At the Convention

This year the Thought Bubble convention will be held in its new home at the Harrogate Convention Centre.

We’re so excited to share this year’s convention with you in such a beautiful new location!

Planning your trip

The Thought Bubble convention is as easy to access as ever, whether you’re coming by car or public transport. All the details you need to plan your trip are here.

Photo courtesy of Harrogate Convention Centre

Photo courtesy of Harrogate Convention Centre

Arriving at the convention

The convention can be accessed through ENTRANCE 4 of the convention centre. This is the main entrance near the train station (with the beautiful pillars!)

When you arrive at the convention you will need to collect your wristband. This is your key to entering the exhibition halls, panel areas and other convention locations. Wristband collection is inside the main entrance when you arrive at the convention.

If you have not purchased your ticket in advance, on the door ticket sales are also inside the main entrance. You will be given your wristband when you buy your ticket.

Image courtesy of Harrogate Convention Centre

Image courtesy of Harrogate Convention Centre

What’s On

This year’s convention will be taking place: 10am-6pm Saturday 9th November & 10am-5pm Sunday 10th November

Our exhibition halls are Hall M and Hall C, with over 500 exhibiting comic art professionals and special guests. Our panels will be held in the Queen’s Suite, which can be accessed from Hall C.

When you arrive at the convention you’ll be given a map of the exhibition floor plus a free convention guide. The venue map will show you where the tables of all your favourite guests and exhibitors are, and the guide will be full of all the amazing panels and activities taking place over the weekend.


Convention maps

Our venue maps will be released around a month before the convention. Check back here soon to see where your favourite guests and exhibitors will be at #TBF19!


Convention FAQ

 

The Thought Bubble convention is a massive two-day showcase of everything comics. Our convention is unique among its peers by putting comics, and the amazing people who make them, at the centre of everything we do. This year we have 100+ special guests, 400+ exhibitors, dozens of panels, workshops and other activities, as well as a big family area, cosplay and much, much more. Our full programme of events will be released in the months running up to the show, but you can see what guests are coming here (new announcements all the time!) and this year’s convention exhibitors here.

What’s going on at the Thought Bubble convention?


You can come to Thought Bubble by train, bus, car, bike, or maybe even magic carpet ride. Check out the getting here page for more details.

How do I get to the Thought Bubble convention?


Our heart is always going to be in Leeds and we’ve loved having our convention there for the past 11 years, but we’ve grown out of every space we’re able to occupy in the city. Our new convention venue at Harrogate Convention Centre has plenty of space to house the convention and - excitingly - so much more space for us to grow into over the coming years. We’re also not at the mercy of the weather at this new location, which is a blessing for a convention held in November!

However, apart from the convention moving to Harrogate, not much has changed for us and Leeds. The majority of our festival events are still taking place in the city (although we’re expanding more across Bradford and beyond as we become The Yorkshire Comic Art Festival!) and our base of operations is still here, so we really don’t feel like we’re leaving Leeds at all. Just expanding our home a bit!

Why have you moved to Harrogate?


Is there parking at the venue?

Yes, there is an underground car park at the venue and other parking areas throughout Harrogate. Check out the Harrogate Convention Centre website for more details about parking.


Can I get to the convention by train?

By train is probably the easiest way to get to the Thought Bubble convention from anywhere in the country, with 14 direct trains from London per day and regular trains from Leeds, York and all across Yorkshire. Check the National Rail website to plan your journey. Thought Bubble also has a special 25% discount for all passengers travelling to the convention on LNER trains. You can find out more and book your discounted ticket here.


What happens when I arrive at the convention? Where do I pick up my wristband?

Come to the main entrance (Entrance 4 on the map above) with the large pillars. On the door ticket sales and wristband collection are as you enter, just before the exhibition halls.


Where can I stay during the Thought Bubble convention?

Our hotel deals for the Thought Bubble convention have been arranged through the Harrogate Convention Centre and are suitable for a range of price points. Check out our hotels page to see all the available deals on convention hotels.


Do I have to bring cash or do exhibitors take card?

Some exhibitors will have card readers but the majority accept cash only. We won’t recommend an amount of cash to bring to the convention as everyone has different budgets, but it would be worth bringing what you want to spend in cash as not every exhibitor will take card, but all of them take cash.


Where are the cash machines?

There is a cash machine immediately outside the convention centre entrance, as well as many on the main streets around the venue and on the route from Harrogate train station. We are in the centre of Harrogate so there will be machines readily available.


Do I get a new wristband every day?

The wristband you get when you arrive at the convention will be the only one you receive for the show, however they are very sturdy and will last the whole weekend. Please do not remove it as we are unable to allow entry to people whose wristbands are broken off. It belongs on your wrist!


Is there wifi available?

There may be limited public wifi in Harrogate but please do not expect to have access to this in the convention centre. Thought Bubble does not provide wifi over the convention.


Can I check in coats or bags at the convention centre?

Unfortunately not; we only have cloakroom space for cosplayers at the Thought Bubble convention, so if you are bringing bags or coats to the convention please be prepared to carry them with you.


Is there food and drink at the Thought Bubble convention?

