Child-friendly places and activities in Oxford

Ashmolean Museum

Beaumont Street, 01865 278000

Open: Tues – Sunday 10am – 5pm, Bank Holiday Monday 10am – 5pm; The Museum is closed 24 – 26 December
Ashmolean Shop Open: Tues – Sun 10am – 5pm; Ashmolean Café Open: Tues – Sun 10am – 4.30pm; Ashmolean Dining Room Open: Tues – Thur 10am – 4.30pm; Fri & Sat 10am – 10pm

All family events are free, with a suggested donation £1 per child. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all events. For family friendly events, click here

Barefoot Books

294 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford, OX2 7ED Phone: 01865 311100

Monday – Friday, 9.30am to 5pm; Saturday, 9.30am to 5.30pm; Sunday, 10am to 5pm

The Oxford studio is a friendly, inviting place to meet friends, find books and educational games around the world, enjoy all kinds of workshops and hold magical birthday parties. It’s a place where children are free to read, play and experiment, while parents and carers can unwind over a lazy breakfast, light lunch or simply a cup of cappuccino. Our cheery Studio staff carefully plan daily events tailored to enthrall children from infants to early teens. From crafts to storytime, face painting to singalongs, the Oxford Studio is a wonderful place to make a memory.

Botanic Garden

High Street, by Magdalen Bridge, 01865 286690

Adult Day Ticket £4.50; Concessionary Day Ticket* £3.00; Children in full-time education accompanied by an adult, family member Free; Registered disabled and carer Free; Oxford and Oxford Brookes students and staff Free; Friends of OBGHA, Kew, Edinburgh, Wales, Ness and Birmingham Botanic Gardens Free; Annual Pass (valid for 1 year from date of purchase) £15.50; Concessionary Annual Pass* £13.00

*Concessions include senior citizens, unemployed, University of Oxford Alumni, non-Oxford students
(prices valid as of January 2014)

Visit inspiring herbaceous borders, glasshouses that take you around the World or simply relax in the oldest Botanic Garden in Britain. The Botanic Garden is the most compact, yet diverse collection of plants in the World right in the heart of the city centre and is open throughout the year for you to visit and enjoy. For family friendly events, click here

Cutteslowe Park

At the end of Harbord Road, off Banbury Road, North Oxford (just outside the ring road). 0800 0521455 for information and opening times.

utteslowe Park is a large, gorgeous, free park with many activities to keep you occupied on a day out. Duck pond, aviary, huge children's playground, mini-golf (summer only), tennis, mini steam train (see schedule below), playing fields, basketball court, flower gardens. Kiosk open in the summer. To get there, take the #2 bus from the city center towards Kidlington. Get off at Harbord Road/Wolvercote Cemetery, and walk to the end of Harbord Road.

Family Walking Tour at Oxford Tourist Information Centre

Oxford Tourist Information Centre, 15-16 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3AS 01865 252200

Fun in Oxford for all the family! Take part in this informal tour and share in a light-hearted look at the surprises and delights Oxford has to offer children and adults alike. Have even more fun with our free activity sheet! Adult £5.75, Child £3.50, Senior £5.25. Duration: 1.5 hours

Ferry Sports Center Swimming Pool

Diamond Place, Summertown, 01865 467060

We are a large multi-purpose centre, located in Summertown, to the north of Oxford city centre. We have a wide range of facilities including a 2 heated indoor pools, sports hall, new large gym, group exercise studio, squash courts and the Terrace Cafe.

Modern Art Oxford

30 Pembroke Street, 01865 722733

Opening hours: Tuesday 11am – 6pm; Wednesday 11am – 6pm; Thursday 11am – 6pm*(bar open late on event nights only); Friday 11am – 6pm*(bar open late on event nights only); Saturday 11am – 6pm*(bar open late on event nights only); Sunday 12pm – 5pm; Monday CLOSED

Founded in 1965, Modern Art Oxford is a visual art gallery devoted to presenting exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. We have a national and international reputation for the quality of our exhibitions and accompanying community and education programme.

