Liz Oakley, one of our Leisure Activity leaders, has recently returned from leading our Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival holiday, based at Nythfa House, Brecon. Read her summary of this slightly different holiday:
The Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival which this year has celebrated its
25th anniversary is a very special experience. Based under canvas, half a mile out from the little town of books (over 20 bookshops, including a former cinema), it has an excitement and a buzz which draw HF Holidays' guests back year after year. Several in my group said they make it a regular holiday and one can see why: they stay along with a congenial group of like-minded festival goers in the comfortable Nythfa House in Brecon, thereby avoiding the hassle of muddy parking and queues of traffic. The festival programme each year caters for a remarkable diversity of tastes and specialist interests. It attracts people of all ages, and in an age when the death of the book is on everyone’s lips, it is heartening to see so many families there and children lining up to have their newly purchased books signed by the author. There is a democracy about the shared space: you rub shoulders with the speakers and find yourself easily starting conversations with your neighbours as you wait for events to start. Despite the disadvantages of sitting in tents in rainy and chilly weather, the standard of talks is very high and the audience soon becomes totally absorbed.
This holiday gives guests space to make their individual choices while offering opportunity to share experiences. And there are always surprises in store for a leader such as the modest and retiring guest who, after thanking me warmly for an enjoyable holiday, told me that she would not be at breakfast on the last morning as she was being interviewed at 8 o’clock on the Radio 4 Today programme. I found out later that she was giving a Royal Society lecture at the Festival the following evening.
We will return to Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival in 2014.
Join us for the Cheltenham Literary Festival, on Monday 8 October, based at Bourton on the Water. Exact programme details will be published on our website shortly. Only a few spaces left!