Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival 2022
18 November to 20 November
About Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival 2022
Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival 2022 is a 3-day festival of Arts, Culture and Community.
The festival has been taking place since 2009. It’s evolved over the years from a single evening’s event in the city centre to a full three day weekend that includes light and sound installations, a festive market, music, dance and lots of free activities in venues across the city, and more recently to light trails and events in residential areas of the city.
As a light festival, the programme includes impressive light installations and displays, and we work with scores of cultural partners to present a host of performances, exhibitions, workshops and activities, many of which are free and ideal for all the family to enjoy.
Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival has pivoted its approach quite dramatically over the last 18 months, moving from an outdoor mass gathering event based in the city centre to a model that responded to COVID-19 restrictions and yet enabled more residential engagement than ever before.
Seeing the benefits of this localised approach and the sheer joy of communities making the festival programme content themselves, the festival is hoping to develop this approach even further in 2021 - with lots of ways for local communities to get involved and lots happening to lift community spirits.
Hotspots of activity in 2019 included Broad Street’s Christmas market, Gloucester Green’s live dance stage, magical installations in the Castle Quarter and Westgate Oxford into the mix as the lantern parade weaved through new spaces as well as historic ones.
This year the programme expands further into the city’s neighbourhoods and celebrates the Art of Connectivity. In addition to events in central Oxford, there will be four main festival neighbourhood hubs at Rose Hill, Cowley, Blackbird Leys, and Cutteslowe. These local creative hubs will highlight partnerships between Oxford’s leading cultural organisations, community groups and residents.
In central Oxford, the weekend will kick off with the Christmas light switch-on on Friday evening, including a large-scale illumination and a Victorian market on Broad Street and in Gloucester Green. Expect yuletide stalls fully stocked and decked out in traditional style, and all traders wearing Victorian dress.
Switch on your Christmas lights at 5.30pm on Saturday, 19 November. Lots of streets will be making illuminated creations to display in their windows, on their doorsteps or balconies, and some will be organising a little doorstep celebration starting at 5.30pm on Saturday, 19 November.
Local light trails
Light up your street with homemade lanterns and window displays. Get creative and make a festive display for your home. Download the ‘how-to’ instructions for lanterns of all kinds to decorate your door, window, garden or balcony ready for the festival weekend. Follow the video guides to make a colourful window display ready for the festival weekend.
Make and create
Whether it’s how to make a lantern or how to programme some LED lights to wear, there’s plenty of ideas and inspiration to join in a collective bid to bring and share a little light in our lives. You’ll find resources and online workshops you can watch or ‘how-to’ information sheets on the festival website.
Be the light bus tour
In 2020, Oxford Bus Company teamed up with Oxford Business Park to bring a little bit of sparkle to the streets of Oxford during the Christmas Light festival! Local artist Mani and City of Oxford College students created specially designed artworks for the windows of their open-top bus. This year, the Christmas Light Festival bus will be out and about on Saturday 19 November.
There will be festive prizes for the 3 best photographs that the organisers receive - but hurry now as they must be received by midday on Sunday, 20 November. The theme for this year will be announced later. Photos will be judged on how they show the atmosphere and creativity of Oxford's Christmas Light Festival.