Activities for children and adults to enjoy together accompany every exhibition at Modern Art Oxford. These include: Family Guides are available for most exhibitions and can be enjoyed by all family members. The guide encourages a creative pathway around the exhibition and suggests activities to try out at home. See our Whats On section for upcoming family events.

Museum of Oxford

Town Hall, St Aldates, Oxford, OX1 1BX

Monday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm. Last admission 30 minutes before closing.

Explore Oxford is the only museum exhibition, in a city of world-class museums and heritage offers, telling the story of Oxford and its people. Explore Oxford presents our city's past and present in two dramatically different spaces: Explore the past - Walk into City Engineer, William White's office and step back into 1897 when the current Town Hall was first opened. Rummage through William White's desk drawers to find out what the City Engineer at Oxford Council was working on, check out his drawing table and get an insight into how much Oxford has changed since it was founded around 810 AD. Explore the present - Continue into the modern Oxford Gallery and take a virtual high-speed bike ride. The four bike rides take you north, south, east and west from the Town Hall taking in the city's highlights as well as to places you don't normally get to see, including BMW's MINI plant.

Museum of the History of Science

Broad Street (next to Sheldonian), 01865 277280

Monday Closed; Tuesday - Friday 12-5pm; Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 2-5pm. Admission free

The Museum of the History of Science houses an unrivalled collection of early scientific instruments in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building, the Old Ashmolean on Broad Street, Oxford. We are an active public museum, offering a programme of public lectures, family-friendly events, gallery tours, table talks and much more, along with taught sessions for schools. As well as our permanent displays, visitors to the Museum enjoy special exhibitions highlighting areas of the collection. For family-friendly events, click here

Oxford Ice Rink

Oxpens Road, 01865 467000

Oxpens Road, Oxford, OX1 1RX 01865 305010

The rink offers fun for all ages and abilities, from general skating, disco, family and mother & toddler sessions to skate traning and ice hockey. Facilities include the rink, meeting rooms, party rooms and The Terrace Cafe with free Wi-fi.

Our ice rink is right in the heart of Oxford, just a 10 minute walk from Oxford City centre and railway station.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Parks Road, 01865 272950. Admission Free

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History houses the University's scientific collections of zoological, entomological and geological specimens. The Museum itself is a Grade 1 listed building, renowned for its spectacular neo-Gothic architecture. Among its most famous features are the Oxfordshire dinosaurs, the dodo, and the swifts in the tower.

The Museum reopens to the public on Saturday 15 February.

Pitt Rivers Museum

The entrance to the Pitt Rivers Museum is through the Oxford University Museum Natural History (OUMNH) on Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PW. The Pitt Rivers' entrance is at the far wall of the OUMNH. Visitors need to walk across the ground floor to reach it.

10.00 - 16.30 Tuesday to Sunday (and bank holiday Mondays); 12.00 - 16.30 Monday. The Museum Shop is also open at these times.

The Pitt Rivers Museum cares for the University of Oxford's collection of anthropology and world archaeology.

Discover more about visiting along with information on the famous collections and our contemporary research.

Science Oxford Live

Oxford Centre for Innovation, New Road, Oxford, OX1 1BY

Science Oxford runs events, activities and workshops for families and adults across Oxfordshire. To see a range of events organised by other organisations click here. Please note that our Science Oxford Live site in St Clements has now closed.

Unique Creations

Banbury Road, Summertown, 01865 514600

open 7 days a week 10am - 5.30pm

Unique Creations is a wonderfully colourful Paint Your Own Ceramics and Craft cafe as well as being well stocked with a wide range of gifts and cards.

