The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is an immersive and busy experience; with events on the hour, nearly every hour and book signings in between there’s a lot going on.

All of our main events take place in the Ballroom/Garden Room at the Old Swan Hotel, where seating is unreserved. You may be required to queue to enter events, but we would like to reassure you that due to the quick turnaround time between events, queues should move quickly!

After each event, we open the doors quickly and the authors will be in the bookshop for signings.

Whether you’re coming for one event of the whole lot, explore the bookshop, say hi to authors at the bar and see what books and events people are talking about.

Still have some questions? That’s what we’re here for…!

Where is the Old Swan Hotel?

The Old Swan Hotel is located on Old Swan Road, Harrogate. For those using SatNav, just enter the postcode HG1 2SR.

You can use our handy Google Maps tool to help plan your journey to the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate below:

What exactly are the events?
That depends! Some of our events may be more of an interview-style, and some may be more conversational, but all will feature authors drawing on their life experiences and speaking about their published works.

How long do the events last?

All Special Guest and Panel events last 60 minutes unless otherwise stated.

Our Author Dinner events are expected to last 2 hours.

Publisher-organised events may vary in timings; please check with our Box Office team.

Is there a dress code?

There is no dress code at any of our events, but we recommend dressing for the weather! The Old Swan Hotel can get quite warm during the summer months so please ensure you are wearing sensible footwear and dress appropriately.

I’ve booked a Weekend Break Package/Rover ticket; does this include tickets to all events? Which events?

All Weekend Break Packages and Reduced Weekend Break Packages include a Weekend Rover Ticket or Reduced Weekend Rover Ticket which entitle you entry into all our Special Guest and Panel events.

There’s a few events that your Weekend Break Packages and Reduced Weekend Break Packages don’t cover, which can be booked separately:

I haven’t received my tickets yet, should I be worried?

If you have booked a Day/Weekend Rover pass or a Weekend Break Package, don’t worry – we hold this at the Box Office at the Old Swan Hotel for you to collect when you arrive!

If you have booked an individual ticket for an event which has not yet arrived by post, please call our Box Office team on 01423 562 303 and quote your order reference number so we can assist you.

Please be advised that we are not able to post tickets internationally. If you have ordered tickets to be delivered by post, but you live outside of the UK and Ireland, these will be held for you at the Festival Box Office ready to collect instead.

Where is the Box Office / sign ins on arrival?

Our Box Office will be in a tent just outside the front of the Old Swan Hotel.

What time are the lunches? Can I buy lunch on-site?

Lunches are included in our Day Rover and Full Weekend Rover passes. Lunch will be served in the Wedgwood Restaurant from 12.00pm-2.00pm on Friday 19th July and Saturday 20th July. Please be advised queues are expected so we recommend attending lunch early if you are able.

If you hold a Rover pass, you can also pick up a quick lunch from our on-site Tuck Shop included in your ticket.

Lunch is not included for Reduced Rover passes. You can purchase lunch and refreshments on-site from our BBQ or our Tuck Shop in the Bramham Suite from 9am-midnight on the ground floor of the Old Swan Hotel.

Do I get a reserved seat to my event?

Seating for all events at the Old Swan Hotel is unreserved. Doors will open approximately 10 minutes before each event. We kindly ask that queue etiquette is observed prior to each event.

As many events will be sold out, we ask you to help us accommodate all ticket holders by making use of every seat in the auditorium and not leaving gaps.

Can I stay in the room between events?

We kindly ask that you leave the room promptly when the event is finished to allow us to set the room for the following event.

Can I take pictures?

The use of photographic, video or audio equipment is strictly prohibited in all of our events.

Outside of our events, please feel free to snap, post and upload! Our hashtag is #theakstonscrime and we love seeing you get involved.

Do you take card payments?

Yes! All of our bars and our Box Office can take both card and cash payments.

Where are the main events held?

All main events are held in the Ballroom at the Old Swan Hotel, except the Author Dinner and Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers Gig which will take place in the Wedgwood Restaurant at the Old Swan Hotel.

Where is the Author Dinner held?

Both our Friday and Saturday Author Dinners will take place in the Wedgwood Restaurant from 6.15pm onwards.

Where are the Orion Crime Incident Room events held?

All of the Orion Crime Incident Room events are taking place in the Library at the Old Swan Hotel.

