10 brilliant things to do in Oxford this Christmas season

Things to do in Oxford this Christmas

Things to do in Oxford this Christmas season.

Hello and welcome to your invaluable guide on things to do in Oxford this Christmas season.

Christmas is a particularly wonderful time in Oxford, and there’s never a shortage of activities to help get people into the Christmas spirit. From carols to pantos, markets to grottos - the city really offers something for everyone.

We’ve narrowed down the list and pulled out the unmissable events in Oxford this Christmas season. And as the nights draw in, take a wander around and see Oxford at its most sparkly with these Christmas light decorations and illuminations across the city.

Of course, you’ll find more events in Oxford, and across Oxfordshire, in the “What’s on section” of the website. You might even find the odd unmissable event or two taking place beyond the county lines that we think would make for a great day out.

Got an event that should be on the list? List your event on The Oxford Magazine and reach an engaged audience of people who live, work or place in Oxfordshire.

1. Enjoy some Christmas sparkle

Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival 2020 - What’s on in Oxford and across Oxfordshire this November

Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival 2022

18 to 20 November (To be confirmed)
Oxford City Centre

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.

View event

See all the Christmas lights switch-on events in Oxfordshire.

2. Meet Santa himself

Believe - Santa’s Magical Reindeer Grotto at Westgate Oxford

Believe at Westgate Oxford

26 November to 24 December
Westgate Oxford

This year, Westgate is hosting ‘Believe - Santa’s Magical Reindeer Grotto’ – children will be entertained by a very special reindeer Norbert, they’ll make reindeer food in readiness for Christmas Eve, and they’ll have a one to one with Santa! All children will receive a wrapped gift of an age-appropriate book to take home.

View event Buy tickets

Find all the best places to meet Santa in Oxfordshire this Christmas.

3. See Robin Hood at Oxford Playhouse

Robin Hood Pantomime at Oxford Playhouse

Robin Hood Panto at Oxford Playhouse

27 November to 09 January
Oxford Playhouse

Feared by the bad, loved by the good, taking from the rich to give to the poor. Robin Hood and his Merry Band are our favourite outlaws, especially when they treat us to songs, dance, laughter, and derring-do in an Oxford Playhouse Christmas Panto!

View event Buy tickets

See our guide to Pantomimes in Oxfordshire in 2021.

4. Hear Christmas carols at the Sheldonian

Join Oxford Harmonic Choir for a joyful musical celebration of Christmas at the Sheldonian Theatre. The programme consists of two uplifting choral compositions, joined by some beautiful seasonal Baroque music by Manfredini and Alessandro Scarlatti.

View event Book tickets

See more Christmas carols and concerts in Oxfordshire.

5. Shop at the Christmas arts market

Oxford Christmas Arts Market 2021

Oxford Christmas Arts Market 2021

04 & 05 December
Broad Street

The 2021 Oxford Christmas Arts Market takes place in the beautiful and iconic setting of Broad Street Oxford, in the shadow of many of the City’s famous landmarks. The Market will feature many local artists, designer-makers and selected guests and is set to be a veritable jamboree of potential gifts – for friends and family, and yourself too.

View event

See more Christmas markets & fairs in Oxfordshire.

6. Celebrate Christmas at Christ Church Cathedral

Family Christmas Carol Concert at Christ Church Cathedral

Family Christmas Carol Concert at Christ Church Cathedral

04 December
Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

Every age group from babies upwards is warmly welcomed to this fun and informal day-time concert of Christmas music at Christ Church Cathedral. Expect angelic singing from the choristers, thunderous music from the organ and plenty of well-known carols for the audience to sing.

View event

You can also join Macmillan Cancer Support to start your Christmas season with their 25th Anniversary feast of carols, seasonal choral music and literary readings on 10 December.

View event Book tickets

And Music at Oxford’s popular annual celebration of Christmas in the iconic Christ Church Cathedral returns on 15 and 17 December after an enforced break in 2020. It will combine a popular mix of festive cheer and seasonal nostalgia with appropriate readings delivered by the actors Antonia Christophers and Noel Byrne.

View event Book tickets

See more festive events at Christ Church Cathedral.

7. Actually make a Christmas wreath

Christmas Wreath Making at Oxford Botanic Garden

Christmas Wreath Making at Oxford Botanic Garden

08 December
Oxford Botanic Garden

What better way to celebrate the spirit of Christmas than to create your own festive wreath to hang on your door at a Christmas Wreath Making course. Learn the basic techniques of making a wreath and then add lots of beautiful dried flowers and seed pods collected from the Garden. Your wreath will be quite different from anything available to buy on the high street.

View event Book tickets

See more Christmas Wreath Making Workshops.

8. Grab a bargain at a festive market

Oxford Christmas Market 2020

Oxford Christmas Market 2022

01 to 18 December (To be confirmed)
Broad Street

Oxford Christmas Market will return to the heart of the city on beautiful and historic Broad Street in 2021 and the city of dreaming spires will once again be filled with festive joy. Look forward to market traders offering unusual and handmade gifts and colourful accessories in brightly decorated wooden stalls - along with the sound of choirs singing Christmas carols and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifting in the air.

View event

See more Christmas markets & fairs in Oxfordshire.

9. Treat the family to some theatre

School of Rock at New Theatre Oxford

School of Rock at New Theatre Oxford

13 December to 01 January
New Theatre Oxford

Last Christmas, we weren’t able to celebrate in person with our loved ones, so here’s to making Christmas 2021 a special one. And what better way to celebrate than watching a treat for all the family with all your family. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s West End and Broadway hit musical School of Rock comes to the New Theatre Oxford from Monday 13 December to Saturday 01 January 2022.

View event Buy tickets

See more musicals & dance events in Oxfordshire.

10. Get to grips with some art

Anish Kapoor: Painting Exhibition at Modern Art Oxford

Anish Kapoor: Painting at Modern Art Oxford

Until 13 February
Modern Art Oxford

This unique exhibition of paintings by Anish Kapoor will explore the paintings that have been an integral part of his studio practice for over 40 years. The materiality of Kapoor’s substantial body of new works pushes the boundaries between sculpture and painting into visceral new ground.

View event Book tickets
Read more: Exhibitions and art fairs in Oxfordshire this December.