Top ten things to do on your visit to Hay Festival this year
The world-renowned Hay Festival takes place year each at the end of May for 10 days in the Welsh market town of Hay-on-Wye on the eastern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park each year. The literary event attracts novelists, poets, scientists, musicians and comedians who congregate to celebrate great writing, music and comedy.
Hay Festival brings writers and readers together to share stories and ideas in events that inspire, examine and entertain. Browse the programme and buy tickets here
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.
- Looking for a place to stay? Find our accommodation here.
- Download our Visitor Guide to the Brecon Beacons here
Have a read of our top ten things to do during Hay Festival for ideas.
1. Head to one of the towns many second hand bookshops
Bookshops in Hay-on-Wye
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.
2. Take a wander around Hay Castle
You can’t miss Hay Castle as it is located in the centre of the market town. Inside the grounds there are lots of shops for you to peruse, it is also holding events for the festival this year.
3. Hire a bike
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. Go on a walk with Walk Hay
Canoeing on the River Wye crown copyright
5. Hire a canoe and explore the River Wye
Hire a canoe and spend some time discovering the beautiful River Wye. Contact canoe hire companies here.
6. 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
7. 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
8. 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, we’d recommend popping into the Welsh Girl Hay.
9. Sightseeing ideas
This is one of Britain’s most scenic spots, with the full array of country pursuits (walking, cycling, riding, adventure sport, etc) on offer. The ancient trail of Offa’s Dyke Path passes through the town, and a climb up Hay Bluff is rewarded by views right along the Wye Valley and surrounding Brecon Beacons. Keen cyclists take note: the road up to Hay Bluff is known as Gospel Pass, the highest public road in Wales.
10. Great Days Out – Black Mountains
The Brecon Beacons National Park is a beautiful part of Wales, and there are masses of ways to explore it. It’s easy to plan your own day trips in our Park, lasting anything from a couple of hours to a full day.
Walkers on Hay Bluff crown copyright
The eastern side of the Brecon Beacons National Park has peaceful churches and wonderful views of rolling hillsides. From Talgarth, it’s easy to get to tranquil beauty spots such as Llangorse Lake and Pwll-y-Wrach Nature Reserve. Read more here
Explore the area yourself – 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.