Hay-on-Wye

Literary credentials. Festival favourite. Outdoor adventures.

  • Books, books & more books!
  • Home to two international Festivals
  • Superb independent cafes & shops
  • Brilliant base for outdoor pursuits
  • Straddles the border between England & Wales
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Hay-on-Wye


For a tiny place, Hay-on-Wye has a really big reputation. Dubbed the ‘Town of Books’ for its profusion of bookshops, Hay is also home to two international festivals: great writers, thinkers, artists and musicians share their big ideas at Hay Festival and How The Light Gets In. Beyond its cultural life, Hay’s location makes it an ideal base for outdoor adventures – hugging the River Wye, and with a foot in both England and Wales, it's a captivating place to visit for bibliophiles, walkers and water-lovers alike.

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hay on wye

A Characterful High Street

The independent spirit is strong in Hay-on-Wye – and that's evident on the high street. Traditional shopfronts painted in zingy colours will lure you in to browse art galleries, homeware stores and eclectic antiques emporia. And of course there are countless bookshops stocked with antique, second-hand and new books catering for every literary taste, from detective fiction to poetry. You'll find foodie gems, too, including relaxed boho cafes and a retro sheep's milk ice-cream parlour. The weekly Thursday morning market is packed with more than 40 stalls piled with gorgeous edible goodies. 

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The Wye

Fun on the River Wye

Over 100 miles of the Wye is navigable to canoes and kayaks – get a taste of river life on a half-day paddle to Whitney-on-Wye, or tackle a multi-day camping and canoe adventure on a guided tour or self-steered voyage. Look out for kingfishers, herons, cormorants, swans and otters as you wind downstream. Wild swimmers, stone skimmers and picnickers head to the Warren, a shingle ‘beach’ and open meadow just a short walk west along the riverside path running behind St Mary's Church.

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Offa's dyke path

Hike or Bike the Hills

Both the Wye Valley Walk and Offa’s Dyke Path pass through Hay-on-Wye, making for some corking days out on foot. Hike south along Offa's Dyke to the heights of Hay Bluff for far-reaching views over Herefordshire and the Brecon Beacons. Or take to your bike to explore the mountains and quiet country roads – stretch your legs a little farther to roam one of two Cider Circuits or the Black and White Villages trail. 

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Golden Valley

The Golden Valley

Explore the magical Golden Valley stretching southeast of Hay-on-Wye on a road trip or cycle ride. Wind through the rural settlements of Dorstone, Peterchurch, Vowchurch, Abbey Dore and Ewyas Harold, admiring the glorious countryside en route.

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Kington

In the Footsteps of King Offa

Trace the route of the mighty earthwork ordered in the eighth century by King Offa of Mercia to mark the border between England and Wales. Offa's Dyke Path stretches 177 miles from Chepstow to Prestatyn; tackle the short leg from Hay-on-Wye to Newchurch, where walkers can enjoy a cup of tea at the church, or continue the extra miles to Kington.

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