Since 2009 the Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival has been a marker for the start of the festive season, when we really know Christmas is coming.

And this year’s sparkling gem of a weekend will be more spectacular than ever, with installations, illuminations, performances and events over the whole weekend from tomorrow to Sunday.

The theme Undiscovered Oxford has given the festival some wonderful stories from the city’s past and present.

Festival director Rachel Capell programmes the event with organisations around the city and says: “The festival’s theme offered the opportunity to reveal so much about the city of which we are unaware. Our cultural partners in the festival are disclosing their contents in exciting and unusual ways – particularly the projections on, and even in, some of our most loved buildings.

Oxford Mail:

“The festival offers a fantastic array of installations and outdoor performances, enjoying being in the crowd and discovering new things together.”

The opening event is the Lantern Parade, involving nearly 400 young people from schools and community groups around Oxford. They have been working with artists to make large and small lanterns inspired by Oxford’s hidden canals, historic figures, rare scientific instruments and imaginary creatures.

The parade will wind around the city from 6.30pm to 7.30pm tomorrow, with the best viewing points at Radcliffe Square, Cornmarket, Bonn Square and Gloucester Green.

The weekend’s programme will be centred on the festival hubs in Broad Street, Gloucester Green, Bonn Square and Oxford Castle Quarter but look out for surprises in other locations too.

On Saturday the square is taken over by the ROARsomes – an international disabled artists group, with dance, Christmas karaoke from Cyc-du-Soleil and light installations.

Gloucester Green will be welcoming, the Dancin’ Oxford Stage on Saturday which rocks to the rhythm of a multitude of dancing feet. Broad Street is hosting a festive market all weekend. Visitors can also watch an illuminated aerial performance called Heliosphere, a dynamic sound and light show called Shimmer Tree, or listen to the bands on an acoustic music stage.

You can also take a Christmas selfie at the Oxford Castle Quarter on a sculpted ice throne and search out the sound pods at Voice Park where Oxford voices have been collected, while enjoying an OxFood market.

Also don’t miss the Luxmuralis series of sound and light projections onto, and inside, some of the university’s most famous buildings and a giant digital art display Media Tunnel at Westgate Oxford.

It promises to be a real winter wonderland.


Oxford Christmas Light Festival runs from tomorrow to Sunday, with more than 50 events taking place over the weekend. See the whole programme at