Hay Castle is a medieval fortification and 17th-century mansion house in the small town of Hay-on-Wye, Wales. Originally constructed as part of the Norman invasion of Wales, the castle was designed as a ringwork overlooking the town in either the late-11th or early-12th centuries. It was rebuilt in stone around 1200 by the de Braose family and then had a turbulent history, being attacked and burnt several times during the First and Second Barons' Wars, the wars with the Welsh princes, the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr and the Wars of the Roses.

In the 17th century a Jacobean mansion house was built alongside the medieval keep and the property became a private home. Serious fires in 1939 and 1977 gutted the castle and, despite repairs in the 1980s, by the 21st century much of the building was derelict and unstable. Since 2011 it has been owned by the Hay Castle Trust who plan to renovate the property to form an arts and education centre.



Your name


Founded: c. 1200
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

More Information



4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mark Lees (16 months ago)
An amazing landmark at the heart of this quaint town. Set on a hill, with some remains from various times in the castles history. There is a viewing platform and visitors centre plus a very busy cafe. No visit to this town is complete without coming here. Limited catvparking out front for up to 2 hours but pay and display.
T Sultis (17 months ago)
Well, not expect anything too castelly. Free admission but donation is recommended, and friendly staff. Various exhibitions on level 2 and 3. The onsite restaurant is a bit over priced but serving tasty food. I had a leek soup and a bottle of pear drink.
Anne Wareham (2 years ago)
A great addition (since refurbishment) to the town: new bookshop and café. The café food was great but bare floors and walls mean it's harsh and noisy. Coming thoughts about how to keep rooms warmer may lead to a welcome rethink?
Andrea Susan Campbell (2 years ago)
We have been waiting for a while to see the completion of this restored castle and what an accomplished job it is. Free entry but we paid for a tour and learnt so much in an hour. The work that has been done has saved this wonderful place and its so good to see. The Cafe looked busy and the grounds had plenty of familes having picnics . All upper floors were visited including the highpoint overlooking the busy Thursday market and then the cellar with its visual display projected onto the wall. The artifacts on display all had information attached and the section on the King of Hay and his part in the town and the Castle.
Paul Evans (2 years ago)
Lovely place to visit, especially if you're into books. Plenty of old building with great architecture. The castle is lovely to visit, cafe where you can choose to sit in or picnic on the castle grounds grass. A really good walk (circuit) along the river, dogs can roam, explore of the lead and take the occasional plunge into the river to cool down. Parking in the town carpark was easy.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Duino Castle

Duino Castle was built by the Wallsee family in 1389 on the cliffs overlooking the Gulf of Trieste. It replaced an older castle from the 11th century. Over time, the Wallsee family disappeared and the castle, after having been used as a prison, became the residence of the Luogar and Hofer.

At the end of the 19th century it became the property of Prince Alexander von Thurn und Taxis from the Czech branch of the House of Thurn and Taxis. It remains with the family to this day with his great-grandson Prince Carlo Alessandro della Torre e Tasso, Duke of Castel Duino the current owner. The castle has been opened to the public as a museum and park.