Christmas what’s on guide – Oxfordshire

There are lots of awesome free and cheap family Christmas events and activities across Oxfordshire this year. There are also some VERY expensive ones too!! Eeeek. Anyway, here’s my Christmas what’s on guide for Oxfordshire. For guides in Bucks, Herts and Beds, as well as the latest festive reviews have a look at the Christmas page by clicking here. Make sure you check out the Facebook events page for lots more events all over the area.

We all know that Christmas events across Oxfordshire in 2020 are going to be a little bit different. Many places have decided against running an event because of the second lock-down. There are also a lot more local events and trails happening instead. I’ll be adding as many of these as I can find to the Facebook page. Even if there isn’t a specific Christmas activity taking place, there are loads of reviews of places to visit across Oxfordshire on the website.


Christmas events in and near Oxford

The Illuminated Trail at Blenheim Palace has to be THE big Christmas event in Oxfordshire. An off-peak family ticket (plus parking) is £73. A peak family ticket (plus parking) is £81. Annual pass holders save £1 per person. Apparently they have over a million lights on the trail! There’s also a free app that accompanies the trail. You can still visit the gardens during the day as well (admission is FREE for Annual Pass holders). Have a look at my review of Blenheim Palace here.  

Yarnton Nurseries are running a Santa’s Grotto on selected dates. Admission includes a present and time in the Magic Garden soft play centre. £11.95 under 2’s. £14.95 over 2’s. £1 per adult. 

There’s a snowman trail at Waterperry Gardens, Oxford from now until the 23rd December. It’s £2.50 per child – normal admission fees apply. Have a look at my review of the gardens here

There’s a Santa’s Grotto experience at Oxford Castle & Prison. It’s an hour long activity that involves meeting Santa, photo souvenior, story and singing with Santa, decorating a Christmas ornament festive bag including snacks, a cuddly toy and a “nice list” certificate. The adults ticket includes a guided tour of the castle & prison to be taken at a later date. Selected dates 12-23rd December. £17.95 per child, £15.95 per adult. 

All over Oxford there are dozens of local Christmas light trails going on. You can find ones near you on the Oxlightfest website

The Story Museum are running a couple of performances during the Christmas period. There’s a free online story-telling and a festive story-telling show called Suddenly a Star from the 18th December to the 3rd Jan. 

Don’t forget there are lots of free places to visit with the kids in Oxfordshire, and you can check out the lights whilst you’re there. Have a look at my guide to free things to do with the kids in Oxford.

Christmas events in Thame

The Santa steam rides from Chinnor & Princes Risborough railway have now sold out. You can still visit the Santa’s Grotto in Chinnor, Oxfordshire though (without the train ride). £6 per adult, £10 per child. 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd December. Click here to book your tickets.  

Thame Town Council are running a Christmas ADVENTture Trail this year and there are events going on throughout the Christmas period. There’s competitions, the chance to meet Santa, a giant nutcracker, singing and story-telling, an interactive Christmas spirits trail and more. Have a look at their website for all the details

Thame Museum are also running a Children’s trail until the 19th December. 

Christmas events in Didcot

Didcot Railway centre are running Steam into Christmas at weekends from the 5th – 20th & 22/23 Dec. There’s a ride on a steam train and a present from Santa himself. You’ll also get chance to look around the museum as well. £15.75 – £17.50 per person. Visit their website for all the details.  

Christmas events in Banbury

Upton House, just outside of Banbury, isn’t doing a specific Christmas trail this year but it’s still a lovely place for a family walk (and scone & cuppa!)

Every night there is a Christmas light show projected onto the Castle Quay facade in Cornhill. As well as the light show there’s accompanying music. 

Christmas events in Abingdon

Millets Farm (reviewed here), nr Abingdon go all-out at Christmas most years. It’s much more muted this year. They are doing a Santa’s Grotto however it has already sold out. 

The Abigdon Christmas fireworks are on the 19th & 20th December. There drive-in and walk-up options available. 

Christmas events elsewhere in Oxfordshire

The River and Rowing Museum, Henley, have an Elmer and friends exhibition taking place, as well as their normal Wind in the Willows exhibition. The exhibition will carry on into 2021 if you’re not able to get tickets now. 

There’s going to be a Christmas story trail in Sutton Courtenay this year from the 19th December. It’s essentially a Christmas themedd scarecrow trail and it’s in aid of charity. You’ll find all of the details here. Drayton Village are also doing a 12 days of Christmas themed trails. Details can be found here

Stonor Park are opening their gates at the weekends in December. (5th, 6th, 12th & 13th). The gardens and adventure playground will be open from 10 – 4. You can read my review of Stonor Park here. 

Rectory Farm in Stanton St John nr. Oxford are running a Christmas trail in aid of Helen & Douglas House. There’s even a little prize at the end. Open until Christmas Eve. There’s also a name the snowman competition.


I’ll be adding to this guide over the next few weeks so make sure you keep checking back to see the latest events.

Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with out three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch contact@freetimewiththekids.com or get in touch via Facebook

I sometimes use affiliate links if there is something that I genuinely think will be of interest and that I think is relevant to the post. I will always indiciate if a link is an affiliate link. I do earn a small commission for these, and that goes towards the running costs of the site. Any discounts mentioned may only be available for a short time so please double check prices before booking.