Mother's Day in Oxford 2024

Mother’s Day falls on March 10th this week, and if you’re looking to treat the mum, mother figure or even mum-friend in your life, there’s no better city than Oxford to mark the special day (indeed, it’s been particularly useful for this writer, whose birthday also falls on March 10th, which means that I’ve been craftily using this article as research for a joint birthday/Mother’s Day out). Whether Mum’s in the mood for an invigorating country walk or a decadent dinner, here are our top picks to celebrate her in style.

1: A Sophisticated High Tea

Coffee-house culture began in Oxford, and centuries later it’s still keeping the tradition of a good chinwag over a fine brew (or something stronger), going. Head to the scenic rooftop terrace of the Ashmolean restaurant for their Afternoon Tea, with a delectable assortment of sandwiches and sweets (and a glass of Prosecco for only £5 extra!). Or pop along to the Ivy for a tea for two offering fresh baked scones, mouth-watering cakes and tarts, and even some champagne if you’re able to splash out!

2: Getting Back to Nature

For the mums who love nothing more than whacking on the wellies and getting some fresh air, Cutteslowe Greenhouse is the place to be. Bird expert Nick guides a relaxed walk through the park’s green spaces, teaching you how to spot and appreciate the local flora and fauna. And if you’re feeling creative, why not book a spot at their Art and Ecology Printing Workshop, led by art facilitator Helen Edwards - you can even submit your artwork to be exhibited at the North Wall!

3. A Stroll in the Grounds

What’s better than a bouquet of flowers? How about 80 acres of flowers! If Mum has a green thumb, she’ll love the variety of floral displays on offer in the grounds of Waterperry Gardens, offering half price entry for mothers accompanied by children of any age. Pick up a new gardening project from their plant centre, explore the museum and gallery, and cap it off with lunch in their boutique teashop.

4. In the Mood for Dancing

There’s nothing like a good boogie to shake off parental stresses for the night, and Witney Soul Club is where it’s at if you’re looking to cut a rug. They’ll be spinning the very best soul, funk and disco selections on classic vinyl at the Three Horseshoes from 12 noon Sunday, so whether you’re shaking your hips or just sampling the hops, you can still get into the groove.

5. On the Market

For a truly unique Mother’s Day gift that also supports independent businesses, swing by the Tap Social where Indie Oxford Spring Market is bringing together art, ceramics, jewellery, skincare and more, all from local creatives. There will also be a crafting station for younger kids organised by Letterbox Learning, with proceeds going to Yellow Submarine to support children with learning difficulties. Bring mum along and make a day of it with in-house pizza, beer and baked treats - or come by yourself if you want to keep her present a surprise!

6. Remarkable Women

With Mother’s Day taking place during Oxford’s International Women’s Festival, the UPP offers a very special screening on March 10th. Olive Gibbs: A Remarkable Woman chronicles the life and times of campaigner for nuclear disarmament and twice mayor of Oxford Olive Gibbs; with an intro from the filmmakers and a Q and A featuring Gibbs’ son Simon and historian Liz Woolley, it’s the perfect way to elevate women who inspire us, past and present.

7. Exquisite Exhibits

If you’re in the mood for some edifying artworks, this week marks the opening of Red Clay, a five week artists’ residency at OVADA. Offering workshops, seminars, and installations from a collective of multidisciplinary artists, the project examines women’s relationships to and experiences of mental, physical and hormonal health. The programme is intergenerational and queer friendly, and intends to spark conversation and the sharing of stories, ideal for those wanting to make Mother’s Day a little more meditative.

8. Quiz Whiz

Does Mother really know best? Put her knowledge to the test at a good old fashioned pub quiz. The Gardener’s Arms hosts its legendary Mother's Day quiz this Sunday, with uniquely madcap themed rounds and only the finest veggie/vegan pub grub - get your team together to get your hands on the coveted Cardboard Penguin. Or play for cash (and food!) at the White Rabbit, where you can flex your trivia muscles while sharing in some delicious fresh-made pizza.

9. Wine and Dine

You can’t go wrong with a lavish lunch or dinner to mark the occasion, and Oxford’s eateries have a bevy of choices to whet your appetite. The Watermill Theatre’s picturesque bar and restaurant boasts a luxurious set menu featuring chicken liver parfait, filo of salmon, haddock and sea bass and a chocolate and orange cream bombe, all for £33.50. The Trout Inn offers its own set menu for £33.95, including pan-fried scallops, indulgent baked Camembert and their signature Sunday roast, while Gusto Italian’s Sunday Sharing Roast (£45.95 for two) comes with a scratch card to win a gift for your next visit, with complimentary cocktails and desserts up for grabs.

10. Movies with Mum

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our own little Mother’s Day giveaway. We’ve teamed up with the Phoenix Picturehouse to offer one lucky cinephile and their mum a night at the movies, with 2 cinema tickets, 2 drinks and a large popcorn to share. We’ve put together a list of cinema history’s most iconic mothers and matriarchs - all you need to do is tell us where they’re from! Have a look at our competitions page for full terms and conditions.

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