Christmas in Oxford City

Christmas in Oxford City Centre

We’re working with businesses and organisations around the city to bring you a comprehensive list of festive activities.  

The Bodleinan's Weston Library 

19 July 2023 – 21 January 2024

Looking for inspiration to gift a book for Christmas? Alphabets Alive! brings the magic of books and alphabets to life, featuring more than 150 works - including manuscripts, prints, posters and sculptures. Trace how the centuries-old ABC book for teaching children to read continues to influence modern-day alphabet books.

Pitt Rivers Museum 

November - December 2023

A final chance to enjoy the props and costumes from last Christmas’ BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials integrated into the very displays that inspired the Oxford author. At the History of Science Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum until 31 Dec ’23.

History of Science Museum 

November - December 2023

A final chance to enjoy the props and costumes from last Christmas’ BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials integrated into the very displays that inspired the Oxford author. At the History of Science Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum until 31 Dec ’23.

The Story Museum

17th November, 5pm - 7pm

Oxford Light Festival – Stories in the Café: Join us for some cosy stories in the café this Christmas Light Festival. Warm yourself up with a hot chocolate whilst listening to stories from snowy climes.

From Mid-December

Christmas Mouse Trail - Some of the mice have escaped from our world famous Mouseum and found their way into The Story Museum Galleries! They’ve even got creative and made some miniature exhibits of their own. Grab your looking glass and track them down. Only you can help us find them all!

21st – 24th & 27th – 29th December (for ages 4+)

Tom Thumb - The Story Museum's Christmas show for families, inspired by the traditional tale of Tom Thumb.

Oxford City Council

17th - 19th November

Oxford's Christmas Light Festival Loads of fun, festive, and cultural events online and in your community - Many thanks to K J Smith Solicitors for supporting the 2023 Festival

18th November - 9.30am - 1130am, The Covered Market (children must be accompanied by an adult at all times)

Join Santa for a breakfast meet & greet, and take part in a fantasy festive tour of the Market

19th November - 10am - 12pm, The Covered Market (children must be accompanied by an adult at all times)

Get craft and write a letter to Santa at the Market Tap, and enjoy balloon modelling

Museum of Oxford

17th November - 5:30pm - 8:30pm (FREE)

Festive Late for Christmas Light Festival Come and visit the Museum after hours, and dig into our local history in our interactive galleries lit by festive lights. 

25th November, 1:00pm - 4:00 pm (FREE)

Breaking bread: holiday potluck with Imperfect Bound Zine Collective Food is a craft all its own, part of how we form community, memories, and identity. Want to photocopy all your friends’ favourite recipes into a collage for the kitchen? Fancy spending an afternoon making a still life of mince pies and brandy butter? Just really want to show off your halwa or latkes? Join Imperfect Bound Zine Collective for another zine-craft workshop, this time making a collaborative group poster on the theme of community and holiday foods. The poster will then be used in the museum’s current exhibition, Oxford Digs In. Celebrate (chosen) family traditions, record recipes and swap with what other people bring, and explore your own holiday feelings through food and craft. All crafting materials will be provided. You do not have to bring a food to participate, it’s just fun to share!

Please make sure you do not bring any nuts, and that all other ingredients are clearly marked on a label.

1st December (FREE)

Follow Henry Hare on his journey round the museum’s galleries in our family gallery tail suitable for all ages.

Use the clues and pictures to solve the gallery mysteries in our festive backpacks, suitable for all ages.

4th December, 2:00pm - 3:30pm (FREE)

Themed reminiscence session for older people, with an informal presentation and plenty of time to share your stories. This month's theme is Midwinter Traditions.

Lantern Making in the Market

19th November - 12pm - 3pm, The Covered Market

As the colder nights grow longer, many communities use fire and light to bring friends and family together. Join us in an inclusive space for intergenerational and intersectional discussion, where we can explore what is important to us at this time of year while creating colourful lanterns and stained-glass effect tealights. All ages, abilities, genders, identities and backgrounds are welcome. All materials provided. Free but booking is needed to help with resources. 

Westgate Oxford

24th November - 22nd December

Westgate Wasteless Wonderland - Get ready for an eclectic line-up of attractions, events and experiences at Westgate Oxford this festive season! Keeping sustainability in mind, we invite you to join us in heaps of hands-on fun in the lead-up to Christmas, including wooden star-making workshops; kaleidoscope crafting using recycled Christmas cards; Japanese-inspired gift wrapping; and wreath-making with a personal touch.

Oxford Playhouse

24th November - 7th January (Tickets from £10)

Get ready for a GIGANTIC panto experience! Climb to new heights with Jack and the Beanstalk, a FEE FI FO FUN pantomime for everyone to enjoy at Oxford Playhouse. Poor Jack can’t seem to help getting into trouble with his mum. Now he’s really landed himself in it by selling the family cow to a stranger for a handful of old beans. But hang on a minute! Those mysterious beans have started to grow... and grow... and GROW! Join Jack and his friends on an adventure of a lifetime, as they scale the beanstalk and take on a Giant. Full of infectious laughter, brilliant storytelling, singing, dancing, cheering for the goodies and booing for the baddies, an Oxford Playhouse pantomime is fabulous festive fun for young and old alike.

Independent Oxford 

25th November, 11am - 5pm

Join Indie Oxford at Tap Social’s Taproom in Botley for an awesome Christmas Market jam packed with awesome indie stalls, plus pizza, seasonal drinks and freshly baked goodies from Proof. House of Fun will also be returning with their Santa’s Grotto and kids craft corner. See you there for oodles of Christmas cheer!

Oxford Botanic Garden

2nd December, 10am - 6pm (last entry 5pm) & 3rd December 10am - 4pm (last entry 3pm)

Oxford Botanic Garden Christmas Fair A festive market with food, music and specially selected retail shopping from local makers, as well as educational and festive activities for children. Tickets: Standard £8, Concessions (students, over-65s): £7, Friends of Oxford Botanic Garden: £6, Under-16s, disabled visitors and accompanying carers: Free

Oxford Preservation Trust

6th December - 6pm

Join Oxford Preservation Trust for their festive lighting of the Oxford Castle Christmas Tree. Come and celebrate the Christmas spirit in the Oxford Castleyard for the lighting of the tree with carols. Free, all welcome.

Oxford Castle and Prison

We will be dressing the site for Christmas this month with Lantern Led Tours running throughout December for our visitors to soak up the festive spirit.

We are taking bookings for our ever popular Christmas Trail for families on selected dates from the end of November up to the big day.

We will also be running our Late Night Shopping Opening on December 8th from 6pm-10pm with Kidlington Brass Band providing a suitably festive musical accompaniment in Castleyard.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

21st December – 7th January (excluding 24th – 26th December) 10am - 5pm (Drop-in, Free)

Dodo's Christmas Family Trail - Take part in our Christmas trail around the Museum, finding all things festive with the dodo. For all ages.


Saturday and Sunday during term time. Everyday during school holidays

Come and meet St Nicholas, who inspired the real Santa Claus, through one of the Ashmolean's most magical exhibits. A special, seasonal stop on the family-friendly, interactive digital highlights tour Ashmolean Adventure - with an animated retelling of the miracle featured in the 15th century painting. Booking required.


14th December - 6PM 

Adrian Edmondson signing copies of his autobiography, 'Berserker!'. It's free entry and is on until 7pm in the Norrington Room at the shop. No registration is needed.

17th December - 12pm

Kaleb Cooper signing copies of 'Britain According to Kaleb' on the second floor. Free to attend. Customers can register via the website.