Explore the Market Town of Hay in Wales

  • Paradise for book lovers, almost every building bulges with books
  • Market town of Hay-on-Wye is the perfect entry to Wales to further explore
  • The 4 Star Swan at Hay hotel launched this February with a new look
  • Enjoy events including Hay Festival Winter Weekend

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Hay-on-Wye or as the locals know it ‘Hay’ is one of Wales’ most popular destinations particularly over the famous Hay Literary Festival each May. But this beautiful market town is the perfect destination for a short break and a wonderful entry town to further explore Wales throughout the year.

The setting itself is magical. Stunning landscapes of the Black Mountains, the meandering River Wye and even a castle. Visitors can hire a canoe or wild swim to explore the scenic river or hire a bike to cycle down to the dramatic north-easternmost tip of the Brecon Beacons. Add to this books…many books, Hay is filled with almost 40 bookshops. There are also plenty of galleries, antique shops and craft shops highlighting local creative talent.

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Over 10 days every year in May during the famous festival some 250,000 visitors descend on the market town, but outside of that period visitors get to calmly explore the many charms on offer. There are many independent traders in Hay and the vibrant and eclectic shops allow visitors to interact with the owners/designers and feel their passion for their craft. There is a bustling weekly local market every Thursday with over 40 stalls.

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The Swan at Hay is the hotel to stay at when visiting Hay. The hotel underwent a complete refurbishment and launched in February and is home to 19 bedrooms, a restaurant and two separate bars where guests can also dine. The hotel has now been awarded 4 Stars by the AA and Visit Wales. The hotel also welcomes dogs in selected bedrooms. The hotel’s restaurant, the Garden Room has secured two AA Rosettes. The 30 cover Garden Room restaurant is open daily. A bar menu is served in either the 1812 Bar (named after the date the hotel was built) with 25 covers or The Market Bar. The Market Bar overlooks the functioning market and dogs are welcome in this bar. The design is rustic with wood salvaged from the original stables.

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With its location nestled in the Welsh and Herefordshire Border Marches, the hotel has access to a wide variety of producers including pork from C.J Gibbons butchers from Hay-on-Wye, The Welsh Venison Centre near Brecon and Castle Street Green Grocers in Hay-on-Wye.

In the winter, the organisers of the famous Hay Festival (scheduled for 24th May – 3rd June 2018) also organise the Hay Festival Winter Weekend (23rd – 26th November). #HAYTREES – a special project in partnership with the Woodland Trust and National Trust in Wales has been launched and aims to create the first Hay Festival Wood as part of an education programme which will see tree plantings in schools across Wales and at Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons National Park. The activity will culminate with a tree-themed Hay Festival Winter Weekend. The Swan at Hay is a host venue for this event with a capacity for 180 people in the function room at the hotel. Elsewhere this winter, the Hay-on-Wye Winter Food Festival takes place on 24th/25th November.

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The Swan at Hay, a grade II listed Georgian building was built in 1812, however a coaching inn on the site was first mentioned in the early 1700s. The hotel is located on Church Street in the heart Hay.

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The Swan at Hay is licensed to hold civil ceremonies and the hotel can cater for up to 120 guests. The hotel is also home to a smaller meeting and events room which can cater for up to 12 guests.

Explore magical Hay staying at Hay-on-Wye’s finest hotel.

Church Street, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5DQ  http://www.swanathay.com 01497 821188

B&B priced from £125 per room per night

Getting there: the nearest train station is Hereford and then it is a 30 minute taxi ride or a bus journey. Bus journeys are not frequent. Recommended taxi firm is Hi-Town Taxis 01432 354321.