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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- Library collection includes books, CD's and DVD's.
- Rhymetime for under 5 year olds on Wednesdays.
- Children's book club for ages 8–12 years, once a month.
- Storytime for ages 3–8 years, on Saturdays (2:30-3pm).
- Book sales 1st Friday and Saturday every month.
The Charter, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 3LY
- University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology for all the family.
- Family Activity Station with trails and simple make-and–takes.
- 'Little Ash Moles' gallery activity (for under 5 year olds) every Thursday in term-time.
- 'Saturday Ashventures' stories, hunts, handling, games and crafts for ages 4+ years.
- Events scheduled regularly for visually impaired and hearing impaired visitors.
Beaumont Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2PH
- Library collection includes books, CD's and DVD's.
- Rhymetime: free interactive sessions for under-5s, Tuesdays (10am–10:30am).
- Craft and Chat for all ages and abilities (children over 5 years are welcome).
- Local studies centre.
- Computers, internet, photocopier and free wi-fi.
Marlborough Road, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX16 5DB
0844 8933 222
- 28°C swimming pool for able-bodied and disabled people of all ages.
- Free Swimming Programme is offered to City Residents 16 years and under.
- Learn to swim programme to suit all levels and abilities.
- School holiday activities.
- 'Big Day Swim' birthday party packages.
Waynflete Road, Barton, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX3 8GA
- Over 2000 instruments from the Western orchestral music traditions.
- Instruments by English, French and German makers.
- Collection of European woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.
- Family education sessions and tours.
- Workshops for GCSE and A-level music students.
The Faculty of Music, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1DB
0844 288 5174
- Soft play area for children aged 0–8 years old.
- Multi levels, ball pits and slides in separate spaces for all ages.
- Play area runs in timed sessions, please check the website for set times.
- 'Little Diggers' birthday parties available, with cupcake decorating activity.
- The Garden Centre runs children's activities during school holidays.
Oxford Road, Bicester, Oxfordshire, OX25 2NY
- 6 lane 10 pin bowling alley.
- 25m swimming pool for all ages.
- 15m learner and fun pool.
- Children's birthday party packages available.
Queens Avenue, Bicester, Oxfordshire, OX26 2NR
- Excellent sports facilities available to the public, for all ages.
- Indoor pool, squash courts, gym & fitness classes, climbing wall and tennis courts.
- Climbing wall runs tasters sessions and courses.
- Offer either a monthly membership per facility or you can pay as you use.
- Aqua Zumba classes Wednesday evenings 8pm–9pm, £5 per class.
Dewey Sports Centre, off Barley Close, Bloxham, Oxfordshire, OX15 4NJ
- History Trail for children of all ages, trail sheets are £1.50 each.
- Self guided audio tours.
- Mini tours for families with children aged 11+ years .
- Standard tours for families with children aged 11+ years.
- Family tickets priced at £3.50 (2 adults and 3 children under 15 years).
Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3AZ
02380 000 423
Indoor inflatable play centre for children aged 18 months 12 years old. Discover a wonderland of inflatables such as bouncy castles, giant slides, obstacle courses, disco castles, bounce & slides, multiplay castles, soft play, ride-ons and more. Also offers various pre-booked ticketed sessions for children with SEN (Special Educations Needs).
- Fun inflatable play centres for children aged 18 months - 12 years. Adults go free.
- Special SEN sessions for children with additional needs.
- Fabulous birthday party packages and hire packages available.
- Bouncy castles, disco dome, human table football, obstacle courses and much more...
- Keep an eye on our EVENTS section for all up and coming play centre days.
Didcot Leisure Centre, Mereland Road, Didcot, Oxfordshire, OX11 8AY; Faringdon Leisure Centre, Fernham Road, Faringdon, Oxfordshire, SN7 7LB
More than just a car museum it offers a great family day out, whatever the weather. With themed trails and costumed guided tours, it gives the whole family an insight into the British motor industry in a fun and relaxed way.
- World's largest collection of historic British cars, with interactive displays for all ages.
- Swap pushchairs for a push along car for cruising around the museum.
- Outdoor playground with galleon ship climbing frame and picnic area.
- Family activity sheets and trails to help you travel through themed zones.
- Check the website for information on great school holiday activities.
Banbury Road, Gaydon, Warwickshire, CV35 0BJ
- Climbing wall open to everyone, for children from 5+ years.
- Kids open session for children 5+ years, on Mondays and Fridays (4:30pm–6pm).
- Kids open session: summer specials (during holidays) Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Rock Stars kids club runs Sunday mornings for children from7–17 years. (Term time).
- Offer climbing birthday parties, up to 10 climbers (maximum) for ages 5+ years.
Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX3 0BP