Christmas 2017

Christmas in Hay on Wye – here’s a snapshot of the goings-on in 2017 thanks to everyone who made it the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER . . . 


Christmas Lights ‘The Big Switch ON!’
Date: Friday 24 November
Venue: Cheese Market / Memorial Carpark
Time: 5pm – 7.30pm (lights switch-on at approximately 6pm . . . by the one and only Matt Lucas!
It’s free, just turn up!
See Hay-on-Wye transformed into a winter wonderland brimming with festive cheer as a very special guest turns on the town’s Christmas Lights during Hay Festival Winter Weekend. Accompanied by carol singing, readings and evening entertainment, it’s an evening of family fun to kick off the weekend in good spirits.  Castle Street is closed to vehicles so lots of our brilliant independent shops spill out onto the pavement, chestnuts roast, mince pies are aplenty and cider and wine is mulled, the smells and sounds all inviting you down to the Cheese Market/Memorial Carpark where Hay School and more than twenty other local businesses have Christmas Stalls in the huge marquee.  This is the REAL Hay-on-Wye, where visitors and the local residents can celebrate the special time of year and this unique little town together – see you there!

Hay Big Christmas Switch On

Hay on Wye Winter Food Festival!
Date: Saturday 25th November
Venue: Memorial Carpark
Time:  10am – 5pm
It’s free, just turn up!

Hay Does Vintage!
Date: Sunday 26th November
Venue: Memorial Carpark
Time: 10.30am – 4pm
Here we go again! The TENTH vintage and retro fayre to be held RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF HAY!! Come along and enjoy over 50 fantastic traders in THREE venues selling everything from vintage clothes, kitchenalia, furniture, posters, books, jewellery, textiles and lots more.
£1 door fee. Not-for-profit event.

The Welsh Girl
Date: Every Thurs, Fri and Sat!
Venue: St John’s Place (up the ‘wonky steps’ above St John’s Place Restaurant), 3 Lion Street, Hay on Wye, HR3 5AA
Time: 10.30am – 5pm (but open later till 6pm during Hay Winter Weekend)
The Welsh Girl range, a contemporary take on tradition, comprises of ponchos that double as throws, coler cwtch scarves, cushions in various shapes and sizes and bags. The cloth, woven on traditional looms that the iconic Welsh tapestry blankets were once woven on, is produced in colour combinations unique to The Welsh Girl. Only small runs are made and no two colour combinations are ever repeated, making each of these pieces limited edition items. The patchworks are created from traditional Welsh flannel and only one of a kind cushions and three of a kind bags are made. Everything is designed and handmade at her studio/shop in Hay on Wye –
Version 2

This year’s Hay Festival Winter Weekend, 23 – 26 November 2017, will be their biggest yet with a new 400-seater venue and extended programming.

The festival offers four days of family fun within the picturesque surrounds of the Hay’s independent bookshops, cafés, and markets.

Now in its 18th year, the programme of talks (announced 16 October) available here – FULL PROGRAMME – will be the most ambitious yet, highlighting the world’s best new fiction, non-fiction and poetry. A new venue will double the festival’s seated capacity and further transform the town centre into a playground of ideas. Events will also begin a day earlier than previous years, with programmed talks and performances from Thursday 23 November.

Workshops for young people take inspiration from the festival’s #HAYTREES project, with tree- to-type printmaking, festival crafts and Forest School events, plus a host of engaging talks for all ages featuring the very best writers for young people.


Late Night Christmas Shopping
Dates: Every Thursday once the lights are on! 30th November and the 7th, 14th & 21st December
Venue: Many of our fabulous independent shops are participating, see list below…
Time:  Until 8pm
A wise person once said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that all things necessary for Christmas present solutions are to be found in Hay on Wye.”  To that tune Hay Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce LATE NIGHT OPENING at lots of our brilliant independent shops this year for Christmas. Until 8pm every Thursday from the 30th November – 21st December. This will give us all even more opportunities to support our hard-working small businesses during the festive season and buy great gifts, produce and treats locally.  There’s also talk of choirs singing carols, steaming hot-chocolate and kissing under the mistletoe!
Shops confirmed so far . . .
The Old Electric Shop
Charlotte of Hay – also open late on Friday evenings
Addyman Books (Lion Street shops)
Eighteen Rabbit
The Poetry Bookshop
The Welsh Girl
Alanas Baby Corner
The Great English Outdoors
Castle Greengrocers
CJ Gibbons Family Butchers
PSM Outdoors
Hay Antiques Market
Pughs @ Londis
The Hay Makers
Fleur De Lys
RM Jones Pharmacy (the shop is open late but there might not be pharmacist cover every Thursday evening – keep an eye on their facebook page for updates)
Beer Revolution
Please note that although they aren’t able to open late Hay Deli will be open 7 days a week during the Christmas period!
. . . those joining in will also post ‘WE’RE IN!’ on their social media so stay tuned!
See you there with bells on! 


Christmas Artisan Market & Café
Date: Sunday 3rd December
Venue: Hosted by The Big Skill at The Swan @ Hay
Time:  10:30am – 4.30pm
It’s free, just turn up!

The Big Skill will be hosting a festive Artisan Market in the beautiful Swan hotel in Hay on Wye.
There will be lots of stalls full of handcrafted gifts and treats for you to buy, and one or two (must be booked) festive workshops too.  A Christmas Cafe will serve mulled wine, prosecco, warm drinks and mince pies, and all the visitors to the Market can, if they wish, book lunch or dinner at the hotel with a 10% discount (call the hotel for dining bookings)
To apply for a stall, please email with photos, online links, descriptions of your own Handmade art, craft or produce.

Make the magic happen . . . 

Get involved! Help us to light up Hay this Christmas, 2018! We need to raise at a few thousand pounds to fund the  installation and maintenance, taking them down again in January, and the costs of the “Switching On” event at the end of November.

Thank you to everyone who donated over the last couple of years and everyone who is donating so generously towards the 2018 effort already! We hope businesses and residents will want to contribute towards the lights, which really add a touch of magic to Christmas in Hay. Here’s how you can play your part:

Donate online now via PayPal or credit card.

Drop off a donation in person with Andrew at Eighteen Rabbit Fair Trade.

Give us a call on 01497 822882 and we’ll collect from you.

An army of Chamber Elves will also be out and about collecting from businesses in October 18 – please give generously!