Free family fun finding the Christmas Imps hiding around Oxford city centre

Published: Tuesday, 15th November 2022

Stuck for ways to keep the over-excited little ones busy this Christmas? Imp-rove your Christmas experience with our fun, free Christmas trail, launching Friday 18 November until the New Year.

All you need is your smart phone, as Hunt for the Lost Toys takes you on a free trail through the centre of Oxford searching for the Christmas Imps.

The trail works by using QR codes, without the need for players to download or sign up to anything. Ten city centre businesses will display an image of a different Christmas Imp in their window.

Kids, big and small, engage with the story by scanning each QR code, choosing what happens and seeing the characters burst into life in augmented reality. The trail takes about 90 minutes to complete and can be done in more than one visit. There is also no limit on how many times the game can be played.

The trail starts at Hoyle’s, an independent, family-run games shop and you can join in finding their Queen of Hearts before you start your trail. The trail finishes at the Oxford Castle and Prison, with Christmas activities and shopping.

The trail takes in many of Oxford’s stunning landmarks such as the Radcliffe Camera and the Covered Market, so players can stop and start the trail at any point while they enjoy other attractions along the way.

Younger children will delight in spotting the colourful displays in windows and big kids of all ages will engage with the story.  Everyone will have fun taking silly selfies in augmented reality. After spotting all 10 Christmas Imps, families will be rewarded with a free, digital fun pack.

Councillor Imogen Thomas, cabinet member responsible for City Centre Action Plan delivery at Oxford City Council, said:

“This is a really imp-ressive, free activity for families looking for low-cost festive activities to entertain children in the city centre this Christmas. It combines gaming, a favourite activity for a lot of young children, with a chance to get out and about in the fresh air.

“The trail encompasses a range of Oxford’s most loved landmarks and ends at Oxford Castle’s Christmas activities, giving big kids a chance to join in the fun and also do a spot of Christmas shopping”.

Oxford City Council has teamed up with the Oxford High Street Association, Independent Oxford, Daily Info and the High Street Safari to deliver the trail, which has been fully funded by the City Council Light Festival Fund.

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