All you need to know about 2020 Christmas lights switch-on events in Oxfordshire

All the Christmas lights switch-on events in Oxfordshire in 2019
Scene from previous Christmas switch-on event in Henley-on-Thames

About the Christmas lights switch-on events 2020 in Oxfordshire

'Tis the time of the year to see the county at its most sparkly.

Oxford and towns centres across Oxfordshire will sparkle positively this Christmas season, once the lights come on for Christmas 2020. And, after the year we’ve had, we all deserve a bit of sparkle in our lives this Christmas.

But it'll be different this year.

Rather than the usual big Christmas lights switch-on events in 2020 in Oxfordshire, expect socially distanced light trails and illuminations to help get us into the spirit of what may very well be the weirdest Christmas yet.

Here's some of what to expect in 2020.


Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival 2020
Scene from Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival in 2019

Oxford's Christmas Light Festival 2020

Regularly featured artists, Luxmuralis, will launch Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival 2020 with a stunning light projection onto some of Oxford’s iconic buildings - Christ Church Cathedral, the Museum of Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museum, Radcliffe Camera and The University Church of St Mary the Virgin.

The filmed son et lumieres feature a unique soundtrack and images taken from museum collections with inspiration from the festival themes shown at hundreds of times their normal size in a kaleidoscope of colour. The film will stream from this page at 4.00pm on Friday 20th November.

More about Oxford’s Christmas Light.

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace Illuminated Light Trail 2020
Blenheim Palace Illuminated Light Trail

Blenheim Palace Illuminated Light Trail 2020

From scattering shards of light across the lawn to a scented fire garden that adorns the Water Terrace, the Blenheim Palace Illuminated Light Trail is always one not to be missed.

Walk towards dynamic, colour-changing neon tunnels, lakeside reflections and onto a mesmerising place where, beneath the branches of a sprawling tree, softly glows the fairy-fire known as Will-o-the-Wisps.


Abingdon Christmas Extravaganza 2019

Abingdon Christmas Extravaganza 2020

In Abingdon-on-Thames, the Town Council provide the Christmas Lights display in the town centre, a large Christmas tree is put up by staff with contributions from loyal Monday Charter Market traders, and then the local Chamber of Commerce organises a Christmas Extravaganza to celebrate the switching on of the lights.

We hear that the lights in Bury Street have been switched on and that the rest of the Christmas lights in Abingdon Town Centre came on unannounced. In normal times, hundreds of people would have gathered around the Market Place, after a day of entertainment, to watch as a celebrity switched on the lights. But then again, nothing about these times are normal times.


Banbury Christmas Light Show 2020

Banbury Christmas Light Show 2020

Over in Banbury, a series of magical seasonal films that will see Christmas and New Year themed pictures beamed onto the Castle Quay façade in Cornhill to welcome Christmas and celebrate the New Year.

The Christmas themed light shows will begin on Wednesday, November 18 and will be shown daily from dusk till 10.00 pm every night until Monday, December 28. The video is described as wintery and classy and will depict Christmas with imaginative scenes and accompanying music.


Bicester Christmas Light Switch-on 2019

Bicester Christmas Light Switch-on 2020

Bicester town centre will be lit up for Christmas this year despite the global coronavirus pandemic putting a dampener of festivities. But, as expected, the Christmas lights switch-on event has been cancelled. And sadly, the Santa Fun Run has also been postponed until next year.

To keep the festive spirit alive, the Town Council will instead stage a virtual advent calendar whereby each day in December, a new window will open, via the council’s website and Facebook page, to reveal a festive message.


Burford for Christmas 2020

Last year, Burford's had a Christmas lights switch-on, and a day of festive fun (from 2:00 pm to 6:oopm) with Santa's grotto, family entertainment, food and drink, carol singing and Christmas shopping. The lights switch-on is at 4:30 pm.

We're pretty sure there isn't a Burford Christmas lights switch-on event planned for 2020, we would have heard about it by now. What we're not sure about is whether there'll be something else in its place. If you hear anything otherwise, do be sure to drop us a line.


Carterton Christmas Lights Switch-on

Carterton Christmas Lights Switch-on 2020

Like many events this year, Carterton’s annual Christmas lights switch on and lantern parade has been forced to cancel. But the ministry team at the Messy Church at St John the Evangelist Church in Carterton has reimagined this year's lantern parade with a prayer for the community, read by people from Carterton and Brize Norton, with their handmade lanterns.

