Hay-on-Wye, situated to the west of Hereford, boasts books, books and more books, but that’s not all! Situated on the border of England and Wales, it is a natural destination for anyone who chooses to visit Herefordshire.
Twinned with Redu in Libin, Belgium and Timbuktu, Mali, West Africa, Hay is certainly known as the ‘Town of Book’s’, and is famous for its bookshops and the area’s now world famous Hay Festival; a literary event taking place at the end of May each year that has grown into a stalwart of the Herefordshire event calendar.
The festival, started in 1988 and attracts around 80,000 visitors, who delight in interviews, discussions and performances from some of the biggest literary names in the world, as well as a strong celebrity presence and media interest. Visitors shouldn’t underestimate the quintessential Britishness of this event though, through its heart runs a feeling of family and community, a love of the area, its food, its art and its people.
Building on the area’s success saw the arrival in 2010 of another festival, HowTheLightGetsIn, celebrating philosophy and music and billed as the world’s largest event of its kind. Running alongside Hay Festival and offering comedy, performance, film too, the two festivals complement each other and provide a wealth of choice to those who live or visit Herefordshire.
Where to stay in Hay-on-Wye is easy, there is plenty of accommodation to choose from including hotels, guest houses, B&B’s and cottages. For those who fancy a stay outdoors there are also some great camping and caravan sites. When it’s festival time it’s extra busy, with pop-up yurts, tents and accommodation fully booked – sometimes a year in advance!
Hay-on-Wye is not just all about books and festivals, it’s also about great pubs and inns and gorgeous food, often locally sourced and made, washed down with local ciders, ales and juices. It has something for everyone, steeped in history and boasting two Norman Castles, many walks, the River Wye and the Black Mountains; there is no time to be idle in Hay-on-Wye.
There are plenty of independent shops, a traditional weekly market, galleries, artists, cafes and antique shops to delight every taste and ensure that when you leave a part of you is forever Hay and you yearn to return time after time!