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Things to do in Hay-on-Wye

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Bookshop
“You can easily spend half a day (if not longer) in here! When our youngest is home from Uni I regularly do! Large bookshop (also has a cafe) with a huge selection of new and secondhand books.”
  • 18 locals recommend
Cinema
“This small cinema (49 seats) is a popular place so booking is essential. Visit the website for an updated list of whats showing. Regularly screens live theatre and musicals.”
  • 8 locals recommend
Pub
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“Great local pub- friendly. Used by locals and tourists alike. Cosy atmosphere. Two fires in the winter. Local ales. Great food at an affordable price.”
  • 11 locals recommend
Tapas Restaurant
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“Always busy, friendly pub serving Spanish-style tapas food in the middle of Hay-on-Wye.”
  • 13 locals recommend
Furniture / Home Store
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“Eclectic shop full of vintage items, great books and clothes, plus an amazing cafe”
  • 9 locals recommend
College Library
“Hay is a busy, thriving market town which has developed a reputation as the second-hand book capital of the world, following the arrival in the 1960s of the self-declared King of Hay – Richard Booth. Today, with over 30 book shops, it is also the setting for the international Hay Literary Festival held in May each year. Hay is a great place to potter. It has a great range of independent shops selling antiques, individual gifts, good food, a boutique cinema, high-quality clothes shops for men and women, and, of course, books.”
  • 85 locals recommend
Antique Shop
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“If you're looking for some tasty treats then pop in here. Local cheeses, fine wines and lots of other tempting things.”
  • 6 locals recommend
Café
“Top quality arts and music venue with a varied programme. The cafe serves wonderful food.”
  • 8 locals recommend
Coffee Shop
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“Yummy sandwiches and coffee. Perfect cosy spot for hot chocolate after a hike on Hay Bluff or a great place to cool off in the summer with a famous, homemade sheep milk ice-cream. (The ice-cream is to die for)”
  • 9 locals recommend
Bike Shop
“For biking contact Drovers in Hay for bike and equipment hire and route advice. www.drovercycles.co.uk ”
  • 7 locals recommend
Entertainment
“An amazing 10 day literary festival... wide ranging, something for everyone including children.”
  • 7 locals recommend
Nature
“Fancy spending a few hours meandering down the River Wye? This is one of a few local hire companies. Want to Canoe are situated just before Hay bridge.”
  • 6 locals recommend
Fishing Spot
“When the weather's good, this is where we take the kids - it's our river beach fronting the River Wye with a big field behind, pebbly beaches, and the water is deep enough to swim. We take picnics, have barbeques, and hang out. Dogs roam freely and swim too. You can park there, but on a hot day it gets a bit short on spaces so you may need to park and walk. Directions - from Hay take Gypsy Castle Lane by the Swan Hotel, past the right turn to Warren Close, then take the next right down a rough, stony track to the end. Park there and take the obvious path to the river.”
  • 3 locals recommend
Restaurant
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“St John’s Place, Hay - 07855 783799 The chef Julia is really creative. See her menu on the website. You will have to book! Serving Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm. ”
  • 3 locals recommend
Entertainment
“The Hay Festival of Literature & Arts is an annual literature festival held in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales, for ten days from May to June. Devised by Norman, Rhoda and Peter Florence in 1988. It has become a prominent festival in British culture, and sessions at the festival have been recorded for television and radio programmes such as The Readers' and Writers' Roadshow and The One Show. ”
  • 5 locals recommend
Book Store
“Home to Hay Festival, it's a great little town packed full of bookshops, independent shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. We love The Three Tons pub. Also a great well stocked health food shop there too.”
  • 4 locals recommend

Top restaurants

Café
“Top quality arts and music venue with a varied programme. The cafe serves wonderful food.”
  • 8 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Much-lauded foodie haven, as reviewed by The Independent, Telegraph and ITV's 'Great Pubs of Wales'. Live jazz every Friday evening.”
  • 4 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Hay on Wye HR3 5AA (Open Tuesday to Saturday 11 - 14:00) Absolutely scrummy veggie or vegan lunches... generally Tom offers only one choice each day either falafel, haloumi, refried beans, dumplings or curries with amazing accompaniments but I’ve always been delighted. Excellent value. Just one table so served in a biodegradable container with a wooden fork and find a bench or take down to the river. Perfect for lunch any time of the year. ”
  • 4 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Quite exceptional dining. Utterly unpretentious, with all attention on a thoughtfully assembled menu of stunning flavours.”
  • 4 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Owned and run by two sisters who make sure all the food is homemade and delicious - especially the pies and cakes!! G”
  • 4 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Solid and imaginative cooking lies at the heart of Red Indigo, a Bangladeshi restaurant .”
  • 2 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Really great food for lunch and dinner. Beautiful afternoon tea. Delightful garden for spending an afternoon when in Hay-on-Wye. ”
  • 2 locals recommend

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