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Seven Things To Do In Oxford At Christmas

Oxford is most well-known for its universities, cobbled streets, and towering spires, which are steeped in history and waiting to be discovered. It’s a beautiful city to visit no matter the time of year, however, the winter months certainly add to its magical atmosphere. It’s during these winter months that the city really comes alive. Whether you’re a local or a visitor there are plenty of things to do in Oxford at Christmas. 

Our guide will give you the top seven things to do in Oxford at Christmas so that you can make the most of the festive atmosphere and enjoy everything that Oxford has to offer. Whether you’re travelling alone or with your family, these activities are family-friendly, fun, and guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit. And if you’re planning a trip to the city to enjoy the festive cheer, make sure to explore our selection of self-catering accommodation in Oxford.

1. Pantomime

Nothing screams Christmas more than a family-friendly trip to the pantomime. The Oxford Playhouse plays host to the Christmas Pantomime each year so expect to bring your voice as you chant along with the crowd, laugh out loud, and connect to the larger-than-life characters that every good pantomime has. 

Check out the Oxford Playhouse website to find out which one they’re showing this year.

2. Christmas Markets

Christmas Ornaments

Nothing gets us in the spirit more than a Christmas Market. There are loads around Oxford and The Cotswolds that are bursting with festive foods, artisan goods, homemade crafts, and unique gifts you won’t find anywhere else. So why not head down to a Christmas Market this year? You might just find the perfect gift for a loved one.

Our favourite Christmas Markets include:

3. Waddesdon Manor

Although not strictly in Oxford, the historic Waddesdon Manor plays host to a spectacular Christmas event. Similar to Blenheim Palace, you’ll be treated to playful light installations throughout the gardens, epic illuminations and displays of the Manor facade sequenced to music, festive displays and decorations through the inside of the manor, and Christmas fairs. 

Fancy something a little different? Why not treat yourself and some loved ones to a festive afternoon tea,  visit the food village for some festive treats, or find an unusual or unique gift with Christmas shopping at the manor? It’s a Christmas wonderland worth visiting whether you’re a local or a visitor. 

For more information check out the Christmas at Waddesdon Manor page on their website.

4. Christmas at Blenheim Palace

Christmas Lights at Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is firmly positioned as one of the major highlights of the UK Christmas calendar and once you visit, it’s not hard to see why. There is so much on offer from after-dark illuminated trails to exploring the palace rooms in all their festive decorations. Everything has been meticulously planned to give you and your family the best experience possible and to help you start feeling festive. 

Be wowed by millions of lights and festive sounds as you wander through the palace gardens, discover glittering tunnels, dancing lakeside reflections, and trees drenched in coloured jewels, and enjoy a moment of reflection as look into the mesmerising flames in the fire garden. Don’t forget to look out for Father Christmas along the way and warm yourself up with a choice of tantalising street food, mulled wine, and hot chocolate. 

Continue your day out at Blenheim Palace with a tour of the palace rooms. Each one has been exquisitely transformed and filled with hidden surprises. It’ll feel like a fairy-tale world where a happily-ever-after is just around the corner. 

Take a look at our events page for information on Christmas at Blenheim Palace.

5. Christmas Concerts

Christ Church, Oxford

‘Hark the Herald Angel’s Sing!’ is just one out of a whole selection of popular Christmas carols you’ll hear around almost every street corner. In Oxford, however, there are plenty of Christmas Concerts for you to enjoy with your loved ones. Whether you’re looking for a gospel choir or an orchestra, there is plenty to choose from across Oxfordshire.

Check out the Oxford Magazine Christmas Carol and Concerts page for more info.

6. Festive Dining

Although there are plenty of Christmas markets in Oxford that all have an array of festive treats and delicacies, you’d be wrong to think that that is everything on offer. The city has its own established eateries that offer an array of seasonal and festive delights. From cafes that offer festive afternoon tea to pubs that serve a proper Christmas dinner, it’s not hard to find something.

7. Festive Walks

There are plenty of free and paid events in and around Oxford to help get you in the festive spirit. You’ll also find plenty of wintery charm around the city, from Christmas lights around every street corner to festive markets and street food vendors. Oxford is synonymous with this architecture and historical buildings which are always worth seeing as you walk down the street, however, there are also plenty of green spaces to explore too. 

Take a walk through 117 hectares of woodlands at Shotover Country Park, soak up stunning views over Oxford with a stroll up Boars Hill, and enjoy a crisp frosty morning with a leisurely amble through Port Meadow. Nothing beats a wintery walk, especially around Christmas.

 
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