Parts & Accessories

Hay-on-Wye - staying local on our mini-break

18th May 2021 | Marcus Leach
Despite restrictions easing to allow for travel further afield in the UK we opted to stay local again for our most recent trip in our Adamo 75-4i, with the old market town of Hay-on-Wye next in our series of mini breaks.

Nether Kim or I have been to Hay since we attended the world-famous literary festival some years ago, and reasoned that now would be the best time to return, given not only ours, but Harrison and Dorothy’s collective love of books. The fact that there’s any number of walks and cycling routes scattered around the countryside surrounding the old market town added to the appeal.


We continued our recent trend of staying at Caravan and Motorhome Club Certified Locations, which have been ideal for allowing the extra space required with two small children who want to roam free. They might lack the level of amenities that bigger sites offer, but we have found them to be the best option in terms of peace, hassle-free check-ins and so much space.

What to Do in Hay-on-Wye


Go Book Shopping: Given that Hay is famed for multitude of bookshops and annual literary festival it wouldn’t be right to visit and not while away at least a day nosing through the many shops selling all manner of books. No matter what your interest there’s bound to be a bookshop, or at least a book, for you in Hay. There’s even an entire shop devoted to detective fiction, true crime and horror books, so be sure to look out for Murder and Mayhem if that’s your thing.


Hike Hay Bluff: There are a multitude of walks and trails woven into the countryside around Hay, from gentle riverside walks from the heart of the town, through to full day epics in the Black Mountains. However, the iconic walk up Hay Bluff is not one to be missed, and is easily accessed after a short drive out of town headed towards Capel-y-ffin, where there is a car park on the right that you can’t miss. Admittedly it is steep to get half way up the flank of the mountain, but once you turn right onto the track leading to the plateau it becomes a little easier, before flattening out entirely at the top.


Visit Llanthony Priory: If you continue along the same road out of Hay that you take for the walk up Hay Bluff you will eventually reach the little village of Llanthony. Here you will find the enthralling 12th-century Llanthony Priory, or at least what remains of it today. Some 900 years ago this was one of Wales’s greatest medieval buildings, once inhabited by Norman knight William de Lacy, who eschewed war for religion here in this ‘wilderness far removed from the bustle of mankind’. There’s a great pub in the village, The Half Moon in, making this an ideal half-day out with lunch added in for good measure.


Go Gravel Riding… on a Wooden Bike: Local cyclist and engineer Andy Dix founded Twmpa Cycles, named after one of the local peaks, to showcase his wooden bikes (or at least the frames are wood, the rest is top quality components). He is currently offering free test rides to those interested in the bikes and also exploring the local area. Contact him on Instagram to arrange a ride. It is worth mentioning this is more for serious cyclists, rather than those simple looking for a potter about on two wheels. For those with their own bikes there are many wonderful country lanes, bridleways and single tracks to explore at your own pace.


For those looking for something a little more adventurous, or indeed looking for local guidance, Outdoors@Hay offers a wide range of activities from beginners’ orienteering to bushcraft skills, and wild camping in the surrounding Black Mountains.

Where to Eat in Hay-on-Wye


The Old Electric Shop: Tucked away amongst this delightfully curated shop of fascinations, books and discoveries is a little cafe serving some of the best vegetarian and vegan food we have had in a long time. Not only that but they make a superb coffee as well, using locally sourced beans. We don’t know if it will remain on the menu once they can offer ‘dine-in’ food again, but their miso glazed aubergine sourdough flatbread is worth a visit for alone.


The Sandwich Cellar: There’s something so joyously simple about a good sandwich, especially when you’re sat on top of a mountain and wanting to re-energise after a long walk. For those planning a day out in the hills make sure you head to the Sandwich Cellar to pick up a sandwich or three before setting out. They might be simple, but they are superb, especially with a fresh cup of tea and a slice of their homemade cake to round things out.


Tomatitos Tapas Bar: In a town full of more traditional eateries Tomatitos Tapas Bar offers something completely different, and of the best quality as well. Their patatas bravas was as good as any we have had in Spain over the years, and despite being a far way from the sea their calamari is pretty good too.


Shepherds Parlour: Whilst this quaint little shop offers a variety of sandwiches and snacks it’s their ice-cream that steals the show. You will most likely have to queue on the pavement to get one, but it’s most certainly worth the wait.

Where to Stay


We stayed at Ash Meadow Caravan and Motorhome Club Certified Location, which was perfect for our needs; lots of open space for the kids to run about, peaceful and quiet – ever since lockdown we have much preferred small sites with minimal people staying – and close to Hay.


There is another Certified Location on the edge of Hay itself, Dark Orchard, but it books up very quickly given it’s within walking distance of the shops, restaurants and pubs. Another good option close to town is Ashbrook Caravan and Camping, a small family run site surrounded by woodland.