With live music, dance troupes, art and theatre and plenty of stalls with food and drink there’s plenty to do at the Cowley Road Carnival. The procession is the main visual showcase for the Oxford street party, each year having a special theme. Local schools put on displays alongside dancers, marching bands, street entertainers and much more. The carnival originated in 2000 as a way to help regenerate Cowley Road, since then it has become a regular event to help promote the area.
Once in the city it is easy to get around on foot, bike or by public transport to reach the carnival. If you are coming from further away London Heathrow and Gatwick Airport are the closest airports, or Birmingham International is an hour away from Oxford on the train. The festival is free to attend, although donations are encouraged to help keep it running. Dance and music stages are spread out along the area, the majority running from midday to 5pm. The procession normally starts at around 2pm, from one end of Cowley Road through to the other.
As this is a free public event there are no tickets required. The emphasis is very much on family and the community, making it appeal to all ages. Indoor venues may have restrictions due to licensing laws, however the street party is where the carnival attracts most people to enjoy the entertainment. Check the website and organise what music or dancing you wish to see, with stages spread at various locations along the road. Make sure you’re there for the start of the procession. If you’re looking to join the parade, or put any other show on during the festivities the website has a helpful “get involved” section.
If you are visiting Oxford, Cowley Road is in the city where you can choose from a selection of houses, flats, spare rooms, B&B’s and other private rentals. If you are staying elsewhere in the city you can reach the carnival on foot or public transport. Check our accommodation in Oxford.
Cowley Road is the main shopping area but while in the area take a look around Oxford Castle and other historical buildings. Join a guided tour of the prestigious Oxford University, walk through the beautiful grounds or visit one of its museums.
To find out about the fun at the carnival, including carnival day, news, venues photos and videos, getting involved with the procession, hosting a stall or event, the Cowley Road Carnival history, press releases and more check the Cowley Road Carnival website.
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