1. How do I buy festival tickets?

General box office opens on Tuesday 26th February 2019.

Tickets can be purchased:

  1. When is priority booking week and who can take part?

Priority booking runs from Monday 18 to Friday 22 February (12 noon).

In order to take part in priority booking, you must have a valid Friend, Patron or Omega Group membership.

You must renew or purchase your Charleston membership by Wednesday 13 February (midnight) in order to qualify for priority booking.

Existing members will receive a Festival programme and Priority Booking Form in the post c. 12 February.

Alternatively, the Festival programme and Priority Booking Form can be downloaded from the Charleston Festival website from 4 February.

This year we will not be processing new membership requests or renewals during priority booking week. So please check that your membership if valid so you don’t miss out. 

  1. How do I submit my priority booking form?

Completed Priority Booking Forms can be submitted to Charleston by post, email or in person. Please note that we will not accept bookings by phone.

Priority booking requests must be received by Charleston no later than 12 noon on Friday 22 February.  We start processing the transactions on Monday 18 February, so the earlier you submit the form, the better chance you have in securing tickets to your desired events.

  • BY POST: Priority Booking, Charleston, Firle, East Sussex, BN8 6LL. Ensure that your payment details or cheque are enclosed.
  • BY EMAIL: Scan your completed form and attach it as an PDF document to: Please do not include payment details in the main body of your email. 
  • IN PERSON: You are welcome to deliver your priority booking request to Charleston in person. The office is manned weekdays from 10am to 5pm.
  1. Where can I get a Priority Booking Form?

Existing members will receive a Festival programme and Priority Booking Form in the post c. 12 February.

Alternatively, the Festival programme and Priority Booking Form can be downloaded from the Charleston Festival website from 4 February.

  1. If I take part in priority booking, am I guaranteed tickets?

Demand for tickets often exceeds capacity.  This means you might not secure tickets to all of the events you requested.   If an event is sold, you will automatically be put on a waiting list and contacted is more tickets become available.

  1. How will I know if my priority booking request has been successful?

Once we have processed your order, we will send you an e-ticket which will list out the events you have secured.

Please note that if you have not been successful at securing tickets for a sold out event, that event won’t appear on your e-ticket.

We aim to process all priority booking requests by 5pm on Friday 22 February.  If you haven’t received any e-ticket from Charleston by Monday 25 February, please get in touch with us by email, or phone 01323-815150.

  1. What happens if the event I want tickets for is sold out?

During priority booking, should your preferred event (or events) be sold out, you will automatically be added to a waiting list.

After priority booking, you will have an option to add your name to a waiting list via our online booking system.  If you have any problem, please email

Unsold tickets will be available to purchase on-the-day at the Festival Box Office at Charleston between 17 and 27 May.

  1. I purchased a ticket, but now can’t attend the event. Can I get a refund, or exchange it?

Once booked, tickets are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for other events.  We accept returned tickets as a ‘donation’ to The Charleston Trust.

  1. How does priority booking work? Is it fair?

We try to make priority booking as fair and transparent as possible

We start processing priority booking forms orders on Monday 18 February.  We must receive your form by 12noon on 22 Feb in order to qualify for priority booking.

You may submit your completed Priority Booking Forms to us as early as 4 February.  However, it will be stamped as ‘received 18 Feb’ and put in the DAY ONE box along with all of the forms received up to 11am on 18 February.  The forms are then randomly shuffled before processing.  That means forms that are submitted on 4 February are on equal standing as those submitted at 10am on 18 February.

We will process off the forms in the Day One box before proceeding to those received on Day Two and so one throughout the week.

We receive so many priority booking requests, that it usually takes us 3 days to process all of the forms.    It is likely that we will sell out of some events before we finish processing all of the forms in the Day One box.  That means you may not be successful in securing tickets to all of your desired events, even if you submitted your form by Day One.

  1. I’m a longstanding Friend of Charleston. Does my priority booking request get processed before new members?

No.  All members (new or old) are treated equally during priority booking week. 

  1. I purchased a membership so I could to take part in priority booking, but I didn’t get the tickets I wanted. Can I have a refund?

No.  Once purchased, memberships are not refundable.  Access to festival priority booking is only one of a list of benefits available to our Friends, Patrons and Omega Group members. 

  1. I’m a Friend, but missed priority booking. Is it too late for me to place my order?

Priority booking through Charleston closes at 12 noon on Friday 22 February.   The Festival Box Office opens to the general public on Tuesday 26 February (10am).

  1. I bought tickets to a festival event, but the speaker has changed. Can I get a refund?

Charleston reserves the right to make alterations to the programme as required. We make every effort to inform ticketholders of any significant change of speaker in advance by email.   

We will also post a printed notice of speaker changes at the Festival Box Office in May. 

If a main speaker changes and you no longer wish to attend the event, we will honour a full refund, provided you contact us BEFORE attending the event.

If a chairperson changes, then we will not offer refunds to the event.

If you attend the event and then decide you didn’t enjoy it, we will not offer a refund.

If you purchased your ticket at a discounted rate (e.g. All Events ticket, All Day ticket) you will only be refunded the discounted ticket value. 

Refunds take a few days to process.  Please be patient with us.

  1. Can I bring my dog?

If you are planning to attend a Festival event, we strongly advise you to leave your pets at home. 

There is very little shade in our car park, so leaving a dog in your car while you attend an event is discouraged.

Dogs should be kept on the lead and are permitted in some outdoor areas at Charleston. They are welcome in the Centenary Garden (near the car park), and the outdoor courtyards near the barns. 

Dogs are not permitted in the marquees, tea tents, House, galleries, barns.

Dogs are not permitted in Charleston’s walled garden, orchard or around the pond.

  1. Do you offer tickets for access assistants?

We have a limited number of tickets available for Access Assistants.  Please contact us on or 01323 815150 to discuss your access needs. 

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