Frequently asked questions

Hay Festival Winter Weekend 2019 was a blast – the greatest writers and thinkers with the world’s best audience, in Hay. The next Hay Festival Winter Weekend is scheduled for 27–29 November 2020. This year we are waiting to see what form the festival will take in the light of advice on gatherings and public events. We will have a clear idea of what we will be doing in Hay and digitally online by early September. Our absolute priority is the safety and health of our community and our guests. Sign up to our mailing list to receive news and updates from the Festival.

What is the Winter Weekend?

The Winter Weekend, which has been running for twenty years, is a smaller version of the main festival with events taking place in venues in the town. The 2019 Festival was our biggest and most high-profile yet.

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 Market Square is transformed into a festive outdoor artisan market with a wide range of traders offering a diverse collection of local arts and crafts. Get ahead with your Christmas shopping here.

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 main venue for the Winter Weekend is The Baillie Gifford Stage which is located on the Cattle Market in a (well heated!) purpose built marquee.

The Cattle Market can be found on Church Street, HR3 5DQ, next to the Swan Hotel.

All 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. Overflow car parking is available on the Festival's greenfield site at Dairy Meadows, Brecon Road HR3 5PJ.

Where do we stay? 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. More about accessibility at the Winter Weekend.

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 £10 to £18. Prices for children’s events are kept as low as possible, and there are normally no concessions.

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 the next Winter Weekend festival?

The next Hay Festival Winter Weekend will run from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 November 2020. Sign up to our mailing list to receive news and updates from the Festival.