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Hay Castle: Britain’s Oldest Working Defensive Gates

Brief Introduction

Hay Castle in Wales boasts a rich history dating back to the Norman invasion. With its partially Norman, Jacobean, and Victorian architecture, the castle has served as a military stronghold, a grand residence, and even a famous bookshop.

The best time to visit Hay Castle is during the summer months (June to August) to fully enjoy the outdoor spaces and pleasant weather. However, the castle is open year-round for tours with its cozy cafe offering warmth during the winter.

My visit to Hay Castle

Hay Castle’s intriguing history, particularly its ancient gates, sparked my interest in visiting. Here are 5 must-see spots you shouldn’t miss when you come:

  1. The Great Gates: Witness the oldest working defensive gates in Britain, some parts dating back to the 14th and 17th centuries.
  2. The Keep: Explore the four-story keep, offering stunning views of the town and the River Wye.
  3. The Jacobean Manor House: Discover the remains of the grand manor house, which unfortunately suffered from fires in 1939 and 1977.
  4. The Castle Cafe: Enjoy a delicious meal or snack in the cafe, bathed in natural light and offering a warm atmosphere with its fireplace during winter.
  5. The Castle Grounds: Relax on the castle lawn, enjoy the terrace in summer, or take a walk through the remnants of the 18th-century formal gardens and 19th-century terraced gardens.

FAQ about Hay Castle

  1. What are the opening hours of Hay Castle?

Hay Castle is open daily from 10am for tours.

  1. Where is Hay Castle located?

The address is Hay Castle, Oxford Rd, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford HR3 5DG.

  1. Is there a cafe at Hay Castle?

Yes, the castle cafe offers brunch, light lunches, cakes, snacks, and beverages. They have indoor and outdoor seating depending on the season.

  1. What is the historical significance of Hay Castle?

Hay Castle has played a significant role in Welsh history. It served as a Norman stronghold, a residence for Matilda de Braose, and was captured by various forces throughout the centuries.

  1. What are the special features of Hay Castle?

The castle is known for its Great Gates, the oldest working defensive gates in Britain. It also boasts a Norman keep, a Jacobean manor house (partially in ruins), and beautiful castle grounds.

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