Check out our guide on things to do in Hay-on-Wye over the Hay Festival Winter Weekend 2023. The Festival itself is a feast of conversations, storytelling, comedy, music, and family workshops, and is a smaller version of the larger Hay Festival which is held in Spring. This year it’s being held 23–26th November. Expect lots of laughter and seasonal joy as well as discussions about the natural world and live music.
What to expect at Hay Festival Winter Weekend 2023
Now in its 24th year, the Winter Weekend is back bigger and better this year, with events taking place in a new 350-seater marquee in the grounds of the historic Hay Castle, tripling the event’s previous capacity. We highly recommend booking tickets to some of the Festival events. Our children can’t wait to go birdwatching with Hamza Yassin.
What’s on in Hay-on-Wye
If you are attending the Festival then you must take the opportunity to make it a real Hay-cation and explore the famous booktown, Hay-on-Wye. The busy town will be bustling with lots of festive things to do in Hay-on-Wye throughout the Festival weekend.
10 things to do in Hay-on-Wye over the Hay Festival Winter Weekend.
- Wander round Hay-on-Wye’s fabulous high street, there is so much to see. The historic town with it’s atmospheric market square is a hive of activity during the festival and it’s thriving highstreet and independent shops make it the perfect place to start ticking things of the Christmas list.
- Get Festive. On the Friday, the Hay Christmas lights are switched on, transforming the town into a winter wonderland brimming with festive cheer. Food from Origin Pizza, Macman, Trigg Food, Gibbons Hog Roast and Happy Dumplin 265. Drinks from Artistraw Cider, Lucky 7 Brewery, Tudor Brewery, live entertainment and steam engine Santa. From 5pm, lights switch on at 6:30pm!
- Post a letter to Santa. Bring your letters for Santa’s postbox, for one night only. Before being collected by Steam-Engine Santa himself as he leaves to go to the North Pole. Friday 24th 5-7pm at the Xmas lights switch on in Memorial Square.
- Sample some local beers in a cosy traditional pub. Our favourites are the Old Black Lion, The Blue Boar and The Three Tuns.
- Head to the Beach. Grab a hot chocolate from Jonny at the Bean Box and take a stroll along the old railway path. Look out for the wooden animal sculptures, ending up at the picturesque Warren Shingle Beach.
- Enjoy some Fizz. Dance into the wee hours at a Cocktail Party on Friday at The Cosy Café with DJ Max Galactic. Visit the Old Electric Shop for live music Thursday, Friday & Saturday (you may even come home with a new disco ball!). Hay Distillery will be serving up delicious cocktails, spirits, local beers & ciders, not forgetting a selection of natural wines and beautiful glassware for sale.
- Head to the movies. Richard Booth’s Bookshop Cinema is an independent cinema in Hay-on-Wye with the most luxurious seats, top snacks and wine!
- Eat some fantastic food. Try Tapas at Tomatitos, Michelin-Cuisine at Chapters and Soul food at The Granary,
- Browse the pop up Shopping Markets. Mad Hatters Artisan Christmas Craft Market on Sunday in The Butter Market in the town centre 10am-4pm. The Thrift Shop pop-up at the Parish Hall on Sunday 10am-1pm.
- Eat, read and be raise money for charity at The Globe. They have loads on; Open Mic night on Friday, Book Launch and Live music with The Roving Crows on Saturday and Together for Timbuktu Charity Fundraiser on Sunday. Burger Me will be serving up delicious brunch, burgers and sides from 10am daily.
Win a Hay-cation and come visit
If this sounds like the perfect way to spend a winter weekend come visit this weekend, or enter our giveaway to come visit in 2024? By the Wye and Hay Festival are offering you and a friend the chance to come to Hay for Winter Weekend 2024, staying in one of the beautiful treetop safari tents at By the Wye which is the perfect base to explore Hay-on-Wye and the Festival. On top of this you can enjoy a pair of tickets to five events of your choosing at Hay Festival Winter Weekend. Hopefully see you in Hay soon!