It is finally spooky season, the leaves are beginning to change and there is a nip in the air. For all those Autumn lovers, it is finally the season for pumpkin spice lattes, crisp walks, hot chocolates and cosying up on the sofa under the softest blanket watching films with your loved ones. Although we all enjoy those days at home cosying up, there are also lots of activities around Oxford to take part in for the Autumn/Halloween season.
Top 5 things to do for Autumn/Halloween;
1. Pick your own
There is nothing better than eating produce that you have picked yourself. This time of year is great for picking your own pumpkins and a lot of places put on a bit of a show for pumpkin picking that is great for the whole family. There are also lots of farmers markets popping up, read more on them here. Some of our top picks for PYO are below;
Rectory Farm – Rectory Farm situated in the OX33 area have their very own pumpkin patch for you and the family to get involved in. Tickets are available now on their website with varying prices from £3.50-5 dependant on the day. They are also hosting crafting workshops for the kids whilst you are visiting which start from around £8.50. Alongside the Pumpkin Patch you can pick your own fruits and vegetables. They are open for PYO from April-November. It is best to check on the website what will be available each month. During October you can expect to PYO gourds (a type of squash), pumpkins and potatoes.
Millets Farm Centre – Millets Farm Centre is also open from April until September for PYO. You can expect to find lots of fruits and flowers during these months at Millets. However, the PYO closes until end of September until October 14th from when they then open the PYO pumpkins. Toddlers under 2 can enter the PYO pumpkin patch for free and tickets are now open for purchasing. The fields will be decorated with their spooktacular decorations with lots of opportunities for photos. Alongside the PYO they are also hosting other events through the spooky season including;
- John Dawsons Halloween Circus – Sunday 22nd October – Saturday 28th October
- Pumpkins by night – 13th, 14th & 20th – 28th October
- Spooktacular disco – 24th, 25th & 26th October
- Chocolate apple decorating – Tuesday 17th October
2. Oxfordshire Pumpkin Festival
Do good, be good this spooky season with Oxfordshire’s Pumpkin Festival. For the 10th year in a row Oxfordshire’s Pumpkin Festival will be running from Friday 20th October to Sunday 12th November 2023. Every year 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin is wasted over the Halloween season and so the pumpkin festival aims to showcase what you else you can do with pumpkins to avoid wasting them. Cook them, carve them, eat them, donate them.
There are plenty of delicious recipes that you can view for free on the website to cook up a storm. Whatever you do with your pumpkin just don’t waste them. This is a free event and you can sign up to the event to take part and connect with others.
You could always also look into donating your carved pumpkins to local zoos or animal sanctuaries for animals to eat or for keepers to use as enrichment tools. Make sure to call ahead to see if they are accepting donations first!
3. Oxford Round Tables fireworks display
Every year Oxford Round Table hosts a firework display and every year it does not disappoint. With a huge bonfire, mulled wine and cider, delicious food, rides and a funfair and to follow up a spectacular fireworks display. Tickets are open now for the event and they fill up fast! Adults can expect to pay £10, over 65s £8, students £8, children 5-17 £5 and under 5s can enter for free.
4. Oxford Botanic Gardens
The Oxford Botanic Gardens are open year round where not only can you view a spectacular show of plants from around the world but you can also take part in their talks and workshops that are hosted throughout the month. During October you can expect to see a seed workshop, Autumn festival and Autumnal Science talks. All workshops are now available to book. Prices for entry to the gardens are £14 for adults and £12 for concession. It is important to note you cannot pre-book and so tickets can only be purchased on entry to the gardens.
Punting is a staple of Oxford culture and what better way to see the autumnal changes and Oxford wildlife than on a punt down the river with your friends or family. You can hire a punt and punt it yourselves or you can hire a punt with an experienced hand to take you down the river. You are able to punt from either Magdalen Bridge or Cherwell Boathouse, both offering a different route and views. Prices vary between the two starting areas.
You can expect to pay £30 per hour if you wish to punt yourselves and boats can hold up to 5 people including the punter. If you are wishing to hire a chauffeur this will cost £40 for half an hour from Magdalen. From Cherwell it is £22 punting yourself during the week and £24 at weekends. It is important to note you cannot hire a chauffeur from Cherwell, only Magdalen. Punting is a fantastic activity, especially during Autumn.
There are so many options to choose from when looking for activities to get involved in during Autumn/Halloween in Oxford. If you cannot find anything that appeals to you why not go for a crisp autumnal walk, host a themed dinner party, have a Halloween party or even just experiment with Autumnal or Halloween bakes! Whatever you do this Autumn I am sure it will be a good one.