Things to do in Oxford this Christmas
Oxford is esteemed for its academic excellence, rich history, and urban beauty. With winding cobbled streets and intricate architecture, the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ is a remarkable place to visit any time of year, but its magical ambience truly comes alive in the festive period.
As the nights draw in and we cross our fingers for a white Christmas, there are many fun festive activities across Oxford to get everyone in the Christmas spirit. Whether exploring the city alone or with family this holiday season, our guide to Christmas in Oxford will help you experience all the magic the city has to offer!
Discover Oxford this Festive Season
City Sightseeing Oxford Bus Tour
With historic landmarks, towering spires, and festive events sprawled across the city, there is no better way to experience Oxford this festive season than with the City Sightseeing Oxford Hop-on Hop-off bus tour.
This award-winning open-top tour follows a route of 20 stops around the city centre so you can hop on and off as you please to get the most out of your city break. With stops at a range of landmarks, museums, and university colleges, you are never too far from seasonal activities to get you in the Christmas spirit! Get on the top deck and experience the magic of Oxford this Christmas.
All bus tour tickets include a ‘Stepping Through Oxford Waking Tour’ with additional ticket options available. Why not experience the festive magic with the ‘Bus Tour + Panorama’ package? Climb Carfax Tower’s 99 steps to get a panoramic view of Oxford’s iconic skyline in all its festive glory!
For more information and to book tickets, see www.citysightseeingoxford.com/visit-oxford-bus-tours.
City Sightseeing Oxford Walking Tours
Discovering Oxford by walking its winding cobbled streets is a must at any time of year, but the festive season is when the city really comes alive; Christmas lights illuminate the city’s characteristic warm yellow buildings and add a unique festive charm that is sure to spark your excitement for the Christmas season.
Alongside the open-top bus tour, City Sightseeing Oxford offer a variety of walking tours provided by highly trained, knowledgeable, and experienced guides so you can truly immerse yourself during your Oxford experience. Why not learn about the fascinating history of the city of dreaming spires on the Town & Gown Walking Tour, or raise a Christmas pint as you explore the city’s oldest pubs on the Pubs & Taverns Tour? With a range of tours of different lengths and difficulties, there is something for everyone to enjoy!
For more information and to book tickets, see www.citysightseeingoxford.com/oxford-walking-tours.
Festive Family Fun
Believe: The Secret of Santa’s Little Reindeer
We all know Santa’s reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph… and Norbert?! Uncover the secret of Santa’s little reindeer! From 1st December to 24th December at the Westgate Shopping Centre, little helpers can make reindeer food and meet Santa before he sets off on his magical global gift-giving mission. This is the perfect event to spread the Christmas magic and get the whole family in the festive spirit!
For more information and to book tickets, see www.westgateoxford.co.uk/believe-2022.
Christmas Family Trails
Christmas is a time for celebrating family, so why not gather the cousins and grandparents for a festive family trail at one of Oxford’s many museums or gardens?
Possibly the most well-known museum in the city of Oxford, the Museum of Natural History houses over seven million historical and modern specimens, and hosts many exciting events that provide an incredible insight into the deep past of our fantastic planet. From 21st December to 2nd January, families are invited to meander through the aisles on a family trail with a festive twist! For more information, see www.oumnh.ox.ac.uk/event/christmas-family-trail-1.
If you are most excited for the delicious food available throughout the festive season, Oxford Botanic Gardens is running a Christmas Pudding Trail! Can you successfully explore this green oasis to find all the plants that are traditionally used in our delicious Christmas cooking? For more information and to book tickets, see www.obga.ox.ac.uk/families-botanic-garden.
Oxford Playhouse: Cinderella Pantomime
It isn’t Christmas without a family trip to the pantomime! From 16th December to 8th January, the Cinderella pantomime is taking to the stage at the Oxford Playhouse – oh yes, it is – with all the glitter, bubbles, and sweets you could ever wish for. Written by Anna Nicholson and Bobby Goulder, and directed by Toby Hulse, Cinderella is guaranteed to get the whole family laughing and in the festive spirit in time for Christmas.
For more information and to book tickets, see www.oxfordplayhouse.com/events/cinderella-panto.
Oxford Christmas Market
Christmas markets are the perfect place to get into the Christmas spirit and find hand-picked gifts for your loved ones! From 1st December to 18th December, the heart of Oxford will once again be filled with festive charm as the Christmas market returns to Broad Street. Explore the market in the centre of the city of dreaming spires and enjoy the magic as local choirs sing Christmas carols and the strong festive scent of cinnamon and mulled wine fill the crisp air. With traditional wooden stalls offering a variety of unique items from handmade jewellery to fresh pasta, there really is something for everyone!
For more information, see www.oxfordchristmasmarket.co.uk.
Oxford Covered Market
Although it is open all year round, the Oxford Covered Market is a must-see during the festive period. With over fifty specialist independent traders offering everything and anything from food and drink to flowers and toiletries, it is the perfect opportunity to get warm and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of a historic market, whilst finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones.
For more information, see www.oxford-coveredmarket.co.uk/our-story.
Getting to Oxford
Oxford is well connected by road and rail to major cities including London. If visiting by car, we suggest you use one of the four Park&Ride car parks so you can easily and quickly get into the city centre. Alternatively, Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel operate high frequency services throughout Oxford and to Abingdon, Wheatley, Walingford, Wantage, and Reading. If travelling from London, the Oxford Tube provides connections with central London, whilst the Oxford airline coach service runs daily from Heathrow and Gatwick airports, as well as High Wycombe.
Plan your journey: www.citysightseeingoxford.com/getting-to-oxford.