The Old Black Lion

UK Wales Mid Wales Powys Hay-on-Wye

The pick of the pubs with rooms in Hay-on-Wye, The Old Black Lion has an endearing old-world vibe. Though parts of the building date to the 1300s, what you see today is largely 17th century. Legend has it that Oliver Cromwell sojourned here while the Roundheads besieged Hay Castle, and you can’t blame him for making himself comfortable: inside the inn is warm and inviting in the traditional mould, with dark beams and oak tables worn by many a pint glass. There are no airs and graces: ‘boots and paws’ are welcome, and the crowd is an interesting mix of walkers, cyclists, bikers, canoeists, theatregoers, music lovers and book-browsers. The guest rooms – six doubles, two twins and two singles – are characterful, each with individual flourishes. Some have ruby-red walls and oil paintings, others vintage furnishings and florals. By far and away the most atmospheric and romantic is The Cromwell Suite, with its sagging beams, antiques and soft lamplight. Downstairs you can sample brews like Wye Valley Old Black Lion Ale, and the food is uncomplicated but good, with starters like smoked salmon and mackerel with pickled cucumber and pea shoots followed by hearty mains like roast lamb rump with garlic and chive mash. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available. Come on a Friday evening and you might even be treated to a spot of live jazz.

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The Old Black Lion, Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye, Powys HR3 5AD

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