Outside the City Centre

Birdland Park & Gardens

Rissington Road, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, 01451 820480

Birdland in Bourton on the Water is Open Daily From 10am (Except Christmas Day): Easter – 31 October 10am – 6pm; November – March 10am – 4pm

Gaze at the Flamingos, pelicans, penguines, cranes, storks, cassowary and waterfowl in their water habitats, or the parrots, falcons, pheasants, toucans, and more in the aviaries. Don't miss the penguin feeding time at 2:30! Approximately 45 minutes drive from Oxford.

Blenheim Palace Pleasure Gardens

Blenheim Palace Woodstock Oxfordshire OX20 1PP

The Park: Open daily (except Christmas Day) from 9am to 6pm or dusk (last admission at 4.45pm or dusk). All areas to be vacated by 6.30pm.
The Pleasure Gardens: Adventure Playground open daily (except in icy conditions).

The perfect setting for family days out in Oxfordshire, the Pleasure Gardens at Blenheim Palace allow our younger visitors to let off some steam and enjoy the great outdoors.

The Pleasure Gardens can be reached by the miniature train that runs from the Palace. You can also reach the gardens on foot (700 metres from the Palace), or by using the hard-standing car park after visiting the Palace, on the way to the vehicle exit. However you arrive, you will find it an ideal spot for family fun. While-away a blissful hour or two watching exotic butterflies, taking on the challenge of the Marlborough Maze or feasting on a fabulous picnic.

Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens

Bradwell Grove, Burford, Oxfordshire OX18 4JP 01993 823 006

April to October (British Summertime) 10.00am - 6.00pm Last admission 4.30pm
November to March (GMT) 10.00am - 5.00pm or DUSK Last admission 3.30pm

Spend a day in the 'Gateway to the Cotswolds' watching the animals, enjoying the gardens, riding the Narrow-Gauge Railway, playing on the Adventure Playground, and creating Brass Rubbings. Approximately 30 minutes drive from Oxford.

Country Park at Shotover Country Park

Located to the East of Oxford, OX4 2FF

Shotover Country Park offers everyone a chance to enjoy a place of beauty and history right on the edge of Oxford. Covering 117 hectares (289 acres) on the southern slopes of Shotover Hill there are spectacular views from the top across south Oxfordshire. The park is an intimate mosaic of hidden valleys, varied landscapes and diverse habitats, a haven for wildlife and an ideal setting for peaceful enjoyment of the countryside. There are bridleways around and footpaths across the park. Ride or walk over the Plain, at the top of Shotover, and drop down to Wheatley - but check your brakes are in good order! William Shakespear would have come to Oxford via Shotover on his way home to Stratford. And Charles Wesley was mugged here by a highway man! Mary Sadler's Field near the car park, is a good place for kite-flying.

Didcot Railway Centre

Didcot Railway Centre, Oxfordshire OX11 7NJ Tel: 01235 817200

Visitors are admitted from 10:30am, with the last admission time at 3:30pm. There is no late entry discount. Day Out With Thomas events open at 9:30am. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

See our unique collection of Great Western Railway steam engines, coaches, wagons, buildings and small relics; and a recreation of Brunel's broad gauge railway. Join us in our rural setting based around the original 1930s engine shed.

The Railway Centre is now open at weekends and from 15 to 23 February 2014.

Didcot Wave Leisure Pool

Newlands Avenue, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 8NX

Mon 06:30 - 22:00; Tue 06:30 - 22:00; Wed 06:30 - 22:00; Thu 06:30 - 22:00; Fri 06:30 - 21:30; Sat 07:00 - 19:00; Sun 07:00 - 16:30

Welcome to Didcot Wave and Gym - an extremely popular leisure centre that boasts a wave machine, indoor flume ride and beach area, making it a great venue for a family visit. The Pool is also home to the successful Didcot Barramundi Swim Club and our excellent Swim School Programme.

Didcot Wave and Gym however is more than just a leisure pool; we also have a 50 station gym that houses the very latest Technogym equipment making it the most modern, stylish and pleasant Gym in Didcot to have a work out. The Didcot Leisure Centre which is our sister centre offers our dry activities including Squash, Badminton, Volleyball and Football as well as a programme of exercise classes to suit everyone’s needs.

