Paddington Lo-Commotion Vanbrugh Bridge

With the summer stretching gloriously ahead of us, here is our TOP 25 guide to what’s on in Oxfordshire.

1) Zog, Oxford Playhouse, Tuesday 18 Juiy – Sunday 23 July. The smash-hit stage adaptation is back and promises to be bigger, brighter and more roar-some than ever before! With lively songs from Joe Stilgoe and directed by Emma Kilbey, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved Zog is a magical production for ages 3+


2) Ashmolean – Don’t miss Labyrinth, Knossos, Myth & Reality READ ABOUT IT HERE which finishes on July 30 after a six month run to a rapturous reception. Discover the palace of Knossos, and the search for the labyrinth in this major exhibition. BOOK HERE

The Cretan Labyrinth, after Mathjis Cock © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

3) Oxford Theatre Guild brings restoration comedy The Recruiting Officer by George Farquhar to Trinity College Gardens from July 11-22 READ ABOUT IT HERE complete with arch villains, heroes, humour and sword fights in this beautiful Oxford college setting. BOOK HERE

The country gentleman, Justice Balance, played by Keith Heddle. @simonvail

4) Oxford’s Covered Market has extended its opening hours, attracted lots of new bars and eateries READ ABOUT IT HERE and is hosting an extensive programme of comedy, author talks, tours, music and more to keep us amused over the summer. Gulp Fiction has jazz by All About That Groove at 8pm on Thurs 20 July, the Gorenberg Quintet on July 27, Undercover Comedy on August 3 and authors Kate Collins – A Good House for Children on Fri 4 Aug and Sophie Pavelle: Forget-Me-Not: Finding the Forgotten Species of Climate Change Britain on Fri 25 Aug. There’s a beer takeover by Meet Pretty Decent Beer Co at The Market Tap on July 27 (tickets and info here), and a Hidden Histories tour with Y.O.U and Uncomfortable Oxford on Thurs 20 July, 5.30pm at St Lukes Chapel. Tickets at

Author Sophie Pavelle

5) Creation’s Much Ado About Nothing may be Shakespeare, but not as you know it. READ ABOUT IT HERE Think Elvis impersonators, police shoulder pads and a banging 80s soundtrack to bring this much loved comedy to life this summer. So bring a picnic and rug to South Oxford Adventure Playground off Abingdon Road and enjoy. July 12 July – August 19. BOOK HERE

Much Ado About Nothing by Creation

6) Rosie and Hugh’s Great Big Adventure, North Wall, July 22-23. Rosie and Hugh the Hedgehog are best friends. Rosie is nervous about starting a new school. Hugh knows of a witch who can cast a spell to make it the last day of the summer holidays forever. A work-in-progress performance of this new family musical with music and lyrics by Nick Cope and book by Victoria Saxton. Recommended for ages 3+ BOOK HERE

7) All Aboard Opera! brings Backseat Stories, a quartet of short operas to beautiful outdoor Oxfordshire settings. From Holmby House in Sibford (Wednesday August 2) to Blue Tin Farm, Ipsden, (Friday August 4) and Mill Meadows, Henley-on-Thames, (Saturday August 5), expect Mozart’s ‘The Impresario’, Holst’s ‘Sāvitri’, Lehmann’s ‘The Happy Prince’ and Sullivan’s ‘The Zoo’ from the ‘traveling troupe’. Bring picnics, friends and families. BOOK HERE

8) Pegasus Theatre‘s world premiere of The Crossing is a thrilling new play commissioned for its exceptional young companies. Written by talented emerging playwright Simon Castle, it will be brought to life by the vibrant Pegasus Young Company 11-15 and ingeniously staged by the skilled Pegasus Technical Young Company 14-18. July BOOK HERE


9) Shakespeare at Oxford Castle, until July 29 – The brilliant Wild Goose Theatre is back, with a brand new production of William Shakespeare‘s iconic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, READ ABOUT IT HERE at the historic Oxford Castle Courtyard. As relevant today as when Shakespeare penned it over four centuries ago. BOOK HERE

Wild Goose’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Oxford Castle last year

10) PADDINGTON LO-COMMOTION at Blenheim Palace until Sunday September 3. Join Paddington in an immersive outdoor adventure complete with live performance, puppetry, and outdoor adventure. Meet your favourite characters from the Paddington stories, search for ‘buried treasure’, hop on board a real locomotive and more. Age 4 – 10. BOOK HERE

Paddington Lo-Commotion-

11) Don’t forget to check out The Living Room Cinema in Chipping Norton which is opening this month and has some fantastic blockbusters to tempt you along from the new India Jones, Mission Impossible and Barbie. BOOK HERE

The Living Room – an artist’s impression

12) Bad Dad, Cornbury Park, August 17. A warm-hearted, open-air adaptation of the David Walliams classic brought to you by The Theatre Chipping Norton. Pack your picnics, grab your wet weather gear, sun-cream (or both), something to sit on, and join Frank and Gilbert as they navigate their way through car chases and convicts in the struggle to escape the clutches of the local crime lord and clear Gilbert’s name.   Perfect family entertainment. BOOK HERE

13) Dancin’ Oxford, in conjunction with Justice in Motion, is showcasing the world premiere of CODE at its Summer Dance Festival in Oxford on August 19-20 – an original physical theatre/dance work, exploring the growing levels of child exploitation across the UK by criminal gangs based in large cities through trials bikes, parkour, physical theatre and live rap music to establish a narrative that delves into the crime, and its effects on young people.


