10 Best Days Out at Christmas in Oxfordshire

Christmas in Oxfordshire is a wonderful reason for a day out. From the decorations at Blenheim Palace to Bicester Village, there are plenty of activities to get you feeling festive.

Yes, it’s home to the UK’s oldest university, and Oxfordshire is a county brimming with festive fun as well as bookish academia! 

Our rundown of the very best Christmas things to do in Oxfordshire will keep you busy and entertained all holiday season.

Days Out for Christmas in Oxfordshire

All times, dates and confirmations for these Oxfordshire Christmas events are correct at date of publishing (December 2021).
Please double check and pre book before you leave the house!

1. See The Light at Blenheim Palace

CONFIRMED FOR 2021: 19th November to 3rd January 2022

As the sun fades, visitors to Blenheim Palace excitedly await the magical after-dark illuminated Christmas lights trail.

The trail, which takes up to 1 hour 30 minutes to explore, is a highlight in Blenheim Palace’s mesmerising festive programme. 

During your visit to the UK’s largest (and most magnificent) non-royal palace, spend some time in the street food market, or interacting with the classic Nutcracker story as you explore the incredible residence.

Whether it’s Christmas or not, Blenheim Palace is one of the best days out in Oxfordshire.

2. Browse the Oxford Christmas Market

CONFIRMED FOR 2021: 19th November 2021 to 3rd January 2022.

From the 9th to the 19th December, the centre of Oxford transforms into a joyous festive market for a wonderful Christmas in Oxfordshire.

Oxfordshire Christmas Market

This year the Oxford Christmas Market returns to Broad Street in the heart of the city, with traditional crafts, enchanting carolling, and the alluring waft of mulled wine and cinnamon tantalising your every sense. It’s not Christmas in Oxfordshire until you’ve been to the festive market.

Throughout the market season, local bands and choirs will be performing, including the Oxford Gospel Choir, Kidlington Concert Brass, and The Black Flamingos. The full line up is advertised on the Oxford Christmas Market’s website.

If you’re looking for a hand-crafted festive gift for someone special, this is this Oxfordshire market for you.

3. Experience Christmas at the Castle & Prison

CONFIRMED FOR 2021: 27th November 2021 to 19th December 2021

Take the kids to meet Santa somewhere they never thought he’d go… the historic Castle and Prison in the centre of Oxford.

Christmas in Oxfordshire

Yes, the prison was sure to house a few bad’uns on the naughty list back in the day, but now it’s one of Santa’s favourite spots in Oxfordshire for Christmas.

This Oxfordshire Christmas experience is split into the South Pole – with Castle Elves and a Winter Wonderland – and the North Pole, where Santa awaits with toys, music and photo opportunities.

Unlike other grotto experiences, children aren’t rushed at the Castle & Prison, so they will absolutely love spending extra time with Santa. Not only will they get to sing with Santa, he’ll even read them at Christmas story. A truly memorable day out for Christmas in Oxfordshire, and a visit to one of the best castles in England.

Santa’s Grotto at the Castle & Prison is open every weekend from 27th November 2021 to 19th December 2021. Additional days in Christmas week are 21st to 23rd December.

4. Party like its 1985 with Martin Kemp in Reading

CONFIRMED FOR 2021: Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd December 2021.

If it’s been a while since you let your hair down and partied the night away, Martin Kemp’s hotly anticipated new DJ Show is the party night for you!

Oxfordshire at Christmas

The Spandau Ballet frontman will be DJing his brand new 1980s Christmas party night at Sub 89 on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd December 2021.

The 18+ party night is sure to be the scene of more than a few outrageous 1980s outfits, hairstyles and dance moves. But the quality of the music is undeniable.

Martin Kemp’s back to the 80s Christmas party is the one to be at this season!

5. Explore the Christmas Charity Trail at Rectory Farm

CONFIRMED FOR 2021: 26th November to 24th December 2021.

For the little ones, Stanton St John’s Rectory Farm has created a charming outdoor Christmas Trail.

Oxfordshire Christmas

Kids can pick up a map from the shop, and use it to discover all of the hidden secrets around the farm. If they complete their map and return it to the shop, they’ll win a chocolate prize too!

The event is organised to raise money for Helen & Douglas House, a local charity.

Bring your wellies – it is a farm, after all – and make sure to explore the fabulous farm shop whilst you’re there too. In addition to the host of festive goodies, you’ll be impressed by the local produce you can pick up at this popular Oxfordshire farm.

Rectory Farm’s Christmas season runs from 26th November to 24th December 2021. The farm is closed on Mondays.

6. Be Serenaded by G4 in Oxford

CONFIRMED FOR 2021: 26th November to 24th December 2021.

The UK’s classiest boy band is back with a new festive tour. G4 – the operatic, harmonising heartthrobs – are performing their biggest Christmas show ever at the Oxford Town Hall on 23rd December 2021.

Town Hall in Oxford

Amidst the song list, G4 will blow you away with their rendition of Christmas classics, including When A Child Is Born, as well as more modern hits, such as All I Want For Christmas.

