss the Castle as it is located in the center of the market town.   Inside the grounds there are lots of shops for you to peruse.



3.Hire a bike

© Drover Cycles

Hire a bike from Drover Cycles they have bikes for roadies, mountain bikers and leisure riders. And if you want to take the string out of the hills, they have electric bikes too. Contact them here.

4. Buy an Ice-Cream
Pop into Shepherds to buy a delicious homemade ice-cream, then sit down and eat it. They also serve a great coffee and cake! Perfect way to watch the world go by.

5. Explore all the wonderful independent shops
Shop! Hay has a great range of shops where you can buy anything from clothes to decorative nick-nacks.

6. Hire a canoe
Hire a canoe and spend some time discovering the beautiful River Wye. Contact canoe hire companies here. 

7. Find yourself a pub and sample a local ale
Get yourself into a local pub, there are plenty to try in Hay.  Have a look here

8. Go on a walk to the beach
Despite being landlocked, Hay on Wye has its very own beach. Yes, really. The Warren is a pebble beach about a 20 minute walk from town, find out more here

© Hay Warren

9. Go on a Hay Tour

Mari Closeup Castle.jpg

Discover the history of a Hay by going on a Hay Tour. All the guides are local volunteers who enjoy bringing the stories of Hay to life, many of which can be uncovered just by walking along the main streets of the town. During the Hay Festival they will be running a selection of tours which you can find here. 

10. Explore the Black Mountains

The Black Mountains lie within the Brecon Beacons National Park and are composed of red sandstone. This gives the range its name, caused by a ‘Trick of the light’ which makes them appear black.  A single track road with passing places, ascends from the Hay side, leading to Capel-y-Ffin, a small mountain chapel open to visitors; a Monastery established by Father Ignatius a Victorian visionary; Llanthony Priory, founded by an Augustine Order i the 12th Century which although now a ruin, is set in spectacular scenery. This road is appropriately known as the Gospel Pass. Cars can be park in the car park at the base of Hay Bluff allowing you to enjoy the panoramic view over the Radnorshire countryside. Hay Bluff is 677 metres high and a popular place for hang-gliding.


Click here for our town guide to Hay-On-Wye

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