Things To Do In Hay
Photo by Adam Tatton-Reid | Written by Jade Chernel
Published Monday 5th October 2020
Hay-on-wye, a town situated on the border of England and Wales - celebrated for its abundance of bookshops, famously coined the ‘town of books’. Perhaps a reflection of the bountiful literary variety that the town has to offer, the list of activities to do in Hay-on-Wye is boundless! Below is a compilation of fabulous activities to delve into in Hay – all of which are COVID-safe!
Leaving no book unread… A whistle-stop tour of Hay-on-Wye’s bookshops.
Hay is the book capital of the United Kingdom and as such, is full to the brim of bookshops, with each shop selling a range of books from second-hand books to extremely rare and out of print publications. If you are looking to explore the literary bounty that the bookshelves of Hay-on-Wye have on offer, we suggest taking a look at few of the following attractions!
Richard Booth’s Bookshop, the crown jewel of bookshops in more ways than one; a picturesque, three-story book emporium previously owned by Richard Booth – the self-proclaimed King of Hay. Booths' boasts a beautifully restored exterior, and there is something for everyone in this bookshop which certainly makes it worth adding to your Hay-on-Wye itinerary. However, Booth’s bookshop is not the only bookshop worth visiting in Hay, others include Hay Cinema Bookshop which holds an impressive 200,000+ books and Addyman’s Books which specialises in rarer finds, both essential to anyone’s Hay-on-Wye bookshop tour. Alongside these, The Poetry Bookshop offers a wide-ranging assortment of rare and second-hand poetry. Yet another great bookshop in Hay is Murder and Mayhem that specialises in crime fiction novels to really ignite your imagination! There is something for everyone in the numerous bookshops that Hay-on-Wye has to offer!
Fuelling your Hay-on-Wye adventures.
Whether you are taking a day trip or stopping over in Hay for a few days, you will need to know some good spots to enjoy some food and drink. Here at the Globe at Hay, we’re offering our newly updated food menu; now with more vegetarian and vegan options. – There is a variety of delicious meals to enjoy from mouth-watering burgers to scrumptious falafel pittas. Not feeling particularly hungry? Stop in for tea and coffees and enjoy the ambience of the building itself, a converted Methodist church with magnificent high ceilings and original features. The Globe also boasts a large and lovely garden, now with outdoor heaters so as we near the winter months you can continue to keep warm while enjoying the freshness of the outdoors.
For a lighter snack we recommend popping into CJ Gibbons butchery to sample their famous pork pies and seeing what else their deli has to offer. If you are opting for a sweeter snack, of course, we recommend stopping by Shepherds Ice-Cream parlour, famous for making its delicious Ice-cream using the finest quality sheep’s milk, it is simply not a visit to Hay without a visit to Shepherd’s. In addition to Shepherds, The Fudge Shop in Hay-on-Wye offers a fantastic selection of home-made fudge and other delicious goodies.
Alternatively, the Hay-On-Wye food market opens at 9:00 am every Thursday. Hay’s Market day has been a traditional aspect of Hay’s identity for 700 years, and there are plenty of stalls offering everything from local organic produce to fresh fish. The diverse Hay market also accommodates vintage flea market stalls and artisan hand-crafted items for sale. All in all, it is thoroughly enjoyable watching the Memorial square transform into a vibrant marketplace each Thursday, so if you can, we thoroughly recommend taking some time to shop around and support the Hay-on-Wye locals!
Boat? Signing yourself up for a boat-tour on a kayak or a canoe on the river Wye is a fantastic way to enjoy the wonders of nature. We highly recommend Celtic Canoes as they offer a range of canoe trips varying in distance, they also offer camping expeditions with all equipment included! There really is a canoe trip to suit everyone’s preferences! A Celtic canoe trip typically starts in the village of Glasbury and passes through Hay town via the river, so why not make a pit-stop in Hay to do some brief exploring of the town or grab a quick lunch at the Globe at Hay which is just a short walk away from the river’s banks.
Foot? Hay-on-Wye is conveniently close to some extraordinary walking routes, especially if your aim is to explore the Brecon Beacon National Park. Set yourself a challenge and tackle the climb up Hay Bluff and Twmpa, the links provide all the information you may need to plan your walking expedition. The ascent is moderate and is an estimated four hours, however, the panoramic views are second to none which makes this trek one that is wholly worth doing!
If however, you are not planning on conquering the Black Mountains this time round, The Warren is one of Hay’s most tranquil wild swimming spots! This natural gem is an entirely idyllic place to enjoy nature with the river meandering gently past as sheep graze on the surrounding green meadows. Whether you are after some alone time to relax or perhaps you are seeking a brisk refreshing swim, the Warren is most certainly the place to be.
Be sure to pick up picnic supplies when venturing to these idyllic locations, Hay Deli is a delicatessen which sells a range of local, organic & specialist foods and delicious treats, perfect for stocking up for a trip or local gifts to bring home to friends and family.
We do hope this guide gives a good idea of the many marvellous things to do in Hay, and we hope that it has inspired those who have never visited Hay to make the trip and for those who have visited, we hope to see you all again! All the establishments and attractions mentioned above are taking precautions to ensure yours and your family’s safety. Still, as always please be extra vigilant in taking precautions to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus, we are all in this together.
Hay-On-Wye Checklist – What to bring:
• A pair of comfortable shoes to mill around the town in
• Swimming gear – in case you pluck up the courage to brave a swim at the Warren or during your Canoe tour
• Waterproofs – for Canoeing, and climbing Hay Bluff or other walking routes
• Coat and scarf – to keep yourself wrapped up warm
• A reusable bag – in case you are tempted by the fabulous shopping opportunities dotted around Hay!
• Mask – It is now compulsory to wear masks or face coverings indoors in Wales