Oