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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- Dinosaur garden and interactive dinosaur gallery. Disability access in public areas.
- Hands-on interactive gallery displays and dress-up.
- Tots sessions every Tuesday (10:30am–11am). £1.50 per family.
- Free trails, backpacks and explorer bags, and activities for under 5s.
- Children's activities during the school holidays.
Park Street, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1SN
- Models recapture scenes from the English countryside as it was in the 20s and 30s.
- Model landscapes, buildings, trains and vehicles.
- Interactive 90 minute tour covering three indoor galleries.
- Free self guide audios available.
- Holds children drop-in modelling sessions (check website for dates & more info).
Long Whitton, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 4QD
57 Walton Stree, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6AE
- Cinema offering 'Big Scream' for parents/guardians with babies under 1 year old.
- 'Toddler Time' preschool children (& parents/carers). Kids' Club for under 12 year olds.
- 'Autism-Friendly' screenings, and for visually or hearing impaired.
- 'Students Screen Arts Offer', See the best in theatre, dance and opera.
- Students 'E4 Slackers Club', 'School Screenings', and student offers.
- Displays of archaeological and ethnographic objects from all parts of the world.
- Trails for all ages, (many suitable for under 5 years) and lift to all floors.
- Children can borrow a torch and look in all the dark nooks and crannies.
- Family friendly object handling every Saturday 10:30am–12:30pm.
- 'Museum Family Backpack' activities on Saturday. 'Family Corner' on Sundays.
South Parks Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3PP
01235 528868 / 07710 347920
- Art fun including: foam clay, decopatch, mosaics, button art and fabric painting.
- Create hand painted Ceramics and Wooden Signs.
- Special school holiday workshops in the Creative Studio.
- Afterschool Clubs from 3:30pm - 5pm.
- Birthday party 'arty' options available at your chosen venue.
2 Marcham Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1AA
- Paint-Your-Own pottery and craft studio, for all ages.
- Studio fun: pottery painting, mosaics, decopatch, and fabric painting.
- Baby and child handprints on pottery, clay imprints & silver keepsakes.
- Run children and adult workshops regularly.
- Offer birthday and hen party packages.
48 High Street, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX28 6HQ
- Co-educational day and boarding school for children aged 3–18 years.
- Set in more than 50 acres of grounds, and is home to 400 pupils.
- Quaker ethos and values, although welcomes pupils of all faiths and none.
- The Learning Programme enables pupils with various specific learning difficulties.
- Party packages include: swimming pool with toys, & water rafts, or bouncy castle.
Sibford Ferris, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX15 5QL
- Indoor play activities for children of all ages.
- Huge indoor play frame, imagination play, and electric bikes to ride.
- Outdoor Adventure Assault Course.
- Under 5 years have dedicated zone. Weekly term-time pre-schooler sessions.
- Birthday party venue with various party packages.
Audlett Drive, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 3NJ
- Indoor Soft Play Barn includes slide, climbing wall, monkey bars and fun games.
- Pizza Café.
- Outdoor play area, and Nature Trail.
- Children's party packages available.
- Wheelchairs available and guide dogs are welcome.
Witney Road, Ramsden, Oxfordshire, OX7 3AS
- Baby Bounce - soft play and bouncy castle for pre-schoolers.
- Junior activities -'Spice Up Saturday', 'Junior Gym', 'Balanceability', and 'Sway Dance'.
- Fitness and sports activities. Roller disco on Saturdays.
- 25m swimming pool and learner pool. Crèche.
- Birthday party packages.
Cherwell Drive, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX16 2BW
- Home of George Washingtons Ancestors. Interactive games & engaging displays.
- House tours for children to see where the Tudors slept and ate.
- Try pumping water, striking a light or setting the mouse trap in the kitchen.
- Family garden trails. For the very young there are large ladybirds to spot.
- Picnic areas and seating outside. For open times please see the website.
Manor Road, Sulgrave, Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX17 2SD
- Paint Your Own Ceramics and craft cafe, (open 7 days a week) for all ages.
- Ceramic painting.
- Baby and toddler prints.
- Clay imprints and signature plates.
- Birthday party packages and venue available.
263 Banbury Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 7HN