Annual Events & Festivals
If you are in Oxford on the first of May, get up early to catch the choristers sing from Magdalen Tower at 6am, before the city gets populated with Morris Dancers to celebrate May Morning. Dress code: Floral. On the first Saturday of July, Alice’s Day turns Oxford into Wonderland in memory of Lewis Carroll’s famous story and the Golden Afternoon on which it was first told, and on the following day, Cowley Road celebrates its cultural diversity in the colourful Cowley Road Carnival. At the end of November, the Christmas Lights Festival rings in the festive season with music, illumination and many more events.
In September, people of Oxfordshire get out the lycra for annual Bike Oxford, a great annual sportive for cyclists of all abilities. Oxfordshire Artweeks is the country’s oldest and biggest open studio event, and features artists and studios from all around the county, and in summer, MCS Arts Festival celebrates Oxford’s rich heritage and thriving culture. Henley on Thames features the Royal Regatta, one of the key events of the English social season.
May Day, Oxford
May Morning celebrations start at 6am with the choristers of Magdalen College choir singing Hymnus Eucharisticus from the Great Tower. There will also be May Day events and activities taking place across the city with lots of folk music, Morris dancing and lots of places to grab an early breakfast!
Oxfordshire Artweeks, Oxfordshire
6th - 29th May
Explore amazing art in wonderful places across Oxfordshire! And all for free! With art exhibitions and artist open studios in hundreds of interesting places throughout May, you can discover Oxfordshire’s creative talent in painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, glass art and more.
Common People Festival, Oxford
27th & 28th May
Common People takes place on May Bank Holiday (27th & 28th May) in the stunning surrounds of Oxford’s South Park, one of the most beautiful parks in the UK!
The Oxford Pride Parade
31 May – 9 June
Oxford Pride continues to provide a positive focus for Oxfordshire individuals and community groups and encourages people from outside of Oxford to visit the city.
Oxford Festival of the Arts, Oxford
24th June – 8th July
A two-week celebration of culture and the arts in venues throughout Oxford featuring talks, performances and workshops for all the family across the fields of music, theatre, art, literature, comedy and film.
The Henley Regatta
28th June - 2nd July
Henley Royal Regatta is undoubtedly the best known regatta in the world and is both one of the highlights of the summer sporting calendar and the social season.
Profile: The Story Museum celebrates story and storytelling in all its forms, sharing enjoyable ways for young people to learn through stories as they grow.
Highlight: Join Alice, the Mad Hatter and friends for a scroobious celebration. Nonsense is the word this year, with brillig happenings at historic and world-class locations. Dress up, bring a picnic!
Cornbury Music Festival
Venue: The Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire
Profile: The Cornbury Music Festival is one-of-a-kind: a lovingly crafted, top notch, very English open air party, tailor-made for the whole family.
Cowley Road Carnival, Oxford
Profile: Cowley Road Works is the charity which organises Cowley Road Carnival.
Highlight: Carnival is Oxford’s largest community event. Highlights include a procession of schools and community groups on Cowley Road, live music, street performances, world cuisine and family-friendly activities.
Hill Farm plays host to another year of Truck Festival, being even bigger than last year with fun for all the family!
Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace
3rd - 6th August
See the nationwide famous BBC Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace this August.
3rd - 6th August
Venue: Cornbury Park
Cost: Adult Weekend Ticket £139.00, Family Weekend Ticket £335.00, Children 10 & under Free
Profile: Wilderness Festival is in its essence a celebration of the outdoors, based under the canopies and parkland of Cornbury Deer Park.
Highlight: Live Music & Dancing, Feasts & Gastronomy, Theatre de Rue & Cirque Traditionnel, Late Night Revelry, Tented Theatre & Promenade Performances, Debating Halls and Family Magic & Games.
20 - 27 August
Venue: Sheldonian Theatre, St Michael at the Northgate,
Cost: Variable, Under 16 years free with adult.
Ticket Booking: Tickets from Oxford Playhouse www.ticketsoxford.com 01865 305305 and a special 2 for 1 offer on www.oxfordproms.co.uk.
Profile: Concerts in the historic Sheldonian Theatre, a favourite venue for the world’s greatest musicians, and the church of St Michael at the Northgate, Oxford’s oldest building. Concerto Classics on 20th August include Beethoven’s mighty “Emperor” Piano Concerto No 5 and Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, one of his greatest works, performed by outstanding international artists. In the more intimate surroundings of St Michael at the Northgate we have “Clarinet Dreams” on the 24th and “Viva Virtuoso” on the 27th August. A treat for lovers of great music!
The Big Feastival
25th - 27th August
Another year on Alex James’ Farm brings us The Big Feastival 2017, for food, music and family fun join Jamie Oliver and Alex James this August!
St. Giles Fair
4th - 5th September
The locally famous St. Giles fair returns for another year with different rides and food stalls for the whole family to enjoy!
Venue: Oxford Castle Unlocked
Ticket Booking: Book online or call 01865 260 666
Profile: Oxford Castle Unlocked is a 1000-year castle, which was also used as a place of incarceration for over 800 years. The attraction offers a 40-minute guided tour with a character from the castle’s history.
Highlight: The award-winning Ghost Fest returns for the eighth year with its most thrilling line-up yet, including ghost hunts, spooky tours, trick or treating and After Dark Dinners.
50th Oxford Round Table Fireworks
South Park, Headington, plays host to the 50th Oxford Round Table fireworks display, helping to raise money for charities!
Christmas Light Night, Oxford
On-street parades, music, dance, jollification, museums open late with events, mostly free.
Oxford Christmas Market
7th - 17th December
Venue: Broad Street
Profile: NiRa Events was set-up in 2008 by local resident Nicole Rahimi to establish the Oxford Christmas Market, which was organised for the first time in 2009.
Highlight: The Oxford Christmas Market returns – right to the heart of Oxford to Broad Street. Get into the festive spirit by indulge in seasonal treats, find a unique Christmas present and sing along to Christmas carols.