A CASTLE on the Herefordshire border which underwent a 10-year revamp before opening to the public for the first time in its history is making a major change.

Hay Castle was previously 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.

That trust then revamped the 900-year-old building before it opened to the public for the first time in May 2022, with the building later officially opened by the then Prince Charles.

But now, less than 12 months on, the trust behind the building says it needs to start charging for entry.

For people living more than 10 miles from Hay Castle, £5 entry fee will be charged from Monday, March 20.


The ticket will allow visitors to explore the Medieval tower, our temporary exhibitions, the Richard Booth collection, and to enjoy the spectacular views across the viewing platform.

People living within 10 miles of the castle will be eligible for a free Hay Castle Pass which allows entry all year round, but a £2 admin fee applies.

Hereford Times: Prince Charles officially opened the refurbished castle in the summer of 2022. Picture: Chris Jackson/PA WirePrince Charles officially opened the refurbished castle in the summer of 2022. Picture: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

That can be applied for online, or in person, but proof of address will be needed.

Volunteers, friends, keepers and patrons will be given free entry.

Hereford Times:

A castle spokesperson said: "We believe these changes will help us continue to attract visitors to Hay, while keeping the castle open as a centre for the Hay community.

"The money raised from the admission charge will be used to offset soaring utilities costs and ensure we can continue to put on a year-round programme of uplifting events and activities for all."


The café, the shop, the Great Hall, and the grounds, will remain free and open to all.

They added: "It has been a wonderful year for the reinvigorated Hay Castle. We have welcomed 80,000 visitors; collaborated with over 30 local organisations, schools and community groups; and worked with national partners, from the National Portrait Gallery to Shakespeare’s Globe. We even brought Picasso to Powys!

"We have learned so much in that time about what our visitors want to do and see, but also just how much time, love and money it takes to keep this wonderful old building and its grounds open and safe all year round.

"And so, following consultation, we are introducing some changes to our admissions from Monday, March 20."

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