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Bookings and

See details included with each event

Tickets for most events can be booked in advance either online, by phone, or from the venue box office.


For most events, you can book your tickets online by clicking the "Book this event online" link beside the event details. All bookable events can also be found in the May section at…


To book by phone, call the number beside the event.


Or, on the day, tickets, if still available, can be bought on the door at each venue.

But please, with popular events, please check first for availability!

The ticket price in brackets applies to people entitled to concessions.


Most evening events scheduled at Swindon Arts Centre are available to buy as a double ticket at a reduced price. But these discounted tickets cannot be bought online. Should you wish to purchase double tickets, please call the box office on 01793 524481.

If you have any queries about booking or the Festival in general, please email us or ring 01793 771080.

Farmhouse Kitchen

Free range food for free range people. Specialising in wholesome, home made, open air catering in fields, meadows, barns and woodlands.

Lorraine 07583 877732

Coffee Gang

Coffee Gang is a mobile Fairtrade coffee service. It will bring the coffee to you!

Call 07884 285777

Monday May 1

Dawn Chorus

Lawn Woods, High Street Old Town SN1 3EN
Tel 01793 771080
5.30am • 1 May • Free!

DAWN CHORUS – at 5.30am – created by dawn sky, dawn breeze, and dewdrops, birdsong and beauty, minstrels and musicians, storytellers, poets and performers, and celebrated by you!

As the sun rises over sleeping Swindon, join the early-birds, the keenest and coolest Festival followers, high on a ridge in Lawn Woods, for this all-age, all-weather outdoor event that marks the start of the twenty-fourth Swindon Festival of Literature.

Marvel at an array of amazing acts: pipers, singers, storytellers, jugglers, poets, musicians, and outdoor entertainers! Make new friends, meet old ones, swig a hot cup of coffee or tea, bite an egg or bacon butty, watch the sun rise, frolic round the maypole, and celebrate life and Literature!

At the sound of Jake on watering can and Danny on pipes, plinth-high against the dawn sky, the show will begin.

Artswords - Community Learning - Swindon Borough Council

Jake the Juggler and his mischievous morning band of gravity-defying, fire-flinging, musical, and dancing friends, who include Fergie the English music man and Darine the Irish dancing woman, will bring the vigour, beauty, daring, and discipline of youth to proceedings; Swindon’s own Sun Arise Singers will vocally and melodiously welcome that great orange orb rising in the east; hound-accompanied storyteller Chris Park will tell May Day tales; tin whistle-playing Andria Walton will bring luck, and loveliness to dawn frolics; Debbie Wolfson with her musical friends from Music Alive will make appropriate melodious morning sounds; with his terrific team of dancers trained in early-morning twirling, Tony ‘Community Poet’ Hillier will make sure that maypole ribbons fly and we weave and sway the untangled way; Lorraine and her Farmhouse Kitchen catering crew will keep hot butties coming; while Matthew and his Coffee Gang will keep things hot and steamy; and a masterly master of ceremonies will keep morning mayhem to a minimum but first-light frolics on fire!

Note: Later in the day, Dawn Chorus performers will be visiting people who could not get out, in hospitals, homes, and hostels, thanks to the generosity of Festival supporters…

Rain, Speed and Steam!

Richard Jefferies Museum, Marlborough Road, Coate. Swindon SN3 6AA
Tel 01793 979224
1pm – 3pm • 1 May • Entrance: £5 per family, Train rides: £2 per person

An afternoon of all things trains and story-making, inspired by one of Richard Jefferies’ favourite paintings by William Turner. Come and enjoy train rides from the Richard Jefferies House, as well as stories, writing, music, and creative magic, all with a theme of trains, lots of trains!


“Wherever the settler may be, he is never very far from the wires or the railway.” Richard Jefferies.

Freedom Run

Meet by the Stable Block beside Lydiard House, Lydiard Park, West Swindon SN5 3PA
Tel 01793 771080
2pm • 1 May • Free!

Presented in association with Swindon parkrun

A gentle 5k run in lovely Lydiard Park, SN5 3PA, with lots of friendly and supportive Swindon parkrun runners!


The run will be followed by a short rest, with refreshing REFRESHMENTS, and then, a fascinating illustrated free talk!

Photo credit: © Jane Gifford 2007

Health Walk

Meet by the Stable Block beside Lydiard House, Lydiard Park, West Swindon SN5 3PA
Tel 01793 771080
2pm • 1 May • Free!

HEALTH WALK with Kevin Fisher – for good health, well-being, and chat along the way!

Presented in association with the Swindon Health Walks


Join Festival followers and regular Health Walkers for a short walk, by the big lake, under the greenwood trees, stopping for a reflective chat here and there, and back through the park, for a cup of tea, a biscuit, and the chance to go to a fascinating free talk on the history of Lydiard Park!

Sarah Finch-Crisp

Lydiard Conference Centre, Lydiard Park, West Swindon SN5 3PA
Tel 01793 771080
3pm • 1 May • Free!

SARAH FINCH-CRISP – with an illustrated talk on the story of Lydiard House and Park.

Presented in association with Lydiard Park Heritage Trust

Love Lydiard Park? Use Lydiard Park? There are many who do!

But what do you know about its history? Has it always been open to the public? Has it had other uses? Who shaped the Park? Have you been inside the House? Who has lived in it? How old is it? Who is the Park for? What is its future? Any other questions?

Sarah Finch-Crisp has some answers, informed by her long links with Lydiard Park: her early responsibility for restoration of Grade 1 Lydiard House; her work as Swindon’s former Head of Heritage; her creation of the team that improved, managed, and ran the landscape, gardens, and buildings at Lydiard Park; her work at London’s Chiswick House; and her experience in related work further afield.

Christopher Somerville

Lower Shaw Farm, West Swindon SN5 5PJ
Tel 01793 771080
7pm • 1 May • £5 (£4)

CHRISTOPHER SOMERVILLE – on a year of walking in Britain.

Walking works in mysterious ways. It’s reckoned that the best thoughts come when the body is in motion, especially when walking. And walking has a power in forging connections between people.

We are lucky therefore to have more than 140,000 miles of footpaths in the British Isles.

Author of numerous books, walking correspondent, and travel writer, Christopher Somerville knows many of them. His latest book, The January Man, inspired by the David Goulder song of the same name, is the story of a year of walks, observing history, wildlife, landscapes, and people, throughout the British Isles.