To help you feel at home and make the most of your visit to a Hugglets Teddy Bear Festival here are some practical tips. You’ll probably find them helpful even if it’s not your first time. If you think we should add other things to this page, please let us know by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please click here for helpful advice on how to get to Kensington Town Hall.
Don’t fear the queue.
Those who arrive before the opening time will find a queue winding its way down towards Kensington High Street. Some people arrive very early as they are keen to get the best choice of bears from one or another artist. But otherwise, the main advantage of arriving much before 10.30am (for Hugglets Club members) or 11.30am (for the public) is the free chocolates passed down the line.
For those very new to bear collecting: bear artist is the term for teddy bear makers who design their own original bears. Most of them are one of a kind bear (OOAK) or limited editions.
Parking at Kensington Town Hall
There is a Saba car park under the venue and the special Sunday rate is £25 for the day, to pay only by card (Master/Visa). The car park may be full by mid-day. You can book your space in advance. There are alternatives from £12 within a walking distance under 10 minutes available at justpark.com (you should book at least 2 weeks prior to the fair). There are 4 disabled spaces just to the right after the barrier. Kensington Town Hall is falling into the expanded congestion zone. For up to date and accurate information we recommend looking at tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone/ulez-expansion – you can put your vehicle in and it will advise if affected.
Have your tickets ready
Before joining the queue, we recommend you obtain your entry ticket from the Hugglets reception desk at the entrance. If you already have the correct ticket, you can join the queue directly. You can purchase tickets online. Or enjoy free entrance as a Hugglets Club member. Members receive their tickets two weeks before the Festival by post.
Tickets cost £6 on the day for adults (from age 16), children have free entrance.
If you wish to get early Festival information, you can register here.
The useful Guide
The Hugglets Teddy Bear Guide contains the contact details of most exhibitors – and a lot more besides. If you prefer to purchase the Guide in advance, you can order it online here.
The queue often gets very long. Despite this, we usually manage to get everyone in within ten minutes because experienced visitors have their tickets already on hand. If someone in the line doesn’t already have their ticket they just step aside when they get to the reception. We will sell them as fast as possible. Still, a short delay for these ticket buyers is inevitable.
Access for everyone
The venue is suitable for wheelchair access (please come directly to reception via the entry point higher up Hornton Street to avoid external stairs). An internal lift is available between the three floors as well as the internal stairs. There are toilet facilities on both the top floor and basement. But accessible toilet facilities are limited to the basement. Official guide dogs may enter the venue, but other pets are not allowed.
Your ticket is valuable
Before handing in your ticket at the inner door (just past reception), please make sure you completed the details on the back or on your raffle voucher. It is your chance of winning one of two £50 shopping vouchers to spend at the event. There is a third chance to win a £100 voucher for Hugglets Club members. Winners are announced and invited to collect the voucher from reception.
If at any time you need to leave the venue and return, please ask for a pass-out card as you go out.
Cash is king
Not all exhibitors can take cheques or card payments. So it’s a good idea to have sufficient cash for your proposed purchases. You may need to visit one of the nearby cashpoints/ATMs on Kensington High Street. The nearest is at the corner of Hornton Street.
In case you need some cash we offer a cash service at the reception. We accept all major debit and credit cards but have to charge a fee of 3% for this service.
Coats and bags are safe
If you have coats and bags with you, you can deposit these at the free cloakroom in the basement (hall 1). You can also use this facility if your purchases mount up during the day. But don’t forget to collect them.
From the moment, you enter the event – everything is open to you. Over 10,000 teddy bears and related collectables (including rabbits, cats, monkeys, dogs etc.) are on sale. And they come in an enormous variety of styles, sizes, colours, ages and prices.
Three floors, four halls
The event takes place on all three floors in four different halls. It starts with hall 1 in the basement. From there you are going up to the ground floor where you find halls 2 and 3. The top floor is called hall 4.
The number of stands in each hall is as follows
Basement: Hall 1 – 32 stands
Ground Floor: Hall 2 – 33 stands
Ground Floor: Hall 3 – 65 stands
Top Floor: Hall 4 – 39 stands
Many people find it helpful to review the list of exhibitors before the event. If you’ve not already received one in the post, a floorplan will be available on the day from the reception area. You can collect one when you arrive and review it while waiting in the queue. You can view the exhibitor list and a basic floorplan on our website to plan your visit. It’s a good idea to identify any stands you particularly want to visit early in the day when more bears are still available.
But don’t forget to look around and allow yourself to discover new things. There are always new exhibitors and young talents worth your attention.
If there are cancellations, additions or changes to the published programme, we will post these in various places as you enter the venue.
In the Online Exhibitor List, we also provide links to take you to the websites of our exhibitors. This is great for previewing the sorts of bears offered by each exhibitor. The links remain available on the site for a while after the event to help you track down an exhibitor if you later regret not buying one of their bears.
If you are especially intent on buying a specific bear or a work from a particular artist, it may be worth contacting the exhibitor in advance. It might be possible to reserve the bear. Or perhaps you can buy it in advance and collect it on the day.
There are so many great teddy bears and their friends – it will be hard to know where to begin. Most of the leading teddy bear makers in the UK will be there; as well as remarkable artists from all over the world. Hugglets Teddy Bear Festivals also offer a rare opportunity to meet bear artists and other exhibitors from overseas in the UK – so you’ll not want to miss these.
There are usually about 60 exhibitors from overseas. You will find them through all the halls. Countries often represented include Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine & USA.
The picture thing
A quick word about photography. If you want to take photos we won’t be surprised because the displays are lovely and the artistry amazing. But please ask permission of the exhibitor first.
Just past the reception area, you’ll see a bear repairer. You may be lucky and she can heal your furry friend on the day, but often teddies need to become in-patients.
If you are thinking of selling an old bear at Hugglets Teddy Bear Festivals, many dealers may be pleased to see your bear and perhaps make an offer. One or more specialist toy auctioneers may also have a stand and so be able to advise you.
By now, you might be getting hungry. On the top floor, you’ll find the snack bar. An alternative is to take a break outside at one of the local eateries. Or you’ll find a seat in the balcony area overlooking hall 3 and break out the sandwiches. If you do go out for food, please note that fast food cannot be brought back into the premises so you’ll need to finish it outside.
If you are coming with a party, it is a good idea to arrange a meeting time and place in case you split up. Sorry, we generally won’t make public announcements to reunite you with your friends. But we make an exception if children are lost.
Lost & found
Speaking of losing things – please keep hold of your bags. You may need to put them down to cuddle an irresistible bear from time to time. But remember to pick them up again. If you do lose something, please report it to the Hugglets reception at the entrance. We’ll take your contact details and reunite you with your property if it is handed in. If you find something, please bring it to the reception. If it is next to a stand, please also bring it to the attention of the exhibitor.
In case you feel unwell during the event (overwhelmed by all the bears?) there is alwayse Ambulance staff on-site to help you – please ask at the reception.
Everything finds an end
The event finishes at 4.00 pm so you’ll want to regroup and make sure you’ve visited all the halls before then. At 3.45 pm we’ll make an announcement to recommend you make your final purchases before the journey home. If you have left items in the cloakroom, please collect them. Anything still there at the end of the day will be transferred to the Hugglets reception desk.
If you need a taxi, we advise you to walk down to the main road and hail one from there. Phoning for a cab is not always successful.
If you have parked in the car park, you’ll need to pay before rejoining your car. The car park only accepts card payments.
When will we see you again?
Have a safe journey back home, and we hope your adopted bears settle well into their new home. If you have taken pictures of your day or wish to write an account of your visit, please send us a copy. We may be able to include it on our website or feature it on Facebook.
We’ll be happy to have you with us and wish you an enjoyable time with us at the Hugglets Teddy Bear Festival.
Sebastian, Family & the Hugglets Team
Cashpoints/ATMs near Kensington Town Hall
Not all exhibitors can take cheque or card payments, especially those from overseas, so it’s a good idea to have sufficient cash for your proposed purchases.
In case you need some cash we offer a cash service at reception. We accept all major debit and credit cards but have to charge a fee of 3% for this service.
Alternatively, you may need to visit one of the nearby cashpoints/ATMs on Kensington High Street (the nearest are at the corner of Hornton Street).
1. The best option (if it works for you) is to connect to the free Wi-Fi network RBKC_VENUES. After connecting open your browser and you need to enter a code (available from reception for exhibitors only). Devices must accept cookies.
2. BT Openzone is also available in many parts of the building. The typical cost is £10 for the day (we understand it is free if you have BT Broadband at home). You sign up and pay online by selecting and connecting to the available BT wireless network. Hugglets is not involved so please do this from your own stand. You can read more about this at www.btwifi.com
3. If you have a good mobile signal you’ll be able to access the internet on your phone or else you could set up your own Wi-Fi hotspot. Please check your phone settings for how to do this. Please note that not all mobile phone networks will penetrate all parts of the building so you’ll need to find a signal if necessary.
Nb. We’d appreciate any feedback you can give on mobile and Wi-Fi reception so we can establish which networks work best in various parts of the building.