Frequently asked questions

Our 18th Hay Festival Winter Weekend was our biggest and most successful edition to date, and once again, we proved to the greatest writers and thinkers that Hay offers the world’s best audience.

What is the Winter Weekend?

Now in its 19th year, the Winter Weekend is a smaller version of the main festival with events taking place in venues in the town. The 2017 Festival was our biggest yet with a new 450-seater venue and extended programming.

The town’s atmospheric market square is a focus of festivities: On the Friday, the Hay Christmas lights are  turned on, transforming the town into a winter wonderland brimming with festive cheer, accompanied by carol singing, readings and evening entertainment.

On the Saturday, Hay Food Festival celebrates all that’s good about winter cooking, with over 50 stalls showcasing the very best of local produce, from savoury to sweet.

On the Sunday, Hay Does Vintage transforms the square into a festive outdoor fleamarket with over 50 vintage and retro traders offering a diverse collection of items from clothes, textiles and jewellery, to furniture, collectables, and kitchenalia.

Where is the Festival?

In Hay-on-Wye, on the edge of the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park. We’re between Hereford and Brecon just off the A438 – see travel. The venues for the Winter Weekend are all within a few minutes' walking distance of each other in the centre of Hay.

Where do we park?

There is a large public car park situated on Oxford Road in the centre of Hay. If this car park is full there is an overflow car park on the field next to the Fire Station (Brecon Road) see parking. The car park is £3 all day. 

Where do we stay?

Visithay.co.uk offers a wealth of information about accommodation in Hay and the surrounding area and Sarah will be happy to help you with all your accommodation enquiries, or contact the local Tourist Information Services – see accommodation.

How accessible are the venues?

All the venues have wheelchair access. Please call the Box Office on 01497 822 629 if you have a particular accessibility requirement, and we will do our best to make your visit as easy as possible.

How is the festival ticketed?

There is no general charge; you buy tickets only for the events you want to see. You can buy tickets online, or select the events you wish to attend and call the Box Office on 01497 822 629.

How much does it cost?

Tickets range from £5 to £13. Prices for children’s events are kept as low as possible, and there are normally no concessions. There are several free events.

Who are the Friends of Hay Festival and are the benefits of becoming a Friend extended to the Winter Weekend?

Friends are our loyal supporters whose involvement is greatly valued. In return for an annual membership, Friends get three days’ priority booking on all tickets we release (including the Winter Weekend). Become a Friend of the festival.

How are the writers chosen?

We invite the writers, artists, academics, thinkers and performers we most admire. We try to bring the greatest contemporary practitioners and the most exciting new voices to our audiences. The directors talk to publishers, writers and a huge range of advisors – including many Festival-goers themselves.

What is the festival policy on photography?

Only accredited photographers may photograph events, and accreditation must be sought from the press office. Please respect the copyright and integrity of the festival programme when sharing images on social media. Visitors to the festival may be filmed and/or photographed by accredited festival photographers for reports of the festival and future promotion of the festival.

Is it good for families?

There’s a great creative programme for children and you can enjoy the special Christmas atmosphere in the town and enjoy the most beautiful countryside in Britain.

What's the safety policy for kids?

Children aged 12 years and under must be accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian, including during events and in workshops, unless otherwise stated in the programme. The Lost Child Point is located in The Swan Hotel in the Festival Admin Area.

Can I bring my dog on site?

Unfortunately only assistance dogs are allowed inside Hay Festival events. We hope that this doesn’t stop you from coming to the festival. The town and surrounding countryside is great for dogs. There are many lovely walks nearby, including the mountains above Hay and a path along the river. See the Hay Tourist Information Bureau for some ideas.

What are the dates for next year?

Next year's Hay Festival Winter Weekend will run from Thursday 28 November to Sunday 1 December 2019. Sign up to our mailing list to receive news and updates from the Festival.