Put a spring in your step by bouncing along to our city centre events

Published: Tuesday, 14th March 2023

With 20 March 2023 marking the first official day of Spring, it’s time to circle a date in the diary and plan a nice family day out with an array of fun city centre events to choose from.

From the Covered Market’s iconic Easter Egg Hunt to a free family nature day at the Museum of Oxford, there’s something to suit all pockets and ages.

It’s also a chance to shake off the winter blues, leave the house to have fun and meet friends to share some treats at a brand-new food festival.

Post-Easter, the city will be gearing up for May Morning, one of its greatest annual traditions to mark the coming of spring, bringing together people of all ages to enjoy dancing, singing and revelry.

Easter Egg Hunt

Date: Saturday 25 March to Saturday 8 April 2023

Venue: The Covered Market

Oxford’s much-loved Covered Market Easter Egg Hunt returns to welcome eagle-eyed egg enthusiasts.

Run by the traders, the Egg Hunt has become one of the historic market’s great traditions. Last year’s event was the most successful yet, with over 32,000 small foiled chocolate eggs given out and 44 Traders shops – the largest number to date – taking part.

The hunt is free to enter and there is no age limit. Each hunter is given an entry card – to be collected from The Garden, Jemini or Wicked Chocolate. The challenge is to go round the Market spotting the pictures of eggs with letters inside participating shops. For each letter spotted, the hunter’s card is given a stamp and a small chocolate egg.

Complete all the stamps on the card and the lucky Hunter gets entered into the grand prize draw. There are three fantastic prizes up for grabs:

  • 1st prize - a giant handcrafted 3kg egg
  • 2nd prize - a Charbonnel et Walker milk chocolate egg
  • 3rd prize - a Prestat Hundreds and Thousands’ milk chocolate egg

For more information, please visit the Oxford Covered Market website.

Hey Little Bird

Date: 25 March 2023 at 2.30pm

Venue: The Story Museum

A special show suitable for audiences with access needs. Join Emma Boor in her fancy hat shop as she tells the touching tale of a freshly hatched bird and his search to find his mum.

A gentle tale for very young audiences featuring music, puppetry, magical shadow puppetry, joining in and a whole host of birds made out of hats!

The story has been adapted with specially designed sensory activities, a slower pace, partial Makaton signing and a flexible approach to suit the audience needs.

For more information, please visit The Story Museum website.

Adopt a Dragon

Selected Dates between 1 to 16 April 2023 at 10.30am and 12.30pm

Venue: Oxford Castle and Prison

Tickets: £12 per child over 3 + under 3s and accompanying adults go free

Join Dragon Masters at Oxford Castle & Prison for three interactive activities recommended for ages 3-11 years:

  1. Paint and decorate your dragon egg
  2. Construct your own nest for your dragon
  3. Adopt your very own dragon to take home

Each child will take home their egg, nest and soft toy dragon along with a certificate of adoption and a fact sheet for them to fill in for their fiery friend.

This activity is perfect for children who love to be creative with arts and crafts – and who love dragons too.

Other free activities at Oxford Castle and Prison

  • 15 and 16 April - Morris dancers in Castleyard as part of Oxford Folk Festival
  • 30 April - 3 Choirs singing in Castleyard

For more information, please visit the Oxford Caste and Prison website.

The Wild Escape Family Fun Day

Date: 3 April 2023, 11am to 3pm

Venue: The Museum of Oxford

Take part in free crafts and learn all about Oxford’s wonderful natural world from local wildlife experts with a free family fun day.

For more information, please visit The Museum of Oxford website.

Dine N Devour

Date: 7, 8 and 9 April 2023

Venue: Broad Street

Dine N Devour, a brand-new touring food festival, will launch in Oxford city centre this Easter, with over 70 Food, drink and Artisan stalls to browse and buy.

Street entertainment will compliment this wonderful festival for the city. Expect to see hot and sizzling international street food vendors and plenty of drink choice, tasty treats to take home and artisan market traders.  

For more information, please visit the LSD Promotions website.

Shakespeare’s Birthday Parade – Oxford Preservation Trust

Date: 21 April 2023, 11am to 12.30pm

Venue: Oxford Town Hall to Cornmarket

The Lord Mayor of Oxford will lead the way from Oxford Town Hall as the annual procession, which first took place in 1938, winds its way to the Painted Room on Cornmarket Street. 

OPT look after the Painted Room and its amazing Elizabethan wall paintings, all that remains of the 13th century Crown Tavern at 3 Cornmarket where Shakespeare stayed on his annual trip from London to Stratford-Upon-Avon.

For more information, please visit the Oxford Preservation Trust website.

Save the date - May Morning

Date: 1 May 2023, from 6am

Venue: Magdalen College choir and various city centre locations

About 12,500 people turned out to see last year’s May Morning, which was held in person, for the first time since 2019.

The celebrations, which are more than 500 years old, start at 6am with Magdalen College choir singing Hymnus Eucharisticus from the college’s Great Tower.

Traditional events and activities, including Morris Dancing and folk singing, take place across the city as the bell of the Great Tower rings out.

To watch a film from last year’s event, please visit our May Morning page.

Diana Fawcett, City Centre Manager at Oxford City Council, said: “We’re hoping to tempt people out of their cosy hibernation and gear up for spring with a range of free and low-cost activities in the city centre. Meeting up with friends and family is a great way to blow away the cobwebs and shake off any winter blues.

“Just a coffee and a spot of window shopping is a nice way to pass time in the company of other people and it doesn’t have to break the bank.”