If you’re quick, you may even be able to nab one of the last remaining VIP Meet & Greet tickets for your chance to schmooze with Jonathan, Lewis, Mike and Duncan before the show. Christmas in Oxfordshire would be really special with a gig from these guys!

7. Have Your Own Polar Express Moment in Didcot

CONFIRMED FOR 2021: any December weekend up to the 19th and Tuesday 21st to Thursday 23rd December.

There’s something about steam trains and Christmas, and Didcot Railway Centre is giving you the chance to experience it first-hand this year.

Days out christmas in Oxfordshire

Bundle into your private compartment onboard a gorgeous, historic steamer, and soak up the sights, smells and sounds of old-school steam train travel on your journey to meet Father Christmas.

Every child gets a fun present from Santa when the train arrives, and there’s so much to explore at this 21-acre living museum.

This special experience for Christmas in Oxfordshire is equally exciting for kids and adults alike, as you revisit an era that created the Christmas that we love and recognise today.

Steam Into Christmas at Didcot Railway Centre any weekend in December up to the 19th. Additional Christmas week excursions are scheduled for Tuesday 21st to Thursday 23rd December.

8. Meet the Animals (and Santa) at Summer Barn

CONFIRMED FOR 2021: 18th December to 23rd December 2021.

It might be called Summer Barn, but there’s plenty of winter sparkle being laid on at this family favourite in South Oxfordshire.

Christmas days out oxfordshire

Santa’s Grotto and Fun on the Farm is a one-hour experience, which includes time sneaking around Santa’s grotto whilst he’s popped out, hilarious Christmas games with a group of up to 30 children, and plenty for the adults to enjoy whilst the kids are having fun too.

Kids absolutely cherish the chance to feed the donkeys in the Christmas Fairylight Stable, so remember to bring a couple of carrots for Freddie & Ronnie!

Santa won’t be at the Summer Barn, but worry not, the team have come up with such a fun event that your kids won’t even notice he’s not there.

The Christmas Family Event on the farm runs from 18th December to 23rd December 2021.

9. Christmas Shop ‘n Drop at Bicester Village

CONFIRMED FOR 2021: Saturday 11th and 18th December 2021.

The team at Clip ‘n Climb in Bicester have devised a clever way to buy you some time away from the kids in the run up to the big day!

Whether you need time for some last-minute shopping, or it’s time for your massive annual wrapathon, this is the day you and your kids have dreamed of.

The kids will enjoy festive arts & crafts activities, and group games, before enjoying 55 minutes of climbing in the purpose-built climbing area in the centre of Bicester. Having scaled the heights of the climbing walls, kids settle down for a pizza lunch and Christmas movie.

Oxfordshire at Christmas

Bicester is moments away from the incredible Bicester Village outlet centre, so you will have the best shopping experience whilst your kids are having a blast on the climbing walls with their friends. If you’re into shopping, this is one of the best days out for Christmas in Oxfordshire there is.

Book into a session on Saturday 11th and 18th December 2021. Sessions run from 9am to 1pm and cost £20 per child.

10. Wonder at Christmas at Waddesdon Manor

CONFIRMED FOR 2021: 13th November 2021 to 3 January 2022.

In the grounds of this Rothschild country mansion, lose yourself to the warmth and magic of a traditional Victorian Christmas… and then hurtle into the 21st Century with the most spectacular light show, Winter Light.

If you thought Disney did exciting light shows, you need to get yourself tickets to Waddesdon Manor this Christmas! The opulent manor has never looked better, and the entire grounds (and even sky) become the canvas for this immersive light show, produced in partnership with Luminism.

This year, there’s also a special exhibition of light art by Leo Villareal, the celebrated artist who famously lit all nine of the central London bridges across the Thames.

Christmas at Waddesdon runs from 13th November 2021 to 3 January 2022.

Christmas in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire Christmas

So much to do this Christmas in Oxfordshire!

Have fun exploring the county in the festive season. Whether you want a Christmassy Oxfordshire day out with the kids, or just with the adults, as you can see there’s plenty to festive fun to choose from. Oxford at Christmas is always fun if you just want to get the train in and out again!

Do let us know if you know of any more fun ways to spend Christmas in Oxfordshire in the comments below…

More great Christmas days out in England

Living in England we really are spoilt when it comes to where to celebrate Christmas.

Christmas in Oxfordshire quick list

  • 1. See The Light at Blenheim Palace
  • 2. Browse the Oxford Christmas Market
  • 3. Experience Christmas at the Castle & Prison
  • 4. Party like its 1985 with Martin Kemp in Reading
  • 5. Explore the Christmas Charity Trail at Rectory Farm
  • 6. Be Serenaded by G4 in Oxford
  • 7. Have Your Own Polar Express Moment in Didcot
  • 8. Meet the Animals (and Santa) at Summer Barn
  • 9. Christmas Shop ‘n Drop at Bicester Village
  • 10. Wonder at Christmas at Waddesdon Manor

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