Ticket ballot FAQ

Some of the most frequently asked questions about the CHRISTMAS LECTURES ticket ballot.

Who can enter the ballot?

The ballot is open to all Members and Patrons of the Ri, as well as Ri Corporate Members and Partners.

All Ri Members and Patrons are eligible for one entry per membership. Your membership must be valid at the time you enter the ballot.

I’m not a member. How can I join?

You can join as a Member or Patron online. We would be delighted to welcome you to our community of supporters and as well as exclusive entry to the CHRISTMAS LECTURES ticket ballot you will also benefit from free or heavily discounted tickets to our adult and family programmes

Ri Young Membership for ages 17 and under is just £30 a year. Adult Membership is £77 per year with a concessionary rate of £40 for those between the ages of 18 to 26.

I have a question about my membership. Whom should I contact?

Please email the Ri Membership team at membership@ri.ac.uk or call us on +44 (0)20 7491 6588 from Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 3.30pm.

I'm a home educator. Can I enter the ballot?

To be able to apply, home educators need to be members of the Ri.

If you are already an Ri Member, please contact xmaslecs@ri.ac.uk for further assistance with applying as a home educator.

The ballot used to be open to UK registered schools. Why isn’t it available to schools anymore?

Making tickets available to schools is part of our commitment to make the CHRISTMAS LECTURES accessible to as many people as possible. We are still making tickets available to schools this year, we’re just doing it differently. Instead of opening the ballot to all UK registered schools, we have decided to make tickets available through the network of schools we have been supporting throughout the year. Each school is in one of the most disadvantaged areas of the UK as ranked by the Income Deprivation Index and they all benefit from extra support to engage with science. Tickets for children at these schools will be free.

How do I enter the ballot?

The quickest and easiest way to enter the ballot is online here.

Alternatively, we can take your ballot entry over the phone (+44 (0)20 7409 2992) or send you a postal ballot form upon request. Postal ballot forms have already been sent to all members and patrons for whom we do not have email addresses.

Can I apply for multiple Lecture dates?

Yes, however if successful you will only be allocated tickets for one Lecture. The ballot process will ask you to list your preference for each Lecture date. If successful, you will be allocated tickets to one Lecture only, based on your first available preference.

Please note: If there are multiple Ri Members at the same address, each member can apply for a different Lecture day as their first preference. Successful applicants must purchase all tickets they have been allocated. Please consider your ticket choices carefully when applying.

Can I enter the ballot more than once?

Only one ballot application can be submitted per membership. The ballot application must be made in the member’s name and use the unique membership number, even for Ri Young Members.

How many tickets can I apply for?

Members can apply for a maximum of five tickets per Lecture. We set a limit because attending the Lectures is very popular and it helps to ensure as any people as possible have the opportunity.

Each ballot form can be used to apply for multiple tickets on a particular date. As always, an adult ticket is only available when purchasing a junior ticket and juniors must be 11 to 17 years old at the time of filming. Proof of age may be requested. As adults and juniors are seated separately, an accompanying adult is not required in the theatre.

Why does an adult ticket have to be accompanied by a junior ticket?

We want to ensure that the main allocation of tickets is for young people. Since 1825 the CHRISTMAS LECTURES have always been for a young audience and it's a tradition we are proud to keep to this day; adults are able to take their seats up in the gallery.

What happens if Covid-19 restrictions are introduced again?

At the moment (October) we are working on the basis that we will have an in-person audience, but we are following Public Health England guidance as we have done throughout the pandemic, and if that changes then we will review our plans, re-introducing covid-secure measures or possibly moving to a remote audience as we did for the 2020 Lectures if there is another lockdown.


How much do the tickets cost?

£39 for juniors aged 11–17 and £49 for adults. A small Eventbrite booking fee is also added at checkout

When does the ballot close?

The ballot closes at 11.59pm on Wednesday 27 October.

What is a screening room ticket?

These tickets allow you to watch a live feed from the recording in the theatre on a big screen in one of our beautiful rooms. You do not need to enter the ballot for screening room tickets and unlike for the theatre show, there are no age restrictions. 

When are the Lectures being filmed?

Tuesday, 14 December 2021
Thursday, 16 December 2021
Saturday, 18 December 2021

Filming will start at 6.00pm on Tuesday and Thursday, and at 4.00pm on Saturday. We ask all attendees to arrive at the Ri by 5.30pm and 3.30pm respectively, at the latest. For continuity in filming, it will not be possible to seat anyone arriving after filming has begun, event if there is a break in the recording.

As the events are being filmed live, it is difficult to give an exact finish time. However, from previous experience we estimate that filming will finish at around 8.30pm on Tuesday and Thursday, and at 6.30pm on Saturday.

When will I hear if I’ve been successful? What about if I haven’t been successful?

We will start to notify successful applicants from Thursday 4 November and set a date by which payment should be made. When the payment deadline has passed, we will reallocate the tickets of those who haven’t paid to the next people in the ballot. After those successful entrants have paid, we will contact everyone who has not been successful.

Do you have any standby tickets available?

Standby tickets may go on sale after the ballot has ended, subject to availability.

Will the money be taken as soon as I enter or when/if I’ve been successful?

No. If you are successful, we will contact you with details on how to pay for your tickets after the ballot has closed.

How and when will I receive my ticket?

You will receive your ticket via email well in advance of the date you are attending filming. For environmental and other reasons, we are not intending to re-introduce paper tickets this year.

My child is younger than 11 years old. Are there other ways they can be part of the Lectures?

On each of the three filming days we will run a live screening of the Lecture in one of our beautiful libraries. Screening room tickets will go on sale after the ballot has ended. All ages are welcome to attend our live screenings.

Whom should I contact and how to let the Ri know about my, or my child’s, accessibility needs?

Please email the CHRISTMAS LECTURES team at  xmaslecs@ri.ac.uk in the first instance to discuss your requirements.

What safeguarding measures are in place at the Ri?

The Ri takes safeguarding of young people and vulnerable adults extremely seriously. You can read our policy here. During the filming of the Christmas Lectures, there will be designated DBS checked stewards in the theatre to assist with any queries or concerns.

And as set out above, we are following Public Health England guidance with regard to any Covid-19 measures.

What should I do if any of my contact details are incorrect?

If there are any changes to your name, postal or email address, please contact us to update these details before submitting your ballot application. You can update any of your personal details by contacting us at membership@ri.ac.uk or calling us on +44 (0)20 7491 6588.

Please note that on occasion emails can be directed to your junk or spam folders. Please ensure that @ri.ac.uk is added to your list of safe domains.

How do I get to the Ri?

Our building is located at 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS.

We are a short walk from Green Park, Bond Street and Piccadilly Circus stations on the London Underground, and there are buses that stop along Piccadilly at the top of Albemarle Street that depart from London Victoria (no. 38) and Charing Cross (no. 9) stations.

Is there parking at the Ri?

As the Ri is located in Mayfair in central London, parking is very limited and we advise attendees to use public transport where possible. For more information on nearby parking, please see westminster.gov.uk/parking

Further details of getting to the Ri by public transport can be found on the find us section on our website.