Hay-on-wye (Y Gelli) Tourism And Travel Guide
17° C / 62.7° F
May to September
1 to 2 Days
Hay-on-Wye is a lovely little town by the River Wye with the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Black Mountains to its West and South and a lush green agricultural landscape in Herefordshire to its East. Renowned for being a town of books and for its annual Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye is also an excellent place to explore some serious walk trails, primarily at the Wye Valley and the Offa’s Dyke Trails. August is usually jam-packed in Hay-on-Wye, as is July and then September and during this time, travel turns out to be an expensive proposition. Winters are rather dull from a tourism perspective but great for lucrative travel deals.
You will find the lovely Hay-on-Wye warm, welcoming & vibrant, with a wide array of high-quality art & craft stores, antique shops, high fashion boutiques and of course country clothing stores, with flea markets every Thursday and locals sharing conversations and gossip! Here’s a travel guide to what you can look forward to when visiting Hay-on-Wye.
How to Reach
The best way of reaching Hay-on-Wye is to catch a flight from New Delhi to Birmingham International and then make the onward journey on a train. With a duration of roughly 17 hours, the approximate travel cost for one way journey works out to INR 65,000. Airlines operating in this sector include Lufthansa, KLM, Swiss Air, Air France, Qatar Airways and a few more. You can explore flight options to Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff, London Heathrow or Liverpool, instead of Birmingham to reach Hay-on-Wye.
Once you land at Birmingham International, catch a train for Birmingham New Street, from where you’ll get the next train to Hereford Train Station. An hour and 24 minutes later, you can then hail a bus for Hay-on-Wye. There are trains for Birmingham New Street and Hereford every 10 minutes and every 1 hour (respectively).
Post the train ride from Birmingham to Hereford, you can board a bus for Hay-on-Wye, which is about an hour’s travel in an estimated fare of INR 750. Other options include traveling from Birmingham-Smallbrook Queensway to the Crowngate Bus Station and then take another bus to the Country Bus Terminal for an onward journey to Hay-on-Wye. The total travel duration is roughly 6 hours.
Accessing Hay-on-Wye is relatively easy on a bus or a train, with the nearest bus station being the Hay Castle, a 3-minute walk for the T14 stop. There is continuous bus connectivity between Herefordshire Rail Station and Hay-on-Wye, in addition to local taxi, bicycles and of course walking options.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The period of March through May is fairly cold with temperatures oscillating between 10°C and 19°C. April and May are relatively warmer and the town witnesses over 4 to 7 days of rainfall every month. Spring is the second busiest time of the year for Hay-on-Wye and also the time for the Hay Festival, one of the most popular events in town.
If you like making road trips or cycling around the countryside and love brisk walks, then you’d love spending the summer season in Hay-on-Wye. The town’s fairly pleasant with a comfortable temperature and comfy weather as well. Considered one of the best times to visit this bookish town, June through August is the busiest for incoming tourist traffic and the accommodation options can work out quite expensive.
The average temperature in Hay-on-Wye during the fall season ranges from 9°C to 20°C, given the combined levels of wind and humidity, with over 20/25 dry days each month. The town receives 4-9 days of rain or snowfall per month, which affects tourism as well, but does open doors for travelers looking for great offers!
Winters in Hay-on-Wye are cold and can be unnerving to those who’re averse to such weather conditions. With an average of 7°C and nearly 6-8 days of rainfall / 1 to 3 days of snowfall in a month, tourism is slow and dull from December through February, but can be enjoyable with the seasonal festivities in town.
Things To Do
There are a variety of watersports that you can indulge in Hay-on-Wye, right from paddlesports to extreme kayaking on steep cascades, to experiencing the tranquil & serene reservoirs and canals, canoeing and rafting. There are a number of access points from where you can participate in any of these activities with waters graded from 1 to 6 (easy to very hard). You can also enjoy dinghy sailing and windsurfing at one of the largest natural lakes in Wales, the Llangorse Lake which spans over 400 acres of an old glacial hollow between the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons or sail in the gorgeous mountain setting at Pontsticill Reservoir close to Merthyr Tydfil.
Caving & Potholing:
With some of the most varied and exciting caving areas in Britain, you can explore the longest caves in Hay-on-Wye under the supervision of experienced instructors & guides. From an opportunity to discover caves and admiring rock formations to learning about different caving skills, rope techniques, etc, be a witness to some amazing underground caves and caverns and enjoy the thrill of exploration!
Paragliding & Gliding:
Enjoy soaring in the sky and over the rolling green landscapes in a glider with paragliding and hang gliding activities. With some of the best sites offering these air adventures in and around Hay-on-Wye, you can fly along the hill ridges or share a thermal with a buzzard! Rise silently above the Black Mountains and the Wye Valley on a glider with a qualified instructor and be privy to some panoramic views on the west end.
Go bonkers go-karting in or around Hay-on-Wye with numerous indoor circuits, custom made or outdoor circuits available through the year for varied racing experiences. With a combination of high-speed straights and tight corners, put your karting skills to the ultimate trial and show off behind the wheels. Some of the best places to go go-karting include Karting Worcester, Karting Bristol, Karting Newport, and more.
Visit Children's’ Farms:
There are a number of farms that your whole family can enjoy visiting and spending time in the company of many miniature & rare animal and bird species and different varieties of owls from across the globe. The Small Breeds Farm & Owl Centre is a working local farm at the GreenMeadow Community Farm along that gives you close encounters with cattle, sheep, pigs, goats & more. Go Llama Trekking at the Old King Street Farm and be delighted with these charming, gentle and curious animals as you go wandering through the beautiful countryside in South Herefordshire.
Where To Eat
Being UK’s bookshop capital, Hay-on-Wye’s soaked in literal and fictional quirks and the Herefordshire culture. With spectacular views of the Brecon Beacons, it is the perfect place to unwind in the company of your favorite book and breathe in the fresh country air, not to forget fresh local eats, handpicked from the best eateries and cafes around the town. The Globe Hay, located inside the Institute of Art & Ideas at the Globe has a variety of coffee and cakes in addition to a perfect ambiance of dance class, live jazz music, art installations and more. the Bookshop Café attached to Richard Booth’s bookstore is an ideal retreat with an intimate café space, contemporary artwork and simple, seasonal eats that include sesame spring greens, baked honey & mustard salmon and more!
The Tomatitos Tapas Bar is a well-stocked joint in a perfect blend of rural Welsh décor and a taste of Spain as its offering. With a variety of authentic tapas with unique twists, locally sourced ingredients and carefully selected meats, you’ll find a diverse and well-managed menu in combination with different Portugues and Spanish Wines. Then, there the Old Stables Tea Room, a family venture that offers a colorful breakfast spread, light lunch options and full meals with locally sourced and homemade ingredients. Warm scones topped with Passion Preserves that have earned quite a repute, a lovely selection of tea and fresh sandwiches along with a rustic interior décor make this place comfortable and quite country like. Some other notable joints include the Swan, Three Tuns and Shepherd’s Ice Cream.
Where To Shop
Its reputation precedes Hay-on-Wye’s literary heritage with over 30 bookstores placed in different locations amongst which there are a variety of bookshops specializing in children’s books, second-hand stores, cinema bookshop, stores with antique editions, poetry specific book shops, bookstores with varying content on art, sex and philosophy, occult and more. There is more to this town than just books. From designer fashion to antiques to jewellery, gift items, vinyl records, local crafts and souvenirs, Hay’s colorful and eclectic assortment of shops have thriving businesses and things to offer to its visitors. You can also explore the busy weekly market every Thursday with nearly 40 stalls ranging with local produce, bakes & cakes, cheese and gourmet delights on offer.
Some must-visit stores include the Botanical Art Elements for beautiful and contemporary artworks, the Hay Makers for premium quality handicrafts, jewelry and more, L'Armoire for designer wear, and the Table Art Gallery with both local and other talented masterpieces.