Hay Festival Holiday

Join writers from around the world at this famous literary festival

Code: BRALH

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Activity types:

  • Central location
  • Culture
  • Indoors

Holiday overview

For almost 30 years Hay Festival has brought together writers from around the world to debate and share stories in the staggering beauty of the Welsh Borders.  

The 7-night holiday includes tickets to five festival events, the 3-night holiday to two events and the 4-night holiday to three events. 

Programme & itinerary confirmed for 2019! 

Holiday highlights

  • Soak up the festival atmosphere with a like-minded group 
  • Enhance your festival experience with talks and discussions from our knowledgeable leader 
  • Free time to attend other events during the festival (book early to avoid disappointment!)

Price includes

  • High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
  • The services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
  • Coach transport to and from the festival
  • Good quality tickets for performances and festival sessions
  • Illustrated talks from your HF Holidays’ leader

Accommodation

4 star rating country house in Brecon

 

Nythfa House is a charming Country House, located on the edge of the market town of Brecon. Spacious public rooms, attractive gardens and indoor swimming pool make it a popular and relaxing place to stay.

Nythfa House has 28 bedrooms. Most are located in the main house, with others in garden annexes. 

Rooms

'Good' Rooms 

An example of our rooms at Nythfa House, Brecon Beacons

These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:

  • Check in from 2:30pm
  • Tea and coffee-making facilities
  • 23 inch TV
  • Toiletries
  • Hairdryer
  • Free WiFi

'Better' Rooms 

An example of our Better Rooms at Nythfa House, Brecon Beacons

These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:

  • Early check in from 1pm
  • Tea & Coffee making facilities
  • Fluffy bathrobe & slippers
  • 32 inch TV
  • More luxurious mattress
  • Enhanced toiletries
  • Hairdryer
  • Smalls drying rack
  • Free WiFi

Only an extra £15 per person per night

'Best' Rooms 

An example of our Best Rooms at Nythfa House, Brecon Beacons

These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:

  • Recently refurbished to an exceptional standard
  • Large rooms
  • Stunning views of the surrounding area
  • Early check in from 1pm
  • Tea & Coffee making facilities
  • Fluffy bathrobe & slippers
  • 32 inch TV
  • More luxurious mattress
  • Enhanced toiletries
  • Hairdryer
  • Smalls drying rack
  • Free WiFi

Only an extra £20 per person per night

Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplements to upgrade to 'Better' or 'Best' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.

At the house

  • Excellent boot and drying rooms
  • Dining room and bar
  • Ballroom
  • Conservatory which looks out onto the garden
  • Free WiFi available in some public rooms
  • Range of board games and books
  • Indoor swimming pool in a separate building
  • The house is surrounded by extensive gardens
  • Putting green and croquet lawn
  • Mini-golf

Dining

An example of Brecon evening mealAll holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.

Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
 Take your fill from our famous self-service picnic lunches
A relaxed social dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses

Your evenings

Make the most of your evening or join us at the barJust relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.

All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.

Accessibility

More details on Brecon accessibility

Additional Information 

  • Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued on request. An under-pillow vibrating pad is available on request
  • A fridge is available in the first floor lounge for storing medication
  • Good signage for fire escape routes
  • One bedroom key issued per room (second key available on request)
  • Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
  • Information can be provided in large print
  • Staff has had disability awareness training

Itinerary

Enjoy a fantastic experience with us at this festival. We've reserved tickets for the following talks. We normally arrive around 9.30am and leave by 5.30pm so you've plenty of time to see other favourite authors and speakers - contact the Hay Festival directly to purchase tickets for any other events you'd like to see.

The full programme can be viewed here - Hay Festival - Programme


Saturday 25 May 2019, 4pm Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

Venki Ramakrishnan talks to Adam Rutherford

Gene Machine: The Race to Decipher the Secrets of the Ribosome

The Nobel Prize-winning chemist in conversation with the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science and author of The Book of Humans.

Everyone knows about DNA. It is the essence of our being, influencing who we are and what we pass on to our children. But the information in DNA can’t be used without a machine to decode it. The ribosome is that machine. Older than DNA itself, it is the mother of all molecules. Virtually every molecule made in every cell was either made by the ribosome or by proteins that were themselves made by the ribosome.

