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UK staycation: A review of The Swan Hotel in Hay-on-Wye

Great British boltholes: A grand four-star lodge in the ‘city of books’ that gives allure from a unique period (lately, that is a novel strategy)

  • The Swan in Hay-on-Wye has undergone a £1.5 million refurbishment
  • A sweeping staircase leads as much as 19 ‘generously proportioned’ rooms
  • The eating room is ‘palatial’ and the menu has additionally been refreshed

This imposing Grade II listed Georgian lodge sits on the coronary heart of this ‘town of books’.

While Hay-on-Wye’s literary competition was changed by an internet occasion this yr, the 20-odd bookshops in this tiny market city are again in enterprise – as is the Swan after a £1.5 million refurbishment.


Once you might drive a coach and horses via its reception – which explains the spacious sense of grandeur. Remnants of the coach home might be discovered with a cobbled automotive park resulting in stables, and the names of horses Blodwen and Rooky nonetheless etched upon the partitions.

The Swan is an imposing Grade II listed Georgian hotel, says The Mail on Sunday's Toby Walne

The Swan is an imposing Grade II listed Georgian lodge, says The Mail on Sunday’s Toby Walne 

A sweeping staircase leads as much as 19 generously proportioned rooms.


Mine was elegantly adorned in fashionable nation stylish, the partitions had been a flaxen hue and a heavy linen cover brocaded with gold hung behind an excellent king-size mattress.

The distant Black Mountains might be seen via the home windows, whereas a battered nineteenth Century faculty desk, perfect for leafing via bookshop purchases, sat beside a cast-iron hearth.

But the revamp has been spent largely on loos, so visitors take pleasure in power-shower water stress and piping scorching baths.

The eating room is palatial and faces a walled backyard via two large sash home windows – every 12ft excessive and 5ft large. In hotter climate the home windows are opened so you may stroll via and dine outdoors.


Pictured is one of the hotel's 19 generous and elegant period rooms

Pictured is one of the lodge’s 19 beneficiant and chic interval rooms

The menu has additionally been refreshed, with a lot of selection. Local gin-cured salmon with child potatoes was an appetising starter, with Welsh lamb and mint pie and seasoned chips to observe.

Those feeling adventurous after looking bookshops and vintage emporiums may think about stretching their legs by sampling half of the 177-mile Offa’s Dyke Path.

You can be part of it after only a two-minute stroll from the lodge, and 4 invigorating miles later you’ll attain an historic stone circle with spectacular views of the Brecon Beacons – earlier than a simple stroll again downhill.

If you're feeling adventurous, Toby recommends heading to Gospel Pass (above) for a ten-mile circular walking route

Toby recommends tackling the ten-mile round stroll from Gospel Pass when you’re feeling adventurous 


The Swan at Hay, Hay-on-Wye. B&B prices from £125 an evening (

If you search an even bigger problem, drive 5 miles south to Gospel Pass for a ten-mile round stroll round Twmpa mountain – also referred to as Lord Hereford’s Knob.

Back on the lodge bar, being warmed by its roaring fireplace, you may then sort out the troublesome choice of selecting between a pint of Butty Bach from the native Wye Valley Brewery or a refreshing Swan Gold summer season ale.

The USP: A luxurious bolthole in a city for bookworms. Try to seek out all 21 bookshops – it really works out at one for each 71 residents.

The rooms: The historic grandeur of this privately owned, four-star lodge supplies allure from a unique period. It can also be dog-friendly.

The meals: A vary of domestically sourced, well-priced dishes, when you can’t go improper with the complete Welsh breakfast of bacon, sausage, egg, black pudding, mushrooms and tomato.


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