Our guide on where to eat, party and enjoy Christmas and New Year starts here, plus some great places to hide away when the Christmas shopping gets too much!
- 1) BEST FESTIVE MENU: The White Hart Fyfield has got Christmas covered, its festive menu already proving a roaring success. Running until Christmas Eve every lunchtime and evening except Sundays, it’s £38 for 2 courses or £43 for 3, and boasts the likes of pork and ham hock terrine with toffee apple, crackling, watercress and apple salad to start, followed by potato and rosemary ravioli, wild mushroom and salsify ragu, and lastly try the Parmesan and Christmas pudding baked Alaska with brandy syrup and candied orange. CUE STAMPEDE! https://www.whitehart-fyfield.com/copy-of-christmas
2) BEST FOR FESTIVE LUNCH – Fancy a Christmassy lunch without the turkey? Then head down to The Yurt at Nicholsons in North Aston and enjoy two courses for £25 or 3 for £32.50! Think free range chicken liver and winter truffle parfait, orchard apple chutney and toasted Heyford seeded sourdough to start, chalk stream trout, braised celery, Cornish mussels, squid ink, cauliflower, and North Aston Dairy and fennel cream sauce for mains and finish with a poached pear and almond curd tart, cinnamon, sultana, salted honey ice cream, duck egg custard. https://www.nicholsonsgb.com/yurt/yurt-menu/
3) BEST FESTIVE POP UP – Table 13 at Summertown Wine Bar. Tuesday December 19. Enjoy six wines chosen by Summertown Wine Bar matched with six small plant-based bites of food by Table 13 cooked by the wonderfully gifted Georgia Gallagher – https://table13oxford.uk/appointments-1
4) BEST FOR NYE – The Plough, West Hanney are not only the best hosts in town, but have prepared a fabulous four course menu with a glass of fizz and bacon sandwiches at 1am for £80 per person. Start with a selection of breads with Marmite butter, a seasonal starter, then BBQ squid with lemon and pea puree, pickled celery, an onglet steak with celeriac puree, duck fat hash browns, pickled mushrooms and red wine jus, and pud is a vanilla pan cotta with spiced apple compote. There is as matching vegetarian/vegan menu too. https://theploughathanney.co.uk/new-years-eve/
5) BEST SEASONAL MEAL. Bia, Summertown. Have you been yet? Bia has just opened on South Parade and we absolutely loved it. So if Christmas is all getting a bit much and you fancy a night of adult company ands some seriously good food then Bias ticks all the boxes. Perfect for every occasion – from date night to catching up with friends you can eat as little or as much as you want from a full blown dinner to tapas and a drink on the way home from work. https://www.bia38.co.uk
6) BEST TIME TO OPEN, Fire & Wine, Milton-under-Wychwood. December 1. An emporium dedicated to fine wines from Eynsham Cellars and pizza from Sartorelli’s opens on Alfred Groves and Sons’ old mill site tomorrow (Fri Dec 1). Now full of artisan businesses Dec 1 is their Christmas Fair so sneak in for some mighty fine pizza, present buying and stock up on booze while you are there!
7) CHRISTMAS PARTY MENU, Fleur De Lys, Bampton. Dine in French heaven with all the classics from soufflé and French onion soup to beef fillet Rossini with foie gras and truffle, and Kirsch cherry clafoutis for £45 a head. And if it all gets as bit much you can always stay over! https://fleurdelys-bampton.com/whats-on/christmas
8) BEST PLACE TO TREAT YOURSELF – The Old Parsonage – the Christmas decorations are up and the fires are roaring so if you fancy an elegant lunch, tea or dinner then this is the place to get cosy and eat in elegant splendour. https://www.parsonagegrill.co.uk
9) BEST WAY TO AVOID CHRISTMAS SHOPPING – Oxford Wine Cellar, Oxford High Street. Another brand new location for wine lovers, perfect for getting out of the cold or avoiding the shops. Settle into the bar bricked, cosy, sophisticated space and choose from the extensive wine menu and charcuterie/pizza boards. Take it from us you can lose entire days in there! https://oxfordwinecellar.co.uk/book-now/
10) BEST FESTIVE GASTRONOMY – The Cygnet at The Swan, Islip – has introduced a Christmas four course menu which includes these impressive turkey croquettes with parsnip, curry emulsion, mango ketchup, nutmeg and coriander by head chef Paul Welburn. £65 per head. https://swaninnislip.co.uk/menus/
11) BEST COCKTAILS – Lyrance, Jericho – If you want to go somewhere pretty damn sexy with some highbrow mixology going down, then head down to this new Jericho bar which even has its own absinthe den in the basement. https://lynrace.com/spirit/
12) BEST FOR CHRISTMAS LUNCH: Brasserie Blanc in Jericho’s new look and crisp refurb provides the perfect setting for big groups or family catch-ups over a stylish Christmas lunch with scallops, turkey, a palate cleanser, pudding, mince pies and cheese for £99 per person. Book here https://menus.tenkites.com/hwc/staging/bbexlonchristmas
13) BEST FOR NYE PARTY – Waggon and Horses, Southmoor – celebrate in style at this country pub with DJ SOLR&SHEM and a Peaky Blinders theme. What more can you ask for? Book at https://www.thewaggonandhorsessouthmoor.com
14) BEST FOR FAMILIES – it’s got to be Mamma Mia – when things get too much for your little ones and they can’t cope with sitting in a formal setting, then Mamma Mia will be ready and with two sites to choose from – Jericho and Summertown – and some wonderful pizza and pasta to keep the turkey at bay, it’s a must. Plus anyone going to Creation’s A Christmas Carol at The North Wall can book in before or after at the South Parade site. https://www.mammamiapizzeria.co.uk/contact.php
15) Best Cafe Retreat in Oxford city centre – The Handlebar – When the carols, tinsel and hubbub get too much and you need to get away from the Christmas crowds then head off down to this upstairs cafe on St Michael Street for some great brunch lunch or just a cup of coffee and slice of cake. https://www.handlebaroxford.co.uk
16) BEST BURGER AND MUSIC, Fat Lil’s and The Edge, Witney – Fat Lil’s has some epic bands lined up over the festive period but our top pick is The Inflatables on Friday Dec 22 and New Year’s Eve with The Standard. Just don’t forget to pop into new burger bar The Edge for a stonking burger as well https://www.fatlils.co.uk
17) BEST FOR RELAXED COMMUNAL DINING – Magdalen Arms, Iffley Road – share and share alike at this wonderful gastro pub where the whole family can tuck into a huge lamb shoulder with daupinoise or roast onglet with chips and salad. Christmas menus also available! https://www.magdalenarms.co.uk/page/Menus/
18) BEST FOR CHRISTMAS SHOWS – Just up the road from Oxford Playhouse and the New Theatre is the OFS Cafe being run by the wonderful Damascus Rose Kitchen, a social enterprise which supports Syrian and Arabic-speaking refugee women. Everyone loves Middle-Eastern food right? Open Tuesday to Sunday 10-3pm just make sure you go to the matinee! READ OUR TOP 30+ CHRISTMAS shows, events, markets, pantos, concerts, trails and fairs to book now in Oxford, Bicester, Banbury, Chippy, Woodstock and Didcot here!