Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival returns with more communities taking part than ever

Published: Friday, 28th October 2022

Building on the popularity of Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival of the last few years, 2022 brings even more events created by artists and residents to locations across the city. From 18th to 20th Nov

This year’s festival will be popping up in new areas as well as lighting up some favourite places. A new interactive LED artwork will be on display at Blackbird Leys Community centre, a dazzling LED light display and live music in Florence Park, lantern parades in Rose Hill, Cutteslowe and West Oxford, light celebrations in Cowley, East Oxford and a free virtual Hunt for the Lost Toys in the city centre. Immersive exhibitions, choirs, performances and Christmas markets with fine foods, gifts and refreshments take place over the whole weekend.

As well as activity in the communities, the city centre will host a variety of festive activities for people to enjoy. A Victorian Market will bring the magic of Christmas traditions to Broad Street, with traders in Victorian costume and traditional gifts and treats on offer. Elves will feature for little explorers on the 'elf trail' and traditional festive lights will brighten the city streets.

Fusion Arts, Film Oxford, IF-Oxford and North Wall Arts Centre are working with local artists to host a series of lantern making workshops for schools, community groups and drop-in sessions for family and individuals across the city making lanterns for parades or to light up schools, homes and hubs.  The Oxford Christmas Light Festival web site will be kept up to date with details of workshops and events.

“Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival is a wonderful example of the way cultural activity can unite people and strengthen our communities. Families can create together, friends can meet up and explore together, whole neighbourhoods can get involved and enjoy being together. The magic of the festival is an opportunity for delight and celebration, and to enjoy every part of our exceptional city.”

"Anyone travelling from outside Oxford can benefit from our new Park & Ride promotion with the bus companies and avoid the Christmas traffic. Kids travel for free on a group ticket, and there are new lower prices for other passengers too. ”

Councillor Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities and Culture 

“More communities are involved in this year’s event than previously and it’s really exciting to see the festival grow and be established more widely across the city. If there are people or organisations who are planning an event or activity for Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival, but haven’t yet let us know, you can still take part. We’re ready to welcome you into the programme.”

Festival Coordinator Karen Starr

The full programme of events, workshops, trails and activities will be published on the festival website.

All participating organisations or groups should register their events by Monday 31st October via the website.


Highlight Events

Blackbird Leys

IF Oxford Science and Ideas Festival will host a series of Glow Your Own live and online ‘arts and coding’ workshops in the run up to the festival. With members of the neighbourhood communities, they have planned a light sculpture for the Blackbird Leys CDI building. The interactive sculpture will be in place over the festival weekend and responds to sunlight, torchlight and sound.


Ark-T extends a warm invitation to their Winter Lights party on Friday 18th from 5pm, where you can experience a magical audio-visual installation, enjoy music from local musicians and DJs, take part in creative workshops, get your face painted and eat delicious seasonal food.

FloFest’s Finding the Light event was so popular last year, it extends to two evenings on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th from 4.30pm with lanterns, lights and lasers plus live music, fair rides and a secret light trail.

Rose Hill

At Rose Hill Community Centre on Saturday 19th, anyone young or old can join in a polar light parade, workshops, local films and live music with Rose Hill Junior Youth Club and Film Oxford in the afternoon from 4.45pm.

Magdalen Road Studios and Pegasus have teamed up to host the Magdalen Road Festival of workshops, art installations, light trails and performances. There’s even an after party with music and a pop-up café


The North Wall have partnered with the Cutteslowe Community Centre to deliver lantern and window display making workshops with local arts clubs and Cutteslowe Primary School for the Cutteslowe Light Trail. Grab a map on Saturday 19th from 5pm to view the beautifully lit windows in houses across Sunnymead and Cutteslowe, illuminated trees, a light sensory disco, shadow light theatre and crafts.

West Oxford

Visitors to Botley Park will see illuminated trees and a hidden light trail on Sunday 20th courtesy of the West Oxford Pantomime Association. A lantern procession from 5pm will be led by local musicians, followed by decorated cycles and sleighs pulled by ‘reindeer’ and ‘huskies’. Best sleigh wins a prize.

City Centre

Modern Art Oxford welcomes the return of the Shadowlight Artists supported by Film Oxford. The latest exhibition, Captured Moments, features new work by artists Lucy Skuce and Mark Hemsworth.

Oxford City Council has teamed up with the High Streets Association, Independent Oxford, Daily Info and High Street Safari to run an innovative augmented reality trail for families starting from 18th November. Anyone with a smartphone can use it to Hunt for the Lost Toys on a route through ten stops, including shops and attractions around the city. Families will be guided by a team of superheroes as they make story choices for their Christmas adventure and see cheeky elves burst to life on their screens.

The Christmas markets will warm and cheer visitors with their seasonal food, gifts and refreshments. As well as the Broad Street location, a visit to the Museum of Oxford will shine a light on the gifted creators of the city who make high quality affordable presents for any Christmas list.

City centre churches, Wesley Memorial and St. Ebbe’s will be holding festive services and iconic Christmas trees will be on display in Broad Street and at the Oxford Castle & Prison, where there will also be a seasonal trail.

Cultural partners

Ark-T Centre https://www.ark-t.org/

Arts at the Old Fire Station https://oldfirestation.org.uk/              

Film Oxford https://www.filmoxford.org/

FloFest http://www.flofest.uk/flofest-2022.html

Fusion Arts https://fusion-arts.org/

IF-Oxford https://if-oxford.com/

Magdalen Road Studios http://www.magdalenroadstudios.com/

Modern Art Oxford https://modernartoxford.org.uk/

Museum of Oxford https://museumofoxford.org/

Oxford Castle & Prison https://www.oxfordcastleandprison.co.uk/

Oxford Pride https://www.oxford-pride.org.uk/

Pegasus https://pegasustheatre.org.uk/

St. Ebbe’s https://stebbes.org/

The North Wall Arts Centre https://www.thenorthwall.com/

Wesley Memorial Church https://www.wesleymem.org.uk/

West Oxford Pantomime Association  http://wopa.me/wolf.html