14) The Oxford Comedy Festival is back with an incredible 54 comedians and its biggest line-up yet, from international names and TV regulars to rising stars, local legends and podcast favourites. Organised by QED Comedy Laboratory, all 54 gigs will take place at Trinity CollegeTap Social Taproom in Botley and Tap’s White House on Abingdon Road, until July 31. The full line-up can be found at BOOK HERE

15) Around the World in 80 Days, Tuesday 25 – Sat 29 July. Oxford Playhouse. Sit back and enjoy as skilled performers traverse every country, embrace each character and navigate each mode of transport as fact clashes with fiction in this madcap adventure around the globe. BOOK HERE

16) Don’t miss free film festival Conservation Optimism on Saturday July 15 at Oxford University Museum of Natural History and enjoy an evening of inspiring and empowering stories from across the natural world – of regeneration and of communities who nurture the planet, and benefit from it, with a Q&A with shortlisted filmmakers. Entry is free but book here

18) The Serpent’s Tooth, Old Fire Station, Friday July 28 – the award-winning Oxford playwright Heather Dunmore‘s new play is inspired by a good friend who was forbidden any contact with her daughter and granddaughter and performed by Another Theatre Company before heading to Edinburgh Fringe  BOOK HERE

The Serpent’s Tooth by Heather Dunmore

19) Adam Kay: Undoctored, Wed 26 — Thu 27 July. The Mill
Previewing his new show ahead of a return to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. Undoctored follows on from This is Going to Hurt, leaving audiences laughing and crying with Adam’s unique tales of life on and off the wards. BOOK HERE

Adam Kay

20) Museum Activities Galore – Ashmolean – Festival Of Archaeology – Jul 23. Family Tours on July 16 and 30 and August 15,22 and 29) BOOK HERE History of Science Museum Family Friendly Weekends – Jul 29-30 and Aug 26-27. BOOK HERE Pitt Rivers Object Handling – every Saturday and Summer Art Challenge – every Wednesday and Thursday from Jul 26 to Aug 31 BOOK HERE

Ashmolean Family Egypt Gallery Tour

21) HUNDRED WATT CLUB: A BURLESQUE SUMMER SOIREE. The Mill, Friday July 28 With a raucous and risqué cast hand selected by Hundred Watt Club’s Lena Lenman, this show is a no-holds barred, full throttle cabaret into the wonderful world of showgirls, spectacles and songbirds. BOOK NOW

Web_Lena Bordon_Burlesque_001

22) Mind The Monsters, Sat 22 – Sun 30 July, BT Studio. Meet Joy and Hope. Together they are Planet Brain’s weather-watching mind-mappers. Join them, complete your monster training, and help them ward off worries from the Head Goblin. A family show promoting mental well-being, in an interactive and accessible way. Ages 5 to 11. hBOOK HERE

Kate Spencer and Heather Porte aboard Anxious Airlines in Mind The Monsters Photography Geraint Lewis

23) OMID DJALILI & FRIENDS! Thursday August 24. The Mill. Having just wrapped up a SOLD-OUT national tour which took on the length and breadth of the UK’s biggest theatres, Omid’s legendary stand-up performances are a captivating comedy masterclass. An extremely rare opportunity to catch Omid in an intimate environment. BOOK NOW

Omid Djalili

24) Body Politic is running an action-packed Summer Camp at Pegasus Theatre for young people aged 8-16 years. Free spaces are available for anyone in receipt of benefit-related free school meals. July 31 – August 4. Book at

25) Football Freddie, The Mill, July 22. The story of Freddie Farren, a little girl who loves football but is too nervous to join in a game in her local park. But with Uncle-Fred’s encouragement, Freddie renews her confidence and enthusiasm and everyone joins in a good old-fashioned kick around. Featuring playful storytelling and friendly audience participation. Age 3-7

26) The Snail & The Whale, The Mill, Fri 11 August – Sun 13 August. Join an adventurous young girl and her seafaring father as they reimagine the story of a tiny snail’s incredible trip around the world, inspired by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved picture book. A heart-warming adventure for everyone aged 4+. BOOK HERE

The Snail & The Whale