Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival is back and bigger than ever! Not only is it popping up in even more places and communities, but is packed with events.
Running from November 18-20, this year’s theme is Illuminating Communities with light displays, lantern parades, exhibitions, workshops and interactive displays.
Throw in immersive exhibitions, choirs, performances, pop-up cafes, parties, Christmas markets, food, gifts and refreshments, and it will be a weekend to remember!
Here are some of our favourite things to look out for:
- A Victorian Market will bring the magic of Christmas traditions to Broad Street, with traders in Victorian costume and traditional gifts and treats on offer.
2) Hunt for the Lost Toys is a new smartphone reality trail around Oxford. Families will be guided by a team of superheroes as they make story choices on their Christmas adventure and see cheeky elves burst to life on their screens from November 18.
3) Modern Art Oxford welcomes the return of the Shadowlight Artists supported by Film Oxford whose exhibition, Captured Moments, features new work by artists Lucy Skuce and Mark Hemsworth.
4) Blackbird Leys Enjoy an interactive light sculpture at the Blackbird Leys CDI building which responds to sunlight, torchlight and sound. Built with the help of IF Oxford Science and Ideas Festival through a series of Glow Your Own live and online ‘arts and coding’ workshops.
5) Ark-T invites you to their Winter Lights party on Friday November 18 from 5pm, where you can experience a magical audio-visual installation, enjoy music from local musicians and DJs, take part in creative workshops, get your face painted and eat delicious seasonal food.
6) FloFest’s Finding the Light event was so popular last year, it now extends to two evenings on Friday 18 – Saturday 19 November from 4.30pm with lanterns, lights and lasers plus live music, fair rides and a secret light trail.
7) Rose Hill Community Centre, Saturday 19, anyone young or old can join in a polar light parade, workshops, local films and live music with Rose Hill Junior Youth Club and Film Oxford in the afternoon from 4.45pm.
8) Magdalen Road Studios and Pegasus have teamed up to host the Magdalen Road Festival of workshops, art installations, light trails and performances. There’s even an after party with music and a pop-up café .
9) The Cutteslowe Light Trail. Grab a map on Saturday 19 from 5pm to view the beautifully lit windows in houses across Sunnymead and Cutteslowe, illuminated trees, a light sensory disco, shadow light theatre and crafts.
10) Visitors to Botley Park will see illuminated trees and a hidden light trail including a magnificent ice sculpture on Sunday 20 thanks to the West Oxford Pantomime Association. A lantern procession from 5pm will be led by local musicians, followed by decorated cycles and sleighs pulled by ‘reindeer’ and ‘huskies’. Best sleigh wins a prize.
11) Fusion Arts, Film Oxford, IF Oxford and North Wall Arts Centre have been working with local artists in schools, community groups and drop-in sessions across the city to make lanterns for parades and to light up schools, homes and hubs.
12) A visit to the Museum of Oxford will shine a light on the gifted creators of the city who make high quality affordable presents for any Christmas list.
13) City centre churches, Wesley Memorial and St. Ebbe’s will be holding festive services and iconic Christmas trees will be on display in Broad Street and at the Oxford Castle & Prison, where there will also be a seasonal trail.
Councillor Shaista Aziz, says “Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival is a wonderful example of the way cultural activity can unite people and strengthen our communities. Whole neighbourhoods can get involved and enjoy being together. The magic of the festival is an opportunity for delight and celebration, and to enjoy every part of our exceptional city.”
Festival Coordinator Karen Starr says “More communities are involved in this year’s event than previously and it’s really exciting to see the festival grow and become more widely established across the city.
Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival is being held from November 18-20. For the full programme of events, workshops, trails and activities go to: https://www.oxlightfest.com