12 Best Days Out at Christmas in Oxfordshire for 2023

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.

Christmas in Oxfordshire

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 as of our latest update (November 2023).
Please double check and pre-book before you leave the house!

1. See The Light at Blenheim Palace

CONFIRMED FOR 2023: 17th November 2023 – 1st January 2024

As the sun fades, visitors to Blenheim Palace excitedly await the magical after-dark illuminated Christmas lights trail. Here’s the trailer for last year’s stunning event:

For 2023, you can explore Blenheim Palace as it is transformed into a retelling of the classic fairy story Sleeping Beauty. Every room you visit will tell a new chapter of the story, all adorned with plenty of festive decoration, and a huge Christmas Tree in The Great Hall that you won’t be able to resist a photo of.

Each year the gorgeous gardens surrounding the palace are also lit up with over a million lights – really something to behold! If you’re hungry or thirsty, street food vendors will offer warming drinks and festive food.

Read our editor Vicky’s review of Christmas at Blenheim Palace here.

This really is one of the best places to experience Christmas in England, but whether it’s Christmas or not, Blenheim Palace is one of the best days out in Oxfordshire, and the best days out in November too.

Blenheim Palace makes for one of the best days out from Oxford year round.

2. Browse the Oxford Christmas Market

CONFIRMED FOR 2023: 30th November – 23rd December 2023

From the 30th of November to the 23rd December (longer than in previous years!), the centre of Oxford will once again transform 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.

In previous years throughout the market season local bands and choirs have performed, including the Oxford Gospel Choir, Kidlington Concert Brass, and the Rock Choir, so it’s possible they will make an appearance.

If you’re looking for a hand-crafted festive gift for someone special, this is this Oxfordshire market for you. Oxford is one the best days out year round, but Christmas in Oxford is just that little bit more special.

3. Experience Christmas at the Castle & Prison

CONFIRMED FOR 2023: 25th November to 23rd December 2023

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

Christmas at Oxford Castle and Prison

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.

In this Oxfordshire Christmas experience, you’ll be greeted by one of the Castle elves before being taken into the base of St. Georges Tower, and then into the 900 year old Norman crypt where another of Santa’s elves will explain how to make wildlife friendly reindeer food – a great activity for kids and adults, and something you can take home afterwards. Then, you’ll wander through the old Victorian Prison, make your own Christmas bauble, and (for the grown-ups) sample some mead.

Unlike other grotto experiences, children aren’t rushed at the Castle & Prison, so they will absolutely love spending extra time with Santa. This visit to one of the best castles in England is a truly memorable day out for Christmas in Oxfordshire.

Santa’s Grotto at the Castle & Prison is open on selected dates from 25th November to 23rd December 2023.

4. Have a 1960s Christmas at Chastleton

CONFIRMED FOR 2023: 29th November – 17th December 2023

Want to experience the festive seasons of old? Step back in time this Christmas for ‘A 1960 Country Christmas’ at this stunning National Trust site.

Join the Clutton-Brocks for Christmas at the historic Chastleton House for a traditional Christmas dinner around the table, cocktail parties in the great hall, and of course no 1960s Christmas would be complete without the Queen’s speech.

Chastleton House
By DeFacto – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

This experience is reminiscent of the parties hosted by house custodians Barbara and Alan Clutton-Brocks, so you can soak up the nostalgia. The house opens from 11am – 3pm from 29th November to 17th December, and last entry is at 2.15pm

5. Make a festive wreath at the Rectory Farm Christmas Fayre

CONFIRMED FOR 2023: 1st – 2nd December 2023

If putting up the Christmas decorations is your favourite thing about the festive season, you’ll love the workshops Rectory Farm is putting on this year. They have teamed up with Humble Country (known for their boutique shopping fayres) to bring a fun Christmas Fayre to Rectory Farm.

Wreath making at Rectory Farm, Oxfordshire
Image Source: rectoryfarmpyo.co.uk

You can enjoy a mulled wine or a frothy coffee to keep your hands warm, while you wander around more than 40 pop-up shops with plenty of Christmas gifts, from cashmere goodies and stunning scented candles to unique home accessories and gorgeous jewellery.

If you’re keen to join in on the workshops this year, they’re giving you the chance to get creative by making your own Christmas door wreath. Tickets are £3 per person if buy on the day, or free if you book in advance.

While at Rectory Farm don’t forget to pick out your Christmas tree for this year, and place an order for a free range D’Oyley’s Farm Norfolk Bronze turkey if you fancy.

6. Be Serenaded by G4 in Oxford

CONFIRMED FOR 2023: 23rd December 2023

Back by popular demand, the UK’s classiest boy band is bringing a new festive tour to Oxford. G4 – the operatic, harmonising heartthrobs – are performing their biggest Christmas show ever at the Oxford Town Hall on 23rd December 2023.

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!

You can book regular or VIP tickets here.

7. Have Your Own Polar Express Moment in Didcot

CONFIRMED FOR 2023: Any December weekend from the 2nd to the 17th, plus Thursday 21st, Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd December 2023

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

Train days out for Christmas in Oxfordshire

Strap in, because apparently Santa’s reindeer have all escaped and are lost! So he needs the kids to help deliver presents on Christmas Eve. You can explore the unique collection of Great Western Railway steam locomotives, carriages, wagons, buildings and small artefacts while you try to find the reindeer stations in this 21-acre museum set around the original 1932 engine shed.

Every passenger receives a special passport and stocking as you go in, and at each reindeer station you find, you’ll receive a small gift. Before you go, you’ll visit Santa in the giant toy workshop. Plus, your ticket gets you unlimited train rides on the main demo line.

