Frequently Asked Questions

#TheakstonsCrime 2020

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in an immersive and exciting festival celebrating the very best in crime fiction, set in the heart of Harrogate at Agatha Christie’s old haunt: the stately Old Swan Hotel. Whether you’re just popping in for a drink at the bar, or staying all weekend, the festival can be a pretty overwhelming experience to the uninitiated with lots going on all the time.

You can find some handy FAQs below that can help you get the very best out of your Festival experience – whether you’re a seasoned pro who comes year after year, or you’re brand new to crime fiction, we’re here to help:

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is held at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, on Old Swan Rd. You can use our handy Google Maps tool below to find it:

Rover Tickets are due to go on sale in Spring 2020.

If you would like to ensure you receive the latest news and updates, you can sign up to our mailing list here. We recommend ensuring Harrogate International Festivals is a trusted sender and checking your junk inbox so you don’t miss anything.

As email is the quickest way to reach lots of people, we recommend signing up to our emailing list rather than our mailing list if you can – not only do you save the trees, but you will also get the news first without having to wait for the postman!

Our Weekend Break Packages are an excellent way of sorting out your Festival weekend in one fell swoop – we sort your tickets and your accommodation for you, and all you have to do is turn up on the weekend.

Our Weekend Break Packages include:

  • 3 nights bed & breakfast accommodation
    (23, 24, 25th July 2020).
  • Weekend Rover Ticket with access to all Festival events, from the Award event on Thursday evening to the last event on Sunday (Excludes Author Dinners, Creative Thursday, and any additional events to be confirmed in Spring 2020), and a complimentary Festival Goody Bag.
  • Lunch at the Old Swan Hotel on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 July 2020.

Our Weekend Break Packages are on sale now and are an excellent way of guaranteeing a hassle-free weekend in Harrogate. If you would like to know more, you can head here.

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.

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.
Yes! WHSmith are kindly providing a Festival bookstore at the Old Swan Hotel and they will host book signings after each event.
There will be a Friends 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 each time you enter and before each event is due to begin.

Friends of the Festival are entitled to access the Friends’ Lounge, a comfortable space with more room where you can meet and speak with like-minded people, and gain priority entry to the auditorium.

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

Subject to availability, tickets may be available to purchase from the Festival Desk at the Old Swan Hotel from 23-26 July 2020.

We do expect that many of our events will sell out, so we cannot guarantee that tickets will be available to purchase on the day. Early booking is highly recommended and Rover Tickets and individual tickets will go on sale in Spring 2020.

If you can, we recommend leaving your car at home and travelling into Harrogate via public transport where possible – the Old Swan Hotel is a 10 minute walk from Harrogate Train Station which has excellent links to York, Leeds and London.

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. Please be advised that Harrogate International Festivals does not accept responsibility for the provision of parking spaces or for any items left in vehicles while at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

That depends! We will be able to give you some more details when the full programme is announced in Spring 2020. 

Some of our events may be more of an interview-style, and some may be more conversational, but most will feature crime fiction authors drawing on their life experiences and speaking about their published works.

All tickets to individual events are due to go on sale in Spring 2020.

If you would like to ensure you receive the latest news and updates, you can sign up to our mailing list here. We recommend ensuring Harrogate International Festivals is a trusted sender and checking your junk inbox so you don’t miss anything.

As email is the quickest way to reach lots of people, we recommend signing up to our emailing list rather than our mailing list if you can – not only do you save the trees, but you will also get the news first without having to wait for the postman!

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.

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 if you have any questions at all related to your access 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 join our Access Scheme, and to ask any questions you may have about your access requirements.

Please inform us at the point of sale when purchasing tickets if you require a carer ticket. Please be advised that we cannot offer retrospective discounts on tickets already purchased.

Yes, you will be required to a show a ticket for each event to have a booked signed by the appearing author(s). 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(s) will have time to see you.
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.
Your Weekend Break Package is subject to cancellation terms and conditions. Please view the Weekend Break Package terms and conditions for details of our cancellation policy.

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.

Didn’t get the answers you needed? You can call the Festival Team on 01423 562 303 or email crime@harrogate-festival.org.uk – we’re happy to assist you in any way we can.