This section will help you to find great indoor places to entertain your children. Oxfordshire offers an impressive array of places to hide from the rain, or (thinking wishfully) the sun. While places local to you are a good place to start, others further afield may well be worth the journey. Some are free (have a look to see what’s on at museums and libraries as both often have excellent events and clubs) and many have activities to exhaust your child whatever the weather. My son has had enormous fun getting creative (and extremely messy) at some of the venues offering arts and crafts – and to be honest there have been days when I’ve been relieved that my living room carpet has been safe. We’ve also enjoyed bringing history to life and I think I’ve learnt just as much as the children through inspiring exhibits and trails. Another section which is proving particularly useful is the compilation of possible birthday party venues. If you’re reluctant to risk the weather and are looking for an indoor party, there are so many fantastic possibilities available. In the course of research, I’ve discovered places I had no idea offered such unique and enjoyable experiences for that perfect, memorable day.
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- Kids and family bowling, for all ages. (from toddlers upwards).
- Students on Strike: two games for £7.49 all day Monday to Thursday.
- Amusement zone.
- Pool tables.
- Birthday party packages: for children 5–10 years old, and teens 11–15 years.
Ozone Leisure Park, Grenoble Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 4XP
- 25 metre indoor swimming pool.
- 'Tots Bounce', soft play and bouncy castle for 0–5 year olds (Tuesdays & Fridays).
- Jump & Jiggle soft play; créche; and party packages available.
- Offer 'Active Teen Fitness' the new membership for 11–15 year olds.
- Run swimming lessons, and 'Disabled Swim' sessions.
Oxford Road, Kidlington, Oxfordshire, OX5 2NU
- Soft play centre for children 0–12 years old.
- Flight simulator, ball pool.
- Wavy slide, ball target.
- Birthday party packages available.
- Open Monday to Saturday.
14 Thorney Leys Park, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX28 4GE
- 8 lane 25 metre indoor pool, and learner pool (0.9 metres deep).
- Créche and toddler's soft play.
- 'Aspires Academy' is a fitness initiative for 11–15 year olds.
- Jet ski sessions for children under 9 years, and Short Tennis for 4–10 year olds.
- Birthday party packages including: pool inflatables, jet skis, and skating.
Pegasus Road, Blackbird Leys, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 6JL
- Arts and crafts classes for children 5–7 years and 8 years–teens.
- 'Fine Art' classes for those interested or studying for GCSE/AS & A2 Level.
- Offer one-to-one private art tuition in Oxfordshire.
- Art holiday courses for children aged 5–7 years old, and 8–teens.
- Art birthday parties include, crafts, printmaking, 3D, textiles or painting & drawing.
Venues in Bletchingdon, Enstone and Oxford
0843 290 8938
- Tenpin Bowling for all the family.
- Amusement games area.
- Pool tables.
- Food and children's menu available.
- Birthday party packages.
Cherwell Centre, George Street, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX16 5BH
Countryside Farm Centre open seven days a week perfect for all the family with animals, playground and indoor Sprout Playbarn. Throughout the summer months, there's a beach area (with outdoor games), PYO and Maize Maze.
- Fun for all the family. Animal Walkway includes pigs, alpacas, cattle, and ponies.
- Sprouts Indoor Playbarn with multi-level activities, slides, ball pits and education play.
- Children's play area: swings, slides, play diggers, little sit-on tractors, & carousal.
- Pick You Own: June to September. Over 30 different fruits and vegetables.
- Phoebe Wood is 10 acres of woodland and wetland walks and picnic areas.
- Children's ballet, tap and art classes. Birthday party packages coming soon.
Kingston Road, Frilford, Near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX13 5HB
- Museum with a collection of early scientific instruments.
- Programmes include family-friendly events, gallery tours, and table talks.
- Drop-in family trails for children 5+years, every Thursday and Saturday.
- Open Tuesday - Sunday (12noon - 5pm), admission is free.
- For disabled access there is a lift to the basement.
Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3AZ
- Exhibits include historic preserved horse-drawn vehicles, buses, coaches
- Wide selection of artefacts (bus stops, ticket machines, timetables, posters).
- Photos illustrating diverse public transport history.
- Also home to the Morris Motors Museum.
- Open Wednesdays & Sundays through-out the year (10:30 - 4:30).
BR Old Station Yard, Long Hanborough, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX29 8LA
- Guided tours and stories of the building's 1,000 years history.
- Climb Saxon St George’s Tower for 360° panoramic views of Oxford (ages 5+ years).
- Go underground into 900 year old crypt, the only remains of St. George’s Chapel.
- Explore the confines of the 18th century Debtors’ Tower and Prison D-Wing.
- Open daily from 10am (closed 24th–26th December).
44 New Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Ox1
- Ics skating rink for all ages and abilities.
- Ice skating discos.
- Mother and toddler sessions.
- Ice-based sports courses through the Skate School.
- Birthday party packages are available.
Oxpens Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 1RX
- Collection of geological and zoological specimens. Open every day 10am–5pm.
- Family trials and activities, plus every Sunday (2pm–4pm) 'Family Friendly Sundays'.
- Special Guide, sensory exhibition, routes and quiet rooms for autistic children.
- For ages 8+ years is 'Science Saturdays drop-in' (see website for dates).
- Café with child-friendly options or you can picnic outside on the lawn.
Parks Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3PW