25 Days of Christmas in Oxfordshire 2018
‘Tis the season for that time of year when festive fun brings all the cheer.
Oxfordshire will be bustling with all things Christmas during December 2018. From Christmas markets and grottos, carols to light festivals, there is much to enjoy with the whole family and to have a magical day out (rain, shine or snow!). With so much going on, we have selected the top activities, foodie fun, events and even offers for each day leading up to Christmas for you!
And don’t forget to see what lies behind the numbered boxes….
If you are exploring our beautiful county this Christmas, please share your experiences with us on social media using #ExperienceOx
Start your Christmas by entering the calm and enchanting world of the Oxford Botanic Garden Christmas Fair. Away from the bustle of the High Street choose those special Christmas gifts as you stroll through a warm and festive marquee laden with handcrafted products. Saunter around the magically lit Garden and enjoy artisan foods, velvety cups of hot chocolate whilst enjoying merry music. Pause in the citrus-scented Conservatory to sample the spirits of the season from TOAD Toddies, and Oxford Physic Gin to botanically-inspired mulled wine and fruity mince pies. Tickets can be purchased at the entrance.
Spend a day out at Didcot Railway Centre with Thomas and meet Father Christmas in his grotto. A wide range of souvenirs is available in the ‘Thomas’ shop. There is a Refreshment Room serving lunches, snacks and drinks also a picnic area where you can sit and watch the trains go by.
Pho-Ho-Ho! At Pho Oxford, they have set menus at the ready with steaming bowls of phở, fragrant curries, wok-fried noodles and more. Starters range from crispy spring rolls and spicy chicken wings to freshly rolled summer rolls, with a decadent fried banana fritter for dessert. Pho is the perfect place if you’re looking for a healthy Christmas menu.
The annnual flag ship exhibition for The Oxfordshire Craft Guild runs until 30th December at The Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock. 31 makers will be exhibiting, covering all areas of craft from wood turning, glass, textiles, jewellery, ceramics, felting and much more.
A major new premiere at The Old Fire Station, Snowflake is an epic story about generational conflict, fathers and daughters, and whether we’re living in the best or worst of times – full of the warmth, wit and heartbreak of Christmas. Created just for Oxford by one of the UK’s leading writers and starring Elliot Levey, Racheal Ofori and Ellen Robertson.
See Stonor House decorated for Christmas by the Stonor Family. The Christmas Tree, by the fire in the Gothic Hall, will be adorned with stars and angels. Swathes of holly, yew, larch and ivy from the estate will grace paintings, galleries and mantlepieces and the Dining Room will be laid for Christmas dinner. Delicious seasonal fare will be served in the Stonor Pantry and the gift shop will be overflowing with goodies for all the family.
The Bodleian Library & Oxford Fine Dining Christmas dinner – dine in the present surrounded by the past. Enjoy a unique festive dining experience in the medieval Divinity School, Oxford’s most stunning venue. Champagne and canape reception, followed by a three course dinner and coffee and mince pies.
Come along to the annual Cogges Christmas Market. The Christmas market in the Wheat barn and Barley Barn will have over 60 stalls from local businesses, crafters and makers offering hand-made gifts, rural crafts, festive decor, and local produce, cakes, pies, speciality local beers and ciders, gift bags and hampers. Cogges volunteers will prepare a feast of wonderful treats for the day, with home-made mince pies and mince meat to take home. Warm up with a spicy mulled wine in the kitchen, soak up the Christmas spirit of Cogges.
It’s back! The 12th Santas on the Run event is coming to town on Sunday 9th December 2018. Santas on the Run is a festive fun run for all – walk, jog or run your way through the dreaming spires of Oxford with 2,500 other Santas. This 3.5k route starts and finishes in Broad Street taking you through University Parks in the middle, it’s a fantastic way to kick-start Christmas!
What could be a more delightful treat than a festive afternoon tea at Eynsham Hall? Treat yourself, family or friends to homemade cakes, scones and finger sandwiches served up with your favourite loose-leaf tea or freshly filtered coffee. Every day throughout December apart from Sunday 9th & Sunday 16th December.
The city of dreaming spires will again be filled with festive joy as the Oxford Christmas Market returns to the heart of the city on beautiful and historic Broad Street. With the sound of choirs singing Christmas carols, market traders offering unusual and handmade gifts, colourful decorations brightening wooden stalls and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifting in the air – a visit to the Oxford Christmas Market is a truly magical Christmas experience.
Share the spirit of Christmas by singing carols under the Christmas Tree in the Wallingford Market Place on Wednesday 12th December. The Cholsey Silver Band will be playing carols for the whole family to enjoy as well as tasty festive treats and Father Christmas is coming too!