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

Steam Into Christmas at Didcot Railway Centre any weekend in December up to the 17th. Additional Christmas week excursions are scheduled for Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd December.

8. Take a candlelit tour of Greys Court

CONFIRMED FOR 2023: 25th November 2023 – 5th January 2024

This year’s theme at Greys Court is ‘A Christmas Memory’, and you can experience the charming nostalgia of the festive season. Greys Court is a stunning National Trust site and always a lovely day out, but it’s especially warm and welcoming at Christmas. See the decorated trees and marvel at the twinkling fairy lights to feel extra festive.

Greys Court, Oxfordshire
By Prosthetic Head, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0

The house opens at 10am over the Christmas period and shuts at 4pm, and there will be helpful guides on hand to help by sharing stories from the historic grounds.

During your visit you can get cosy with a hot soup or a mince pie in the tearoom, or take a look at the Christmas decorations and treats for sale in the shop.

You can find out more on the National Trust ‘A Christmas Memory’ site.

9. Go back in time at the Banbury Victorian Christmas Market

CONFIRMED FOR 2023: 24th November – 26th November 2023

This year the Banbury Victorian Christmas Market is back with around 120 stalls, all in Victorian dress, with street performers and live entertainment. In previous years this market has been free to attend, and it looks like this year is too, so it’s a great addition to your Christmas calendar with family or on a solo shopping trip.

Banbury Victorian Christmas Market
Image Source: Banbury Guardian, banburyguardian.co.uk

Whether you’re there to shop for Christmas gifts, soak up the Victorian history or enjoy the festive atmosphere, you can follow up the market with some food and drink in the local eateries – a great Christmas day out. The market will be open from:

  • 12pm – 8pm on Friday 24th
  • 10am – 8pm on Saturday 25th
  • 10am – 6pm on Sunday 26th

Don’t miss this unique chance to step back in time this Christmas!

10. Meet the Animals at Cogges Farm Christmas Market

CONFIRMED FOR 2023: 25th November to 26th November 2023

Cogges Farm brings plenty of winter sparkle to any family day out, and this is a favourite in Oxfordshire.

Cogges Farm animals, Oxfordshire
Image Credit: Cogges Facebook Page

This year the Cogges Christmas Market will take place from 25th – 26th November, where you can enjoy Christmas shopping in the barns with a mix of local traders offering artisan arts and crafts, unique gifts and homewares, accessories and yummy treats like mulled wine and mince pies.

You can also grab yourself a Christmas tree while you’re there, and take part in whatever’s going on at the Cogges Craft Stall. The market is FREE to Cogges Season Ticket holders, or £3 for adults and £1 for children.

11. Get Christmassy while climbing near Bicester Village

CONFIRMED FOR 2023: 2nd December and 19th December 2023

The team at Clip ‘n Climb in Bicester have your Christmas sorted with events for all the family this year.

Oxfordshire at Christmas

There’s the Family Christmas Special on the 2nd December, where children aged 2-8 can create their own festive furry friend to take with them on a climbing adventure.

Then there’s the Christmas Party on the 19th December for kids aged 4-11, where they can take part in games, crafts, climbing and more. It’ll be hard to peel them away from all the fun!

Bicester is moments away from the incredible Bicester Village outlet centre, so if you’re in the area with the kids and want to swing by for the best shopping experience ever, it’s all right here for you. If you’re into shopping, this is one of the best days out for Christmas in Oxfordshire there is, as it’s one of the best places for outlet shopping in England.

Book one of the climbing sessions on the 2nd or 19th December. Sessions are £20 per child.

12. Wonder at Christmas at Waddesdon Manor

CONFIRMED FOR 2023: 22nd November 2023 to 1st January 2024

In the grounds of this Rothschild country mansion, lose yourself to the warmth and magic of a traditional Christmas, followed by the most spectacular light show.

You’ll go on an adventure as you enter the world of Alice in Wonderland, discover the kingdom of the Snow Queen, and fly away to Neverland with Peter Pan. If you thought Disney did exciting light shows, you need to get yourself tickets to Waddesdon Manor this Christmas!

The opulent manor will be decorated from head to toe, and it’s never looked better. The entire grounds become the canvas for this immersive light show, produced in partnership with Luminism. You’ll follow a route through the East Wing with a festive display of sparkling trees and beautiful light installations inspired by the manor’s many famous portraits, stunning porcelain, and other features.

Christmas at Waddesdon runs from 22nd November 2023 to 1st January 2024.

Christmas in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire Christmas

There’s so much to do this Christmas in Oxfordshire!

Have fun exploring the county during 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 of festive fun to choose from.

Plus, Oxford at Christmas is always fun if you just want to get the train in and out again!

Do let us know if you find 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.

Quick List: 12 Best Days Out at Christmas in Oxfordshire for 2023

  • 1. See The Light at Blenheim Palace
  • 2. Browse the Oxford Christmas Market
  • 3. Experience Christmas at the Castle & Prison
  • 4. Have a 1960s Christmas at Chastleton
  • 5. Make a festive wreath at Rectory Farm
  • 6. Be Serenaded by G4 in Oxford
  • 7. Have Your Own Polar Express Moment in Didcot
  • 8. Take a candlelit tour of Greys Court
  • 9. Go back in time at the Banbury Victorian Christmas Market
  • 10. Meet the Animals at Cogges Farm Christmas Market
  • 11. Get Christmassy while climbing at Bicester Village
  • 12. Wonder at Christmas at Waddesdon Manor


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