A fascinating insider account, Gene Machine charts Ramakrishnan’s unlikely journey from his first fumbling experiments in a biology lab to being at the centre of a fierce competition at the cutting edge of modern science.


 Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage

Pat Barker talks to Claire Armitstead 

Fictions: The Silence of the Girls

There was a woman at the heart of the Trojan war whose voice has been silent – until now. Briseis was a queen until her city was destroyed. Now she is slave to Achilles, the man who butchered her husband and brothers. Trapped in a world defined by men, can she survive to become the author of her own story? The Booker-winning novelist reimagines the greatest Greek myth of all – retold by the witness history forgot.


 Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

John Simpson talks to Oliver Bullough

Moscow, Midnight

The legendary BBC World Affairs Editor discusses his new thriller and the way in which, in fact as in fiction, so many of the most improbable or extraordinary stories and trails all lead back to Moscow.


 Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

Mike Berners Lee talks to Rosie Boycott

There is no Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years

What is most pressing, what are the knock-on effects of our actions and what should we do first? Do we all need to become vegetarian? How can we fly in a low-carbon world? Should we frack? How can we take control of technology? Does it all come down to population? And, given the global nature of the challenges we now face, what on Earth can any of us do? Fortunately, the environmental thinker and writer has crunched the numbers and plotted a course of action that is practical and even enjoyable. 


 Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

Lucy Worsley 

Queen Victora: Daughter, Wife, Mother, Widow 

Who was Queen Victoria? A little old lady, potato-like in appearance, dressed in everlasting black? Or a passionate young princess, a romantic heroine with a love of dancing? There is a third Victoria – a woman who was a remarkably successful queen, one who invented a new role for the monarchy. She found a way of being a respected sovereign in an age when people were deeply uncomfortable with having a woman on the throne. On the face of it, she was deeply conservative. But if you look at her actions rather than her words, she was in fact tearing up the rule-book for how to be female.


 Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

David Lammy

The Octavia Hill Lecture: Tribes 

The MP for Tottenham investigates the modern concept of ‘tribes’ and how New Tribalism has pernicious effects on the health of our society. He explores the ways in which we can challenge and neuter New Tribalism, distinguishing the ‘good’ sort of tribalism – the patriotism that is inclusive and open to newcomers, the ethnic or religious pride that celebrates a particular culture or faith tradition rather than denigrates others as inferior, the ‘Spirit of Dunkirk’ that saw ordinary people come together and do extraordinary things – from the harmful tribalism that excludes and divides. Chaired by Justin Albert, Director of National Trust Wales.


Saturday 1 June 2019, 11.30am Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

Markus Zusak talks to Stephanie Merritt

Hay Festival Book of the Month Club – The Book Thief

We re-read the contemporary classic, narrated by Death and first published in 2007.

It is 1939. In Nazi Germany, the country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier - and will become busier still. 

By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed forever when she picks up a single object, abandoned in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, and this is her first act of book thievery. So begins Liesel's love affair with books and words, and soon she is stealing from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library . . . wherever there are books to be found. 

The Australian novelist talks to Stephanie Merritt, who also writes historical fiction as SJ Parris. Zusak’s latest novel is Bridge of Clay.


 Venue: Oxfam Moot

Lindsey Hilsum talks to Rosie Boycott

In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin

Marie Colvin was glamorous, hard-drinking, braver than the boys, with a troubled and rackety personal life. She reported from the most dangerous places in the world, going in further and staying longer than anyone else. Marie covered the major conflicts of our time: Israel and Palestine, Chechnya, East Timor, Sri Lanka (where she was hit by a grenade and lost sight in her left eye, resulting in her trademark eye-patch), Iraq and Afghanistan. Her anecdotes about encounters with dictators and presidents – including Colonel Gaddafi and Yasser Arafat, whom she knew well – were incomparable. She was much admired, and as famous for her wild parties as for the extraordinary lengths to which she went to tell the story, including being smuggled into Syria where she was killed in 2012.


Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.

Local area

Discover the Brecon Beacons

During your stay at Nythfa House you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest, either in your free time, or on your journey to and from Brecon:

Canal boat on Brecon canalBrecon is a quaint market town at the foot of the Brecon Beacons; an area of sweeping high moorland, and beautiful green valleys. The town has a good  range of facilities including shops, supermarkets, post office, chemists, banks, pubs and cafés. During your stay you may enjoy visiting Brecon Cathedral or take a scenic cruise from Brecon along the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal. www.breconcathedral.org.uk or www.dragonfly-cruises.co.uk

 

Visitors in hard hats exploring the mineBig Pit Mining Museum
Travel underground at the excellent Big Pit museum in Blaenavon and discover the life of a South Wales coal miner. Blaenavon is around 45 minutes' drive from Brecon. www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/bigpit

 

 

Hay-on-Wye
The quaint small town of Hay-on-Wye is about 30 minutes' drive from Brecon, and can also be reached by bus every 2 hours. The town is now famed for its annual literary festival, and extensive selection of second-hand book shops.

Hereford
Hereford is an attractive city, around an hour's drive from Brecon, whose cathedral houses the famous Mappa Mundi, a 12th century map of the world. www.herefordcathedral.org

Visitors walking through an impressive caveDan yr Orgof Caves
An impressive show-cave, one of the largest in Europe, with fine stalactites and stalagmites. The caves are around 30 minutes' drive from Brecon. www.showcaves.co.uk

 

 

Exterior of Tretower Court historic houseTretower Court
Located near the village of Crickhowell, about 20 minutes' drive from Brecon, Tretower Court is a fine Medieval fortified manor house. www.cadw.wales.gov.uk

 

 

Cardiff
The vibrant Welsh capital of Cardiff is also around 40 miles or 1 hour’s drive from Brecon. A visit could include the St Fagan’s National History Museum, Castell Coch, or the National Museum. www.visitcardiff.com

 

Tretower Court image © Crown copyright (2016) Welsh Government, Big Pit image ©Big Pit National Coal Museum

Travel

Travel to Brecon

Our address is: Nythfa House, Brecon, Powys, LD3 7NN

How to get to us by train

By train:

The most convenient railway station is at Abergavenny. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.

Get to us by Taxi

By taxi:

The 20 mile journey from Abergavenny railway station takes approximately 45 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £35 per taxi. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Nythfa House Manager.

Bus

By bus:

The X43 bus operates from Abergavenny station to Brecon. Alight at the bus interchange in Brecon. Facing the road, head left along Heol Gouesnou to the traffic lights. Turn right heading uphill along Cerrigcochion Road for around 70 yards, and then turn left into Belle Vue Gardens. Head along the road and turn right at the T-junction (still Belle Vue Gardens). Head up the road to another T-junction and turn left into Cerrigcochion Lane. Walk for about 15 yards and you will see the Nythfa House sign on your right. For bus times see www.traveline.info

Driving to us

By car:

Most guests approach Brecon via the A40 from Abergavenny or the A470 from the northwest. These two roads converge at a roundabout on the Brecon bypass. At the roundabout follow the B4601for a mile into Brecon. Turn right at the second mini roundabout, then go straight on at the cross roads with traffic lights.  After 500yds turn sharp right into Mount Street, then second left into Belle View Road.  Stop at the top of the road at the T Junction then go straight ahead up the drive to Nythfa House. 

 Travel by plane

Travelling from overseas

For most guests, travelling to London Heathrow airport is the most convenient option.

From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. From here there are trains to Abergavenny (1 change at Newport) - allow 3 to 3½ hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.

From Abergavenny you can travel on to Brecon by bus or taxi (see above).

Leaders

Liz Lowry

Liz Lowry is a Blue Badge Guide living in the Heart of England. She has a continuing interest in history, literature and landscape and has loved sharing the heritage, people and character of this fascinating country with HF guests since 2009.

We really enjoyed her sense of fun, vast knowledge and complete devotion to the group.

Reviews

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Dates & Prices

We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.

Prices are per person

Information

  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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