I’m a Friend of the Festival, can I access the Friends Lounge?

The Festival Friends’ lounge is located in the Red Lounge (adjacent to the Ballroom) and priority entry to the auditorium will be available through the Red Lounge. This room will also work as an anteroom adjacent to the auditorium with screens and a live link through to all Special Guest and Panel events.

Valid tickets and membership cards must be shown in order to access the lounge.

Please note that new Friends membership cards cannot be issued on-site so please do bring your card with you.

What is a Friend of the Festival?

Becoming a Friend of the Festivals is one of the best ways to enjoy all that the Harrogate International Festivals have to offer, from big name stars, to intimate concerts and hidden gems. As a charitable arts organisation, we rely on the generous support of our Friends of the Festival to create the quality and range of work we do. Not only can you support Harrogate International Festivals year-round, but each level of membership unlocks more perks!
You can find out more about our Festival Friends and membership perks here.

Will there be tickets on the door available?

Tickets on the door: Tickets will be available to purchase from the Festival Desk at the Old Swan Hotel from Thu 18 – Sun 21 July, subject to availability. As many of our events have now sold out, we cannot guarantee that tickets will be available to purchase on the day. Early booking is recommended.

Tickets for sold-out events: For returns prior to Weds 17 July and for sold out events, we run a waiting list which you can join. Please contact the Box Office. From Thu 18 July the onsite waiting list will open 10 minutes prior to the start of each event as we will be able to assess availability. Any onsite waiting list will supersede any previous waiting list.

Tickets for publisher-organised events: Publisher-organised events may vary. Please speak with our Box Office team on 01423 562 303 for further information.

I want to return my ticket, how do I get a refund?

The Box Office cannot refund money or exchange tickets, except in the case of a cancelled performance. We are happy to try to re-sell returned tickets for sold-out performances for a small charge.

How does the waiting list work?

For returns prior to Weds 17 July and for sold out events, we run a waiting list which you can join. Please contact the Box Office.

From Thu 18 July the onsite waiting list will open 10 minutes prior to the start of each event as we will be able to assess availability. Any onsite waiting list will supersede any previous waiting list.

Is there priority access for patrons with additional needs?

Here at Harrogate International Festivals we are committed to ensuring all customers can enjoy our events equally. To better serve our patrons who have specific access needs we have our Access Scheme. The list is free to join and once you qualify as a member you may be entitled to a complimentary ticket (excluding food) for a Personal Assistant/Carer and/or priority entry into unreserved events. Please call the Festival Office on 01423 562 303  to obtain a blue badge to allow priority entry into unreserved events.

Please speak with our Festival Box Office team on-site at the Old Swan Hotel if you have any questions at all related to your access needs.

Please be advised that we cannot offer retrospective discounts on tickets already purchased.

Is the Old Swan Hotel wheelchair accessible?

The Old Swan Hotel is fully wheelchair accessible. We offer special provisions where we can for visitors with additional access needs. Please call the Festival Office on 01423 562 303 before Thursday 18 July or visit the Box Office tent on-site if you have any questions at all related to your access needs.

Where can I park?

Parking is available at the Old Swan Hotel on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note, if using this car park, a valid permit must be displayed and be obtained for free from the hotel reception. There is also metered on-street parking nearby.

Is there a book shop?  Are there book signings after every event?

Yes! WHSmith are kindly providing a Festival bookstore at the Old Swan Hotel and they will host book signings after each event. The bookshop will be located within the Papakåta tents.

Do you need a ticket for book signings?

Yes, you will be required to a show a ticket for each event to have a booked signed. Due to high demand there is a limit of 3 books per person.
If you do not hold a ticket for the event, you will be able to join the back of the book-signing queue once all ticket-holders have gone through, but we cannot guarantee that the author will have time to see you.

When do 2020 packages go on sale?

Weekend Break Packages for 23-26 July 2020 will go on sale on Friday 19 July at 1.00pm from our Festival Box Office at the Old Swan Hotel. These tend to go very quickly so we would recommend getting ready ahead of time if you’re interested in booking!

I’ve booked accommodation through the Festival. How do I check in?
You don’t need to pick up your welcome pack from the Old Swan Hotel before checking in; all you need is your name. However, if you have any concerns, then you can show the Hotel staff your confirmation email which you should have received at the time of booking.