Hay-on-Wye (Y Gelli or Y Gelli Gandryll in Welsh) is a small town with a population of about 1,900 in Mid Wales, on the River Wye, very close to the English border and within the borders of Brecon Beacons National Park.
A "town of books", with at least 41 bookshops (mostly second-hand, antiquarian, and collectors), Hay-on-Wye is probably best known as the location of a prestigious annual Hay Festival.
Since 1988, Hay-on-Wye has been the worthy venue for a literary festival which draws over 80,000 bibliophile visitors over 10 days at the end of May and beginning of June, in order to buy books, attend book launches and to see and hear big literary names from all over the world. High profile visitors to the Book Fair have included former US President Bill Clinton.
From London, follow the M4 motorway over the Severn Bridge to Junction 24 (at Newport). Take the A449 and then the A40 to Abergavenny. Stay on the A40 until just after the village of Crickhowell, then turn right onto the A479 to Talgarth. From here take the road sign-posted to Three Cocks & Hay-on- Wye (A4079 end then right onto the A438), on reaching Three Cocks stay on the same road and continue on into Hay (B4350).
Alternatively, take the M40 to the outskirts of Oxford and then the A40 to Cheltenham and onto Gloucester, stay on the A40 around Gloucester and on to Ross-on-Wye. At the Wilton roundabout outside Ross take the A49 to Hereford. From Hereford, take the A438 towards Brecon. On reaching the village of Clyro, turn left onto the B4351 into Hay.
The most convenient train station to Hay-on-Wye for travellers from most of the United Kingdom is some 22 miles east at Hereford. For those coming from Wales, other nearby stations are at Builth Wells and Llandrindod Wells.
During the Hay Festival, a shuttle bus service runs to the town from Hereford station.
Bus service number 39 runs from Hereford via Peterchurch. There is a stop for Bus 39 on the road just outside the train station in Hereford. The journey takes one hour and runs several times a day Monday to Saturday.
Bus 39A from Hay-on-Wye runs only three times on Sundays.
The bus stop in Hay-on-Wye is near the tourist office, on Oxford Road; the stop for the bus going back to Hereford is across the road from the tourist office.
- Offa's Dyke Path. It passes through Hay-on-Wye, presenting the opportunity for a hike, either north or south.
- The Guardian Hay Festival: . A literary festival, which Bill Clinton aptly described as 'The Woodstock for the Mind.' Held in late May, early June each year. (date needs fixing)
- Books, of course! Numerous outlets exist....
- Clothes. There are a number of independent shops selling clothes and shoes.
- Music - CDs, second-hand sheet music and books about music from a couple of specialist shops.
- Art and crafts by local artists;
- Teddy bears and jigsaws.
- 1 Rhydspence Inn, Whitney-On-Wye (A438 between Hereford and Brecon on the Welsh border), ☏ . 11:00-15:00 & 19:00-23:00. A 14th-century country inn on the Welsh border of the Wye Valley, the Rhydspence Inn enjoys magnificent views of the Welsh hills and picturesque Herefordshire countryside.
- 2 The Swan at Hay, Church St (middle of town, opposite the Cinema Bookshop), ☏ . A cosy hotel in the middle of town that does seriously good food (the chef trained in France). The garden is the place to enjoy a drink or bite to eat in the summer - absolutely beautiful.
Accommodation options abound in and around Hay-on-Wye, although travellers to the annual festival should note that there is a dramatic increase in room rates during this period. Staying in a nearby town is also an option.
- 1 Kilverts Inn, The Bull Ring, ☏ .
- 2 The Baskerville Arms Hotel, Clyro, ☏ .
- 3 Westbrook Court, Westbrook HR3 5SY, ☏ . Bold modern design for this pizzazzy B&B behind a 17th-century farmhouse. B&B double £110.
- 4 By the Wye, HR3 5RS (look out for the sign on Hay Bridge), ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 10:00. in the heart of town, elevated in clearings between trees, on the bank of the River Wye is this luxury treetop accommodation. Off-Grid woodland glamping accommodation perched on platforms, floating above the woodland floor in the Brecon Beacons dark sky reserve. Only 3 night stays starting on Friday or 4 nights starting on Monday are possible. from £130/night.
- 5 Cosy Under Canvas, Newchurch HR5 3QQ, ☏ . Upscale glamping in "domes", open Mar-Nov. £80 / night.
- Builth Wells. An historic market town 19 km from Hay.
- Llandrindod Wells. A Victorian spa
- Swansea and the Gower Peninsula. Wales' maritime city - wonderful beaches and excellent recreational facilities. Swansea is a three hour train journey on the Heart of Wales Line from Llandrindod Wells.