Winchester Hat Fair 2017

A comprehensive guide to the Winchester Hat Fair 2017. What's on, when, where, what to eat and more

Every year at the first weekend in July the historic, slightly conservative city of Winchester goes a bit crazy with the annual Hat Fair festival. The residents throw away their British reserve and take to the streets in a 3 day long celebration of the arts.

What is the Winchester Hat Fair

Way back in 1974, around the same time that Terry Jacks topped the charts with Seasons in the Sun, a legendary festival was born. Not one set in a field. But instead set across a city, and what's more the historic Saxon Capital of Wessex that was Winchester.

This was a festival that at its core wanted to celebrate the arts within the public spaces of the city. It was founded by Jonathan Kay and the Attic Theatre Company who got the idea of trying out new performance material and being paid by donations of money into a hat. Thus, the Hat Fair was born.

From here it continued to grow and focus on raising the standard of Street theatre. Helping to take performers from buskers to professionals by providing an audience, hospitality and wherever possible a performance fee.

Today, the Hat Fair has become one the UK's longest running festivals of Street Theatre, Comedy and Music to be enjoyed by the whole family. During the festival the city of Winchester comes alive with performances and art from a wide variety of talented individuals and teams from across the globe.
The Winchester Hat Fair is now run by a dedicated and passionate team from the Theatre Royal who spend all year finding artists, agreeing locations and organising armies of volunteers to ensure the Festival goes off without a hitch.

Is the Winchester Hat Fair for Families?

Defintely, almost all the acts will be family friendly but to add to the fun there will also be a chance for kids to try circus skills, get their face painted and just join in the fun. On the Sunday the action all move to Oram's Arbour park in the North of the city and it is a great day for families to have a picnic, relax and just enjoy the fun.

When is the Winchester Hat Fair this year?

The Winchester Hat Fair starts on Friday the 30th of June this year and finishes on Sunday the 2nd of July. The first two days are set within different locations throughout the city and then on the 3rd day the majority of the action moves to Oram's Arbour park in the north of the city.

How much does the Hat Fair cost?

The Winchester Hat Fair is a free event open to everyone and anyone who visits the city of Winchester over the weekend. Some shows do require a ticket but this is becuase of restrictions on the venues and the tickets are still free. To grab some tickets head over to the Hatfair Website.

While the Hat Fair is free please keep in mind that after each great performance the performer will pass around the hat and if you enjoyed the show you should make a donation.

What's on at the Hat Fair?

For more details on what's on head over to the Hat Fair website but for now here is a list of all the acts and shows due to perform this year at the Hat Fair Festival.

  • The Actual Reality Arcade - Matthew Harrison
  • The Amazing Camera Obscura
  • Barada Street - Richard Kimberley
  • Argus the Watchman performed by the Blue Apple Theatre
  • Claudio Mutazzi - Street Coffee
  • Corazon a Corazon - Deaf Men Dancing
  • The Felicity Footloose Show - Natasha McGhie
  • Flit, Flap, Fly - Fine Chisel Theatre
  • Fraser Hooper - Country Life
  • The Great Dave - Tea for Two
  • Hat Fair Fringe Festival
  • Hot Sounds - Winchester Science Centre
  • How I Hacked My Way into Space - Unlimited Theatre
  • Juggling Jake
  • The JukeBoxes - Bootworks Theatre
  • Kiki Bittovabitsch - The Great Kazadorian Fountain of Hope
  • Landed - Two Destination Language
  • Les Freres TrouBouch - Le Spectacle Des Freres TrouBouch
  • Live Canon's Secret City - Live Canon
  • Lucy McLoughlin will be the Live Event Artist painting real people in real time
  • Lookout - Andy Field
  • Mauranga - On the Edge
  • Mc Fois - Amami!
  • MiniGolf - The Crazy Golf Company
  • Morning Clubbing - Hat Fair
  • Mr Luck's Party - Avanti
  • Orbis - HumanHood
  • People's Stage - Hat Fair
  • Poet for Hire - Joe Riley
  • Quatuor Stomp - What's Next
  • RSVP - Bhangra
  • Schools' Parade - Hat Fair and 8 local schools
  • Silence - Teatr Biuro Podrozy
  • Spinney Hollow - Woodland Workshops
  • Steli - Stalker Teatro
  • Steli Workshops - Stalker Teatro
  • Street Party - Parchment Street Businesses
  • Street Pianos - Hat Fair
  • Street comedy - Garaghty and Thom
  • Table Manners - Avant Garde Dance
  • To Me, To You... - Wired Ariel
  • Urban Safari - Actic

An impressive collection of entertainment, events and learning experiences all found in one city over one weekend.

Hat Fair Performance Locations

The events take place across the city of Winchester and to help you navigate from one to the other I've embedded a handy google map showing the main performance locations.

Where to eat at the Hat Fair?

Winchester is full of great places to eat. Plus, during the Hat Fair there will also be food stalls selling the best of Hampshire produce dotted about across the city such as mouth watering Buffalo Burgers.

However, to help make your choices easier here are three of our favourite family friendly restaurants in Winchester

  • Dim-T - Great Asian Dinning, Jewry Street, 01926 843000
  • The Stable - Homemade Woodfired Pie and Pizza, 31b The Square, 01962 878333
  • Wagamama - Asian Fusion, Century House Jewry Street, 01962 896234

Where to stay for the Hat Fair?

Winchester has a wide varity of accomodation options both in and around the city. But to keep it simple here are three recommendations for great places to stay during the Winchester Hat Fair

The Mecure Winchester Wessex Hotel

This four star hotel sits in the centre of the city a stone throws from Winchester Cathedral and right in the heart of the Hat Fair fun during the first two days. Therefore, if you need to take a breather from all the fun you can simply pop back to the hotel and chill out in the bar overlooking the Catherdral grounds.

The Mecure Winchester has 94 rooms in total with 2 family rooms and the ability to have ajoining rooms on request. It has a bar and restuarant serving brasserie style meals and breakfast in the morning. The hotel also includes free wi-fi.

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The Winchester Hotel and Spa

This large, modern, hotel sits a short walk outside the city centre and only five miniutes from Winchester Railway Station. It boasts some of the biggest rooms in Winchester and also has a Spa, Gym and Pool available for guest use (Spa treatments are extra).

It has a choice of rooms starting with a classic double and ranging all the way up to a junior suite. It has a large bar and restuarant service breakfast through to dinner. The restaurant area also includes a lovely outdoor area to enjoy the sunshine with a glass of Pimms or a luxury afternoon tea.

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Lainston House

If you are looking for some grandeous luxury during your visit to the Winchester Hat Fair then Lainston House is for you. This 17th Century Country House sits on the outskirts of the city including a 3 AA Rosette Resturant, a gym, 2 tennis courts and fabulous country walks. In fact there is so much to do you may forget about the Hat Fair if you are not careful.

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The Winchester Hat Fair Overall

The Winchester Hat Fair is a festival of street art that takes place in the city of Winchester, in Hampshire, from the 30th of June to the 2nd of July.

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