The mothership: Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye, Brecon Beacons National Park, Welsh Borders, May 26-June 5.
The first time I went to Hay, I was a very poorly paid cub reporter very keen to see Bob Geldof bantering with Rosie Boycott and David Starkey savage Lyn Barber. Lack of money never a deterrent, I spent the day soaking up the book talk and the night sleeping in the back of my boyfriend's car (long story but reader, I married him). Great times at “The Woodstock of the mind” (as Clinton rechristened it), yes, but stiff neck also. There's really no need, however, as the granddaddy of all literary festivals is amply served by some great hotels. So whilst perusing this year's fantastic line-up (Dara O'Briain, Dave Gilmour and Polly Samson, Peter Carey, Marlon James, Caitlin Moran, Germaine Greer, Tippi Hedren), book yourself into somewhere gorgeous. I suggest the stunning Hafod y Garreg in nearby Erwood, a grade 2 listed treasure known as the oldest house in Wales. It's a B&B but serves dinners too and sits in the Wye Valley hidden in a hollow surrounded by hills and larch forests. The breakfasts, dished out on a huge 16th century refectory table, are to die for.