Experience the magic of Christmas with a festive Bicester Village, stylishly dressed reindeer and hot chocolate from Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini. Discover elegant gifts from 160 beautiful boutiques, all offering up to 60% off the recommended retail price. Plus, feast on cinnamon buns and matcha affogato, and enjoy luxury hospitality services such as Village hosts, hands-free shopping, instant tax refunds, valet parking and personal shoppers.
Music at Oxford’s annual celebration of carols in in the beautiful surroundings of the Christ Church Cathedral brings together a popular mix of festive cheer and seasonal nostalgia. The Cathedral Choir will sing a range of music centred on the Christmas message, under their new director Steven Grahl, with spirited readings and audience carols to share. Early booking is essential.
For the 2018 festive season, Sarah Wiseman Gallery has focussed their annual Christmas exhibition on smaller scale art-works. The British based artists include award-winning children’s illustrator Catherine Rayner, and the highly sought-after painter Sarah Spackman and acclaimed printmakers Angie Lewin and Flora McLachlan. The exhibition will also include sculpture, ceramics, jewellery and other craft, making it an ideal stop for Christmas shopping.
Fascinated by the life and works of his great great grandfather, Charles, actor Gerald Dickens created his first one-man show; a theatrical performance of A Christmas Carol. Anticipate a fresh and modern perspective of light-hearted scenes from the great author’s works, plus diary extracts and observations from those who knew and worked with Charles Dickens himself. Plus, join Gerald at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons for an immersive dining experience. Includes Champagne Laurent-Perrier reception with canapés, four-course lunch with accompanying wines, coffee and petits fours.
Christmas Shop & Stay Package from Bicester Hotel, Golf and Spa. Go and do your Christmas shopping at Bicester Village and then enjoy the evening with a relaxing swim in the pool followed by a delicious meal in our Grays restaurant. The Shop & Stay offer includes Dinner, Bed & Breakfast, use of the stunning leisure facilities and an additional savings voucher for Bicester Village.
Macdonald Randolph Hotel is your ideal Christmas Destination. In the heart of the city of Oxford, Macdonald Randolph is a very special venue in which to enjoy the spirit of Christmas. What coud be more special than gethering your nearest and dearest for a fantastical festive lunch feast – let the festivities commence starting at £17.50 per child.
In conjunction with Creation Theatre’s production of Peter Pan, Zuleika Gallery and Blackwell’s Rare Books present Once Upon A Time…, a glorious exhibition at The North Wall. The exhibition will also feature posters, limited editions prints and paintings – all of which will be for sale. With prices starting at £30 the exhibition will be the perfect opportunity to provide some Christmas magic for all princes and princesses.
The internationally acclaimed stage sensation, Jersey Boys is here to rock New Theatre Oxford! This smash hit musical has won 57 major awards worldwide, including the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. Jersey Boys tells the true life story of four boys from the wrong side of the tracks who wrote their own songs, invented their own unique sound, and sold 100 million records worldwide.
At Fairytale Farm’s magical ‘Christmas Fairytale’ event, children can meet Santa in his indoor fairytale grotto and receive a present, join in with various Christmas activities, enjoy all the usual Fairytale Farm attractions and see our enchanting Christmas lights, which are bigger and better for 2018. Christmas activities include Christmas cookie decorating, a festive-themed hunt and mulled wine and mince pies for the parents. The animal areas and adventure playground will be open until dusk, after which we switch on our Christmas lights, creating a wonderland of colour.
Christmas at Blenheim Palace is bigger than ever, with a range of experiences from early in the day to late in the evening. The Blenheim Palace winter trail will be brighter than ever before with lasers, projections, and thousands of pea-lights. From the delicate and twinkling to the grand and spectacular, the Formal Gardens will light up once again for a festive journey of exploration and wonder. Wander beneath unique tree canopies drenched in seasonal colour, shards of light, frosty snowflakes, stars and glistening baubles, and catch a glimpse of Santa and his elves along the way. Highlights include a new Field of Light, scented Fire Garden, Canopy of Light, and the mesmerising voices of the Singing Trees.
The Big Batsford Elf Hunt! Santas helpers have gone missing and they are all hiding in the Arboretum; find them to win a prize! The Elf Hunt costs £2.50 per child, plus Arboretum admission fee (children must be accompanied by an adult). The Elf Hunt is most suitable for children aged 8 and under, however children of all ages are welcome to take part! No need to book, just turn up and enjoy!
Enjoy Christmas Day lunch in Gee’s, Oxford’s most beautiful and best loved neighbourhood restaurant. Open for lunch from 12 noon until 4pm. £85.00 for 3 courses, including a selection of small bites on arrival. No pre-orders are required regardless of party size.