Yes, there will be a range of foods available at the show. We are also in the centre of Harrogate with lots of cafes & restaurants at a range of price points within the immediate vicinity of the convention. You are also welcome to bring your own food to the show, although please be considerate of the other attendees and exhibitors when eating or drinking on the show floor as there are obviously a lot of paper goods on display!


What hours is the Thought Bubble convention open?

The convention is open from 10am-6pm on Saturday 9th November and 10am-5pm on Sunday 10th November.


When will guests and panels be announced?

Guests are announced throughout the year, so make sure to check out the guests page regularly or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We will make a few big programme announcements as we get closer to the festival, but our main festival and convention programmes will be released in the months before the show. Again, our social media is the best place to look for updates on panels and other convention events!


How can I find out when guests will be at the convention?

Most creators will be attending both days of the convention and will either have a table in one of the convention halls, or a slot at one of our signing tables. Guests with signing slots are marked with an asterisk (*) on the guests page and will be listed on the convention maps above with their signing times.


Can I get guests to sign my stuff?

If you want to know if a guest will be doing sketches, or if they charge for signings/sketches, it's usually best to check their social media or ask them directly. Guests who are attending for talks/panels only, and will not be signing/sketching at the event, are marked with a double asterisk (**) on the guests page.


What should I expect in the panels at the Thought Bubble convention?

At Thought Bubble we have an exciting range of panel topics, from talks about the latest releases from special guests to masterclasses on writing, art and much more. This year we are also launching our new initiative for aspiring comic creators with an even bigger programme of educational and inspirational panels with your favourite creators. Our full convention events programme, including panels, will be available soon.


Can I take pictures and video?

Yes, but please ask permission before taking photographs and remember that cosplay does not equal consent. If someone asks you not to take photos of them or to delete photos that you have already taken, please respect them and do so. If you are making people uncomfortable then you will be asked to leave, so please be nice and respectful of other people. We want everyone to be able to have a good time.


Will others be taking pictures and video of me?

In most likelihood, yes. We hire our own official photographers to record the event, partly for marketing purposes but mainly because we’re a sentimental bunch and love having nice pictures to remember the show by. By attending the Thought Bubble convention you are agreeing to be photographed or videoed by our official photographers. We will only photograph or video children with signed consent from their parents. When being photographed by other attendees, you have the right to refuse to be photographed or filmed and to ask people to delete photos or videos that they have already taken of you. But as above, please be respectful when talking to other attendees. They may be over excited to see your amazing cosplay or may be taking photos of crowds and not have noticed you were in the shot. If in doubt please talk to one of our amazing redshirt volunteers and they will be happy to help you resolve any issues surrounding photography and consent.


Is the Thought Bubble convention wheelchair accessible?

All of our convention venues are wheelchair accessible. The main entrance into the convention halls is step free, and there is lift access between the two halls (there are about 6 steps down between the halls). The aisles between tables within the convention venues are all at least 6ft wide. There is lift access to the panel area and lift or step free access to all toilets, which have wheelchair accessible options at every location. Entrances and accessible toilets will be clearly marked on the convention map you will receive as you enter the convention.


Do you have baby changing and breastfeeding facilities?

Our accessible toilets (marked on the convention map you receive when you enter the convention) have baby changing facilities. You are welcome to use our quiet space - Bub’s Lounge - for breastfeeding.


I want to come to the Thought Bubble convention, but will I find it overwhelming?

The Thought Bubble convention can at times get busy and crowded, but if you are finding it overwhelming there are plenty of options available to you so you can take a break, recharge, and enjoy yourself!

  • Bub's Lounge, is our dedicated recharge space, run in partnership with Leeds Specialist Autism services. This is a quiet place on the convention site, so you can retreat there whenever you need to and there are volunteers on hand to assist you if you need them. If you would rather sit quietly and be alone for a while, then that is OK too.

  • Leeds Specialist Autism Services also have a table inside the exhibition halls and are very approachable and friendly!

  • Sunday morning is often a quieter time at the convention. If you would rather not be part of big crowds then this is a good time to come for more leisurely browsing time and smaller queues.

  • Red shirt volunteers are always here if you have issues at the convention.

Venue information for these locations is TBC as we are in a new convention venue this year. Full convention maps will be released closer to the show, and you’ll also be given a copy of this map when you enter the convention.


What should I do if my family gets separated at the convention?

If you don’t already have a pre-arranged meeting space then all you need to do is find a redshirt volunteer or member of staff (the ones with the walkie-talkies!) and they will be able to help you find and reunite with your group.


What do I do if I lose or find something?

If you’ve lost something at the convention or found something that somebody else has lost, then please let one of our redshirt volunteers know and they’ll be able to assist you in finding it / take the lost item to our lost property. If you see any suspicious bags or other items on the convention floor then please notify a volunteer or member of staff immediately.


What do I do if I get hurt?

All you need to do is find a redshirt volunteer and they will be able to call first aid (our redshirts are really amazing!)


Wow, these redshirts sound so talented! Can I volunteer at the Thought Bubble convention?

Yes, absolutely! Our redshirt volunteers are the best and friendliest group of people and regularly meet up outside of Thought Bubble. They’re a great group to join. Check out our volunteering page for more information or contact volunteering@thoughtbubblefestival.com to apply.


Convention policies: