A HISTORIC castle on the Herefordshire border is due to open to the public for the first time next month after extensive building work.

Work is currently ongoing to restore Hay Castle in Hay-on-Wye.

On its reopening the public will be able to go inside for the first time in the castle's 900-year history.

The castle was built in the late 12th century by Norman baron Lord William de Braose.

Hereford Times: Work has taken place inside Hay castleWork has taken place inside Hay castle


It was then sacked the following century and rebuilt by Henry III.

The castle was much later owned by Richard Booth, who is said to have transformed the border town into a global attraction for second-hand book lovers, before it was sold in 2011 by the Hay Castle Trust.

Work began on the castle in June 2018 after £4.5m funding was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, then a further £1m which was raised by the trust.


The work includes a top floor gallery for touring exhibitions, a platform at the top of the keep for views of the Wye Valley, a space for education workshops, a new entrance hall, and café in the former coach house and kitchen.

Epicure Events, based in Bredwardine, Herefordshire, will be the caterer for the café.

All work is set to be completed ready for its official opening in May.

Member of the Senedd (the Welsh Parliament) Jane Dodds visited Hay Castle to see how works are progressing in December.

After being given a tour of the town centre site, Mrs Dodds, who herself lives in Hay-on-Wye, previously said: "The work being carried out at Hay Castle is absolutely world-class.

"Some of the parts that had burnt down in 1939 and 1977 are now utterly unrecognisable.

"I am confident when the project is completed it will be at the beating heart of our community.

"What really makes the project so special to me is the commitment to both inclusivity and education that have been incorporated into the project."