Photo of Hay on Wye

About Hay on Wye

A small and picturesque market town in the heart of the Welsh Marches, Hay on Wye is the ideal place to go for a romantic weekend break. Exuding old-world charm and steeped in history and culture, the town is famed for its many bookshops, homely pubs and sweeping natural scenery. Whether you're hiking across the Brecon Beacons, canoeing down the River Wye or checking out the local arts scene at the Lion Street Gallery, you will feel lost in a timeless peace. The best places to stay in Hay on Wye will give you the break of your dreams!

Sitting in the shadow of both the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons, Hay on Wye sits on the banks of the snaking River Wye. Flanked by forests, lakes and rolling green hills, the town nestles in an enviable location. Consider trekking through the nearby Hay Forest, or perhaps rent a canoe from 'Want To Canoe?' and conquer the placid waters of the River Wye. If you're after a cycling holiday, you should visit Drover Cycles: upon hiring a bike, you can cycle to the ruins of Llanthony Priory and enjoy a spot of lunch at the nearby pub.

As for her bookshops, visitors are spoiled for choice. The recently renovated Booth's Books is a popular local institution, but some of the more specialist bookshops deserve a mention: Rose's Books deals in rare out-of-print children's books, while Murder and Mayhem boasts two floors of crime and detective fiction! Pubs like The Old Black Lion are homely and old-fashioned, dishing out sumptous no-nonsense pub-grub and a fine selection of ales.

As for historical heritage, Hay-on-Wye swims in it. Hay Castle is a remarkable sight, principally due to her eclectic stages of design: part Norman, part Jacobean and part Victorian, the castle is a hodgepodge of styles and eras, and makes for delightful exploring. The Cwm Byddog, a motte and bailey castle from the 12th century, is also a must-see, providing a fascinating contrast to the Norman backbone of Hay Castle.

What not to miss

  • Stroll through the peaceful and beautiful Hergest Croft Gardens!
  • Explore the ruins of Hay Castle.
  • Buy some books from Booth's Books!
  • Canoe down the lovely waters of the River Wye.
  • Cycle to the ruins of Llanthony Priory!
  • Check out the local arts scene at te Lion Street Gallery.
  • Walk through Hay Forest!

Picturesque and steeped in culture, Hay on Wye is perfect for that weekend break you've always wanted. Check out our collection of the best places to stay in Hay on Wye to find out more!

The best places to stay in Hay on Wye

Value for money

  • Radnor House: a charming townhouse offering cosy vintage rooms adorned with rustic antiques, a homely sitting room and hearty breakfasts. Ideal for young couples on a budget! 

Chic boutique 

  • The Swan at Hay: a stylish hotels offering chic and elegant rooms with whitewashed walls and antiques, a sumptous gourmet restaurant and a lovely garden. A rejuvenating stay ideal for couples. 

For an apartment or cottage

  • Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of cottages and apartments in the nearby area. 

Travel information

  • The best time to go is during the summer, when the temperature ranges between 10 and 21 degrees. 
  • Fly to Cardiff, get a train to Builth Wells, from where you can get a bus to Hay on Wye. 
  • If you want to rent a car, contact our partner Rentalcars

Still not sure? 

Best Hotels in Hay on Wye

  • Radnor House 4 rooms from CA$152

    Hay on Wye (Hereford)

    A charming historic townhouse in the heart of Hay-on-Wye. The friendly and helpful hosts provide a hearty breakfast and wholesome light meals, and there's a homely sitting room with an open fire. Cosy rooms are simple and rustic with antique furniture and pretty vintage furnishings. Delightful.

    Country Escape  -  This lovely house is ideal for exploring the pretty town and for excursions to the spectacular surrouding countryside
    Great walks  -  Let your hosts point you in the right direction of one of the many nearby countryside walks
    Kayaking  -  Arrange a scenic kayaking trip on the Wye and canals with one of the kayak/canoe operators
    Restrictions on children  -  Adults only
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
    Check prices
  • The Swan at Hay 19 rooms from CA$194

    Hay on Wye

    A chic small hotel in the pretty market town of Hay-on-Wye and just on the edge of the glorious Brecon Beacons. Elegant rooms feature enormous sash windows, white washed walls and choice antiques. The restaurant is fabulous and worthy of a visit alone. A charming stay.

    Country Escape  -  Expect cosy interiors, excellent food and fabulous walks on the Brecon Beacons.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the Hay-on-Wye's magnificent 12th-century castle.
    Full of character
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Check prices