Oxford to celebrate its communities with light & creativity in 2023 Christmas Light Festival


Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival is set to return in 2023, bringing a sparkle to the city during the long nights to come.

From 17 to 19 November, artists and local communities will come together to make a weekend of very special events. With workshops, exhibitions, light trails and interactive displays in the city centre and local neighbourhoods, everyone can get involved.

This year, the festival, which is coordinated by Oxford City Council, features more ideas and creative opportunities than ever and is especially focused on our communities and creativity.

Whether you stay near your home or travel into the city centre, you’ll find something exciting that’s not to be missed. Look out for fun activities to join in from a variety of cultures, including music, visual arts and craft sessions for the whole family; see exhibitions of extraordinary light sculptures and fascinating objects; visit markets where you can buy unique gifts and souvenirs for family, friends or yourself.

Film Oxford, Fusion Arts, WOPA, OVADA and The North Wall Arts Centre are working with local artists in lantern making workshop for schools, community groups and at drop-in sessions for families. The lanterns they make may be used to decorate a home, enrich the light trails or appear in lantern parades around Oxford.

Karen Starr, Festival Coordinator, said: “The OCLF is a unique event that brings local communities together. There is no limit to the imagination and creativity that each year makes this festival so exciting and a joy to be part of.”

There are extraordinary events throughout the weekend, from a giant son et lumiere projection from TORCH at the Radcliffe Humanities Building, Islamic art at the History of Science Museum, illuminating cultural identity and communication at the Bodleian Libraries, Diwali celebrations at OVADA, through generational stories at Barton Neighbourhood Centre with Dancin’ Oxford and Barton Community Association, and storytelling at The Story Museum, Iraqi Women Arts and War exhibition, to lantern parades in Rose Hill, West Oxford, Florence Park and Cutteslowe.

Councillor Jemima Hunt, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities and Culture, said: “Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival is an opportunity for communities to come together and celebrate the magic of the festive period. Light festivals have a special place in our shared histories.

“Around the world, lanterns and candles are used as a celebration of life. I am delighted to see so many wonderful events taking place this year across the city and congratulate all those involved. I look forward to seeing you there.”

Anyone can be part of the festival. Decorate your home with lights or window displays, get together with neighbours and be part of a local light trail. You can register your street on the festival website to appear on the map of events and trails taking place over the weekend.

Events, workshops, trails and activities are being added to the programme during the next few weeks. All participating organisations should register on the website.

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