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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- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- Possibly the smallest museum in Oxfordshire, for all the family.
- Set overlooking the site of the ‘lost’ village of Churchill, destroyed by fire in 1684.
- Touch screens telling the remarkable stories of two eminent sons of the village.
- Open March - September, please check website for opening times.
- Free admission.
Hastings Hill, Churchill, Nr Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 6NA
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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