Monday, 5 December 2016

Hay-on-Wye – From Fortresses to Festivals!

Hay on Wye Castle

Internationally famous for its bookshops, Hay-on-Wye is a Welsh town close to the English border and lies within the Brecon Beacons National Park. Sitting as it does on the River Wye, making the area ideal for river activities like fishing or canoeing, the Marches town is surrounded by some of the most glorious countryside in the UK. A wide-ranging selection of Hay-on-Wye Accommodation makes Hay a superb place to visit whatever your interests.

Situated near to the Black Mountains and with Offa’s Dyke also close to hand, Hay-on-Wye is a popular base for walkers. It’s possible to get a bus (the Offa’s Dyke Flyer) up to Hay Bluff where you can lose yourself in the breath-taking views.

Hay Bluff

The history of the town tells us that there used to be around thirty-four pubs! And if you’re interested in history (and pubs) you may want to visit Hay’s oldest – the Three Tuns in Broad Street which dates back to the 16th century and even still has a block outside for helping you up onto your horse. Another building of note is the Butter Market with its great columns, which was built in 1833.

The Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival, which runs for ten days in early summer, has drawn thousands of visitors to the small town each year since its inception in 1988. The festival attracts many of the world’s big names from the world of literature.

But perhaps what Hay-on-Wye is best known for is the thirty-plus bookshops – many specialising in second-hand books. It’s estimated that there are over a million books for sale at any one time so definitely a book-lovers’ paradise.

Possibly the grandest of all the bookshops is the one located in the castle, which towers over the town.

Hay has two Norman castles fairly close to one another. Walk around the town and you’ll easily spot the castle gateway. The castle replaces an earlier structure, evidence of which can be found as a manmade mound close to the parish church of St Mary.

The town’s stone castle has an entryway that is said to be one of the finest carved castle gateways in the whole of Wales and has as a feature two ancient wooden gates. The castle incorporates a mansion built in the mid 17th century by James Boyle of Hereford and a good part of the fortress’s curtain wall was taken down to enhance the views!

From the early part of the 1800s, the mansion was used as a vicarage for Hay’s clergy and among its distinguished guests was the well-known Victorian diarist, Francis Kilvert.

Whether you’re looking to spend time browsing the bookshelves, exploring the galleries and craft shops or investigating the beautiful area round about, the proprietors of Hay-on-Wye Accommodation pride themselves in offering all their visitors a warm welcome.

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