Frequently asked questions

What is the Hay Festival Winter Weekend?

Hay Festival Winter Weekend is a smaller version of the main Hay Festival, and takes place from Thursday 28 November to Sunday 1 December 2024. The town’s atmospheric market square is a focus of festivities. On Friday 29 November, the Hay Christmas lights are turned on, transforming the town into a winter wonderland brimming with festive cheer. 

Where is the Festival?

In Hay-on-Wye, named by a Which? survey as the 'best town in Wales' and one of the best in the UK! Hay is situated on the edge of the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park. We’re between Hereford and Brecon just off the A438 – see our travel information

How is the Festival ticketed?

You will need to book and purchase individual tickets for each Festival event you would like to attend.

How do I buy tickets?

The best way to book is online.

If you wish to book by telephone call the Box Office on 01497 822 629. It will help us to process your order more efficiently if you have ready the event numbers that you are booking for.

The telephone is answered 9am–5pm Monday to Friday and all day until late during the Winter Weekend. If you do not get through straight away, please leave a message and a member of the Box Office staff will call you back.

You can also book tickets in person at the Hay Festival Box Office. During the run-up to the festival, the Box Office is located in the Drill Hall, 25 Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye HR3 5AD. Normal Box Office opening hours are 9am–5pm Monday to Friday. During the festival, the box office will be located in the Great Hall at Hay Castle, and will be open from the first event until the last.

We accept credit and debit cards including Visa and Mastercard. Cash payments are accepted in person only; please do not send us cash by post.

Where are my tickets?

All tickets for the Festival are now electronic or ‘e-tickets’, this means your tickets will be sent directly to your email address. Your tickets will be sent to you approximately one week before the Festival. When you receive your tickets, you can choose to download them to your own mobile device or print them. Tickets will contain a unique barcode and can only be printed once. On arrival at the venue a steward will scan your ticket. 

If you do not have an email address, please call the Box Office and we will arrange for your tickets to be printed and posted in the traditional way.

Where do we park?

Parking for Hay Festival Winter Weekend is available at the Oxford Road car park (HR3 5EQ) in the centre of Hay-on-Wye, directly opposite the castle. This a long stay pay and display for all vehicle types. Please see the car park sign for current tariff details and full parking conditions. This car park includes disabled spaces, coin and card operated machines.

The Cattle Market (Swan Bank, HR3 5EB) is a hardstanding car park just a few minutes' walk from each of the Winter Weekend venues. You can pre-book your space, and your ticket is valid for the whole day, the gates will open at 9am each morning. If you don't pre-book please ensure you bring cash for the car park (no cards accepted), the car park fee is £5.00

Where do we stay? is the official accommodation service and booking agent for Hay Festival.

Find Me A Bed offers a wealth of information about Hay and the surrounding area and Sarah will be happy to help you with your accommodation enquiries. Email, call Sarah on 07375 396 748 or click here to view available accommodation. 

You can also find accommodation information via the local Tourist Information Services – see accommodation.

Other accommodation may be available in Hay-on-Wye or the surrounding area through AirBnB and

How accessible are the venues?

Both 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. More about accessibility at the Winter Weekend.

Who are the Members of Hay Festival and are the benefits of becoming a Member extended to the Winter Weekend?

Members are our loyal supporters whose involvement is greatly valued. In return for an annual subscription, Members get three days’ priority booking on all tickets we release (including the Winter Weekend). Become a Hay Festival Member.

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 the Festival Box Office in the main hallway of Castle. 

Assistance Animals

Hay Festival is committed to removing barriers for all, regardless of your disability. Assistance and/or guide dogs are allowed onto the Festival site. If you wish to attend with an assistance and/or a guide dog, you are welcome to either:

(a) Inform the staff at the entrance of the Festival that you wish to enter with your assistance and/or guide dog on your day(s) of attendance; or

(b) Notify the Festival that you will be attending with your animal in advance by contacting the Box Office by email to:

If your assistance and/or guide dog is not immediately identifiable by an appropriate coat, harness, identification tag or any other means, Hay Festival retains the right to ask you to complete a self-certification form confirming that your animal is an assistance and/or guide dog and is highly trained for these purposes.

You will have sole responsibility for the behaviour and well-being of your assistance and/or guide dog. Hay Festival reserves the right to remove or bar entry to any animal when it is exhibiting poor behaviour and/or poses a threat to the health & safety of others.

Unfortunately, only assistance and/or guide dogs are allowed on the Festival site, so regrettably you will not be able to attend with an emotional support animal.

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