The Welsh border town of Hay-on-Wye was just the place for a fun-filled and relaxing long weekend away with my mum. We packed so much in, from crafting our own signature family gin to spotting the cutest hedgehogs scurrying past our treehouse safari tent.

We had plenty of gourmet experiences along the way too, including vegan wine tastings and a pretty special seven-course vegan tasting menu. Even though this is the land of cawl (a traditionally meaty stew), we found vegan food in Wales to be both plentiful and delicious.

There are even a handful of fully vegan restaurants in Wales, which I’ll definitely visit on another trip. But in the meantime, here come all the juicy details from our delightful few days in Wales.

Destination Hay-on-Wye – Why go?

Set in glorious countryside on the edge of the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park, Hay-on-Wye is a great little place for a long weekend getaway. Known as the ‘Town of Books’ it hosts the annual Hay Festival of literature and arts. But with twenty bookshops to browse, literary lovers will adore it any time of the year. Hay has a real independent spirit with lots of antique shops, niche bookstores, cafes, bars and restaurants.

Browsing bookstore

Browsing the bookstores of Hay-on-Wye

Vegan Restaurants in Hay-on-Wye

Hay is a small town, so it makes sense that there aren’t any exclusively vegan restaurants here. However, the town’s welcoming and inclusive vibe means that the majority of its eateries have something vegan-friendly, and I can certainly say that we feasted in style. Here’s a little taste of what was on the menu.

Chapters Restaurant

This bijou fine dining restaurant is pretty swish, with sustainability firmly at its heart (they won a Michelin award for it). The menu changes with the seasons and showcases local produce in super-creative ways. Chapters is a cosy place, with a fairly fancy vibe - it was a perfect restaurant for us to dine in when in the area. We oohed and ahead as plate after plate of stunningly crafted courses were put in front of us. These ‘works of art’ featured all sorts of local and foraged seasonal delights - think squash, hawthorn, elderberry, beetroot, seaweed, celeriac and pear. Really unique dishes and loved how seasonal they felt with locally sourced produce!

Tomatitos Tapas

We loved the warm welcome at this little tapas place. On this occasion we visited for dinner on a cool autumn evening, but on a sunny afternoon, we’d definitely have gone for a table outside in the cute-looking garden. Dinner at Tomatitos was a grazing affair with succulent olives, herby mushrooms with a big garlic kick, crunchy deep-fried aubergine and warming veggie stews with real depth of flavour. All of this was mopped up with fresh crusty bread, and there’s also a range of delicious Spanish wines to wash it all down with!

The Old Electric Shop Café

The Old Electric Shop is an absolute gem and totally my kind of place. It’s a hybrid shop come vegetarian café with so much to tempt you. Stocked with all manner of thoughtful items and oddments gathered by the discerning eye of the owner, you’re bound to leave with something special, as well as a satisfied stomach.

After a bit of browsing the shelves here and amongst the bookshops in town, we’d worked up quite an appetite for lunch. I opted for classic smashed avocado on sourdough piled high with fresh herby greens and sweet roasted cherry tomatoes. The cakes looked incredible too (vegan choices galore) and the whole place has a lovely, friendly vibe that makes you want to linger.

Luisa in a restaurant
Two women with the backdrop of a vineyard

Luisa eating some delicious vegan food at Chapters and Sugarloaf Vineyard, Abergavenny

Vegan foodie experiences

Gin crafting at Silver Circle Distillery

Silver Circle Distillery is a little way from Hay (just over an hour), but if you’re crossing the Severn Bridge then it makes for the perfect pit stop along the way. We had the best time creating our own signature gin from a choice of botanicals, including pink peppercorns, peach and lavender. We then got to take our blend home with us, and enjoyed a smaller tasting bottle (with some of the leftovers that didn’t fit in our main fancy labelled bottle) as a nightcap at the journey’s end.

Hay Festival

Hay Festival

Event
Hay-on-Wye
dam and resevoir.

Silver Circle Distillery

Attraction
Tintern
Landscape of the attractions at Cardiff Bay seen from the water.

Vegan wine tasting at Sugarloaf Vineyard

The Sugarloaf Vineyard is a truly magical place, especially when the sun shines on its sweep of south-facing slopes (as it did for us). We took a self-guided stroll through the vines, enjoying the fresh air and checking out the different grape varietals and beautiful views.

We then headed for a tasting session in the gorgeous café overlooking the vineyard. Alongside the delicious wines, we grazed on a colourful tasting platter with an amazing choice of vegan cheeses, alongside olives, crisps, salsas, salad and bread. The wines had a real breadth of flavours and all of them were vegan-friendly. We especially enjoyed the rosé and picked up a bottle in the shop to add to our drinks haul.

Where to stay - By the Wye Glamping

One of the highlights of our visit and the experience that brought it all together for us was our home in Hay – By the Wye. This quirky, family-run site offers treetop glamping in the loveliest peaceful spot nestled next to the river, really close to town.

From our balcony overlooking the trees and river to the vegan breakfast basket, everything was really well-thought-out and put together. Staying here was utterly delightful and we felt truly relaxed. For a tour of our luxury safari tent, check out my TikTok.

Looking out from the balcony of the Safari Tent

Safari Tent at Bywyeglamping 

Sugar Loaf Vineyards

Attraction
Abergavenny
Landscape of the attractions at Cardiff Bay seen from the water.
By the Wye

By the Wye

Accommodation
Hay-on-Wye
dam and resevoir.

For a full roundup of the trip in all its technicolour glory, head over to my Instagram Stories.

Related stories