Oxford Road, Hay on Wye
A relaxed and elegant base from which to enjoy hiking in the Wye Valley and mooching around Hay’s book stores and antique shops, Hay Stables is perfectly located right in the heart of the town. With breakfast on a help-yourself basis from the generous store of ingredients, staying here is a bit like having your own country cottage with the added bonus of not having to clean before you leave.
Best known for its second hand book stores and for giving the world Hay Festival, the bohemian and bourgeois market town of Hay-on-Wye is an idyllic weekend retreat. Meander cobbled streets lined with cosy cafés selling organic salads and home made cakes; shop windows of moleskin caps and Clarks shoes and bookshops, all spilling out from the foot of Hay Castle. Walk out of town along the bank of the river or head into Brecon Beacons National Park for some hiking in the Wye Valley before returning to top notch dining in one of the many pubs and restaurants that grace the town’s pavements.
Hay Stables is a three bedroomed Bed & Breakfast located behind the castle, a two minute stroll from the centre of town and with views over Brecon Beacons National Park.
Each of the double, en suite bedrooms is beautifully and tastefully decorated in contemporary design. The two downstairs rooms are bright and airy with French windows onto the front courtyard while the upstairs room where we stayed has attic windows overlooking the National Park and is located right across from the kitchen/dining room so it feels more like a self contained flat.
Furnishings are minimal and stylish while still giving lots of wardrobe and shelf space, the shower is powerful with lashings of hot water and beds are large and comfortable enough to induce lie-ins which, with breakfast in your own hands, is not an issue.
Breakfast is on a make-it-yourself basis which, given the remarkable selection of ingredients on offer, can run from a bowl of cereal to a full English. When we stayed there were four friends in the rooms downstairs who turned the kitchen into a student house, cooking up everything from bacon and eggs to mushrooms, toast and baked beans thrown in for good measure. Teas and coffees run to a dizzying selection, as do cereals, and a large bowl of fresh fruits including pineapple and mango ensure all breakfast angles are covered. With a very relaxed attitude to the whole B&B affair, owners Linda and James are happy for you to use the kitchen/dining room to prepare your own dinner too.
There’s free, fast Wifi throughout the house and there’s a small upstairs garden with a barbecue which you’re free to use on warm and sunny, summer evenings.
Hay-on-Wye is a delightful town which we have been week-ending in for decades and Hay Stables is beautifully in keeping with the town – relaxed, informal, stylish and full of character. Highly recommended.
Hay Stables, Oxford Road, Hay on Wye; (0044) (0)1497 820008; double room with breakfast £30 per person
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+