Farmer Gow's

Fernham Road, Longcot, nr Faringdon, SN7 7PR 01793 780555

The farm is open daily 10am – 5pm. All weather activities throughout the winter months, both indoors and outside. Cosy picnicking and eating areas in Harvest Tea Room, beside the wood burning stove.

Meet the Animals ~ Come and enjoy handling and feeding our young livestock ~ sheep, cattle, pigs, goats and chickens at 11am and 2pm every day. Farmer Gow’s is the 'favourite place on earth' for lots of our young visitors.

Larkin Around (formerly Funky Monkeys)

Wyevale Garden Centre, Oxford Road, Bicester, OX25 2NY. 01869 252478.

Opening times: 10am-6pm Mon-Sat. 10am-4.30pm Sun. Closed Easter Sun, 25-26Dec and 01Jan.

Adventure, fun and softplay

Millets Farm Centre

Kingston Road, Frilford OX13 5HB - On the A415 between Abingdon and Witney.

The Farm Shop is open 7 days a week from 9.00 am - 5.30 pm. Please Note:The Fishmongers department is closed on Sundays and Mondays, but there is a self-service alternative. Both the Fishmonger & Butcher departments close at 5pm, 7 days a week throughout the year.

Millets Farm Centre has a wide range of family / visitor attractions and events to make a great day out in the Oxfordshire Countryside.

Oxford Bus and Morris Motors Museums

Oxford Bus Museum & Morris Motors Museum, Station Yard, Long Hanborough, Oxfordshire, OX29 8LA. Tel: 01993 883 617

Museum is open: Wednesdays & Sundays, from 10:30am to 4:30pm. (last entry: 3:30pm)

At the Oxford Bus Museum we're dedicated to telling the story of bus and coach travel around Oxfordshire over the last 130 years. Our exhibits include many historic preserved buses, coaches, horse-drawn vehicles, a wide selection of artefacts (bus stops, ticket machines, timetables, posters, staff uniforms) and lots of fantastic photos illustrating our diverse public transport history.

Ozone Leisure Center

Grenoble Road, 01865 714100

There's ten-pin bowling (Before 6pm: Mon-Fri £4.25/£3.20 Sat, Sun, Bank Holidays £5.70/£4.70; After 6pm: Sun-Thurs £5.40/£4.50, Fri, Sat, Bank Holidays £5.70/£4.70), a video arcade, billiards, and a state-of-the-art multiplex cinema. A great place (albeit an expensive one) to spend the day when it's raining. Take the 5, 5A, 5B, 5C, or 106 bus (or taxi) to get here.

Snakes & Ladders

Audlett Drive, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 3NJ Tel: 01235 522 227

Open 7 days a week from 10am to 6pm, Last admissions 5.15pm. Early closing on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve 4pm, Open 12 noon on New Years Day. Closed Christmas Day & Boxing Day.

Come Play at Snakes and Ladders in Abingdon. Easy to find, with plenty of FREE parking! Massive three tier playframe;
Slides, tunnels, ball ponds & rope climbs; Huge dedicated zone for under 5's; Water play, home corner & construction zone; Electric motor bikes; Comfortable café & leather sofas; Outdoor Adventure Assault Course

World Of Play Oxford

3A/3B Grenoble Road Ozone Leisure Park Oxford OX4 4XP

Monday - Sunday 10:00am - 6:30pm (opening times on bank holidays may vary). Please note that you MUST be a member to enter any Partyman World of Play venue. Family membership is just £5.00 for life, and will allow you entry to any of our soft play arenas!

Previously known as Ikidz and Jambino’s, Partyman World Of Play Oxford provides lots of fun for your little ones as they explore the huge themed play structures, extra-slippy slides and our very own interactive stage! There is also a specially designed toddler area for very little guests who are under 3 years of age.