Hay-On-Wye is a magical and whimsical little market town on the English/Welsh borders-near my hometown. Plenty of charming bookshops, cafés and gift shops. And once a year there is an inflow of literary and artistic minds gathered to educate, entertain and inspire.
Ironically for the past 5 years I had not attended an event because I was too busy working in a bookshop or always seemed to book my annual vacation in Malta on the exact same week!
I was fortunate to get a Monday afternoon off and scoured the pages for events to attend. Of course nobody around me gives a damn about reading, the arts so I knew I would be riding solo yet again.
I was very nearly going to attend Mr Hook of Sotheby’s talk on the Art World and his book but then there was a picture book panel with three illustrators/creative extraordinaire’s so being as ridiculously frugal as I am I figured it’d be a three for one which would be a more efficient use of my time.
As you can see the festival like many other literary ones are a series of connected maze-like tents. The entrance to the festival can get very muddy and you would not be out of place to wear wellies particularly as our British Summer may decide to drizzle on us or worse! My Clarke ballet flats fortunately got over the very unbearable though brief exposure to wet mud. It does understandably get very busy and jam-packed as you walk around the tent but it is not that gigantic, you will not get lost and the loos are onsite and easy to get to though the queues for them can be enormous. For some reason I did not eat a thing that whole afternoon so have no idea what the onsite cafés and food stalls are like. There is plenty of seating area in some open café areas.
A note on travel:
Because I live nearby I simply hopped onto my local 39 Hereford to Hay-on-Wye bus. It is an hour ride possibly £9 return ticket if my memory serves. I did notice that the special Festival Bus link last year were late. From what I heard from other festival goers the Festival bus was an hour late and it’s route were delayed (on the Monday I went.) So a lot of people that previously purchased festival bus tickets paid again to use the local 39 Yeomans bus. This Yeomans bus is not in service during the late evening. Anyhoo the drive/ride from Hereford to Hay is beautiful, scenic and quintessentially British. Once you arrive at Hay there are buses going back and forth regularly to the festival site and it’s £1 return to and from Hay and the site. It’s a very quick journey 10 mins max. I hope that helps!