Fortunately, the last of the filming was completed prior to the announcement of the second lockdown, and the video is set to premiere next month - so watch this space.


Didcot Christmas Street Fair

Didcot Christmas Street Fair 2020

Thursday 26 November 2020 would have seen the 27th Didcot Christmas Street Fair take place at the Broadway and Orchard Centre with all the fun of the fair, sideshows, rides, parades and food stalls.

Like many large event organisers across the county, the organisers have had to cancel this year's Street Fair and look forward to seeing everyone in 2021.


Christmas Lights On Festive Faringdon

Christmas Lights On Festive Faringdon 2020

Normally organised by The Rotary Club of Faringdon & District and supported by Faringdon Town Council, sadly there will be no Festive Faringdon Lights-On event in 2020. Nevertheless, the club will still make the town centre bright for Christmas.


Henley Christmas Festival 2019 in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Henley Christmas Festival 2020

The highlight of the festive season in Henley, The Christmas festival planned for Friday 27 November would normally encourage thousands of people to come out and enjoy the festivities. But this year, there will be no Father Christmas in his grotto, no Reindeer led children's Lantern Parade and no carol singing.

Hopefully, there'll be a chance to do some Christmas shopping, as well as sample the delights of mulled wine, mince pies, street food, arts and crafts and to see the centrepiece in Market Place - a large Christmas tree that will be selected from the Tree Barn as normal.


Kidlington Christmas Lights Switch-on

Kidlington Christmas Lights Switch-on 2020

The Kidlington Christmas lights switch-on usually takes place towards the end on November, with local school choirs, local Kidlington stalls, Santa's grotto, funfair rides, animal petting corner, concert brass band, hot and cold refreshments and lots more. With the lights switched on by Santa at 6:30 pm. Hundreds would have turned out for the annual switch-on of the Christmas lights in the High Street and Piazza.

Instead, it looks like Kidlington will be lighting up with a covid-secure Christmas light trail. Starting on Saturday 05 December, Christmas light trail maps will be available to purchase from The Crafters Emporium based at the Kidlington Centre. Funds raised will go to North Kidlington School.


Thame’s Christmas Lights Switch-On

Thame’s Christmas Lights Switch-On 2020

Ring in the festive season to Thame at the popular Christmas Lights Switch-On! Yes, it would have been an evening of festive entertainment, a Santa’s Grotto, lantern parade, gift stalls, refreshments, carol singing and much more. But sadly this event, like many others, has been cancelled.

While we await details about how to celebrate Christmas in Thame this year, we do know that Community Christmas Thame will still go ahead on Christmas day, howbeit in a changed format. Volunteers will be delivering meals to those people who are at risk of being alone on Christmas Day (subject to prevailing government guidelines).


Wantage Dickensian Evening

Wantage Dickensian Evening 2020

Wantage Dickensian Evening is a Christmas festival held in and around Wantage Market Place, Oxfordshire, on the first Friday of December every year. Everyone is invited to dress up in period costume, enjoy Christmas attractions and start the holiday shopping.

The Wantage Dickensian Evening 2020 event has been cancelled. However, one of the most popular attractions of the annual event - a stand in the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, just off Wantage’s Market Square - will be offering a wide range of goods for sale in support of Greenfields School in Thokoza, South Africa.

The Wantage Dickensian Evening is normally the biggest fundraising event of the year for the Thokoza School aid effort so, starting from 23 November 2020, a variety of festive goods will be on sale at the church between 10.00 am and 12.00 pm from Monday to Saturday.


Witney Christmas Lights Switch-on Event

Witney Christmas Lights Switch-on Event 2020

In Witney, the switch-on event that attracts thousands of people to the Market Square would have taken place on Friday 27th November. The Christmas lights will still appear in the Market Square, but it will be turned on by the contractors once installed.

In a year that is lacking so much cheer, the Town Council is has suggested that families hold their own mini switch-on of Christmas lights at 6.00pm on the town’s traditional Switch-on night so that the town is still illuminated for the festive season.


Woodstock Festive Fayre and A Night of a Thousand Candles

Woodstock Festive Fayre and A Night of a Thousand Candles

The Woodstock Festive Fayre usually takes place in St Mary Magdalene Church in Woodstock and runs in parallel with The Night of a Thousand Candles in the Market Square on the Saturday night.

Sadly both events have been postponed to 2021 and nothing has been announced as a replacement.

We’ll be keeping this page updated with information about the Christmas lights switch-on events in Oxfordshire in 2020. Do contact us if you have any updates to share.