Ticket bookings are now live for Swindon’s Festival of Tomorrow, taking place at The Deanery CE Academy in Wichelstowe on the 25th and 26th of February. 

The free admission tickets, available at, are visitors’ passports to the Discovery Zones, where families can:

- explore the latest technology

- meet and chat with leading scientists and engineers

- watch live demonstrations with liquid nitrogen

- take part in free hands-on activities.

One highlight for families will be the return of ExplorerDome, with Invisible Universe - their flagship planetarium show celebrating the James Webb Space Telescope, the most ambitious space science mission ever created, which was launched on Christmas Day and promises to revolutionise our understanding of the universe.

Visitors will have the chance to get up close to breath-taking live projections from the surface of the Sun thanks to a large-scale installation developed by UK scientists, and there’ll be the chance to make space-inspired artworks to take home – or to add to an ever-growing display!

Boaty McBoat Face

Festivalgoers will be able to meet a model of Boaty McBoatface, the underwater robot or autonomous underwater vehicle that explores the Antarctic oceans for the British Antarctic Survey. Boaty shot to fame in 2016 and has just set off once again on a pioneering mission to explore the waters around the Thwaites glacier which is responsible for around four percent of global sea-level rise.

There will also be opportunities to take part in challenges from Intel, enjoy free robotics workshops with the James Dyson Foundation, see a solar-powered motorsports car which raced across Australia, and even get up close to the 200,000-year-old mammoth bones and neanderthal hand axe discovered just 10 miles North of Swindon.

The festival is once again sponsored by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the group behind many of the innovations featured as part of the festival including Boaty McBoatface and components of the James Webb Space Telescope. UKRI is the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK responsible for leading efforts to tackle issues such as COVID19 and climate change from its base in Swindon town centre.

UKRI will be hosting a range of exhibits at a dedicated stand at the Deanery CE Academy that will enable visitors to meet the inspiring scientists and innovators UKRI supports.

Tickets for entry to the main Festival are free, thanks to support from locally based organisations including Business West, Intel, City Fibre and the UK Space Agency.

Bookings also opened today for an exciting line-up of shows, panels and talks, covering everything from how we can decarbonise the future, to robots exploring extreme environments, to the latest updates on missions from the UK Space Agency.

Some of the highlights from the wide variety of talks and shows that are on offer include:

Family-friendly shows and talks

The Wonderstruck Rocket Show


A spectacular live show which looks at the history and science of rockets from the discovery of black powder to the most recent exploits of SpaceX and others. Expect to see a full size, working rocket car, a working hybrid rocket motor, a working jet engine and a very large fireball

Swindon dig

Discovering the Mammoth Graveyard

Hear from the amateur fossil hunters and team of scientists behind the amazing discovery behind the recent BBC One documentary, Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard.  Sally and Neville Hollingworth’s discovery of remarkably preserved ice-age mammoth fossils at a quarry near Swindon has been called one of the most important discoveries in British Palaeontology. Join them and some of the expert academics who uncovered an amazing glimpse into Wiltshire’s Ice-Age.

Life in Space – the Truth is Up There

Exploring space, might seem just like the movies, but the reality of life as an astronaut is even more amazing than the movies.UK Space Agency’s Libby Jackson is a leading expert in human spaceflight including having worked in Mission Control. She’ll be sharing some of the most fascinating real-life stories of space exploration, from the earliest launches, through to today’s missions on the International Space Station.?

Science Magic… Magic Science

After rave reviews from families who joined the virtual Festival of Tomorrow last year, renowned science performer Ian B. Dunne is back with his fun-packed show for all ages. Find out how many conjuring tricks are really science demonstrations – and how some science demonstrations look just like magic in this fast-paced show packed with mystery, suspense and laughs.

For teens and adults

From Chernobyl with Robots!

Join BBC Science in Action Journalist, Roland Pease and experts University of Bristol's School of Physics to learn how a robot dog is helping to map radiation levels at Chernobyl – and what this means for developing robotic systems in extreme environments.

Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum Group National Collection Centre

Hear the latest news and updates on the huge project to move the fascinating, unique and irreplaceable archive collections to the purpose built centre at Wroughton.

The Four Technological Superpowers that Change the World – with Intel

Technology has never been more important to humanity. There is a driving need for exponentially more computing.Semiconductors are the underlying technology powering the digitization of everything. Come and talk to us about how you experience technology and interact with devices from PCs to other connected devices, even in your homes and cars.

For those who can’t make the Festival in person, or who want to dive deeper into the world or research and knowledge on offer, there will also be a wide range of virtual activities and content available online through the Festival’s virtual event app.

The festival is made possible by the support of principal partner, UK Research and Innovation, and Major Partners Business West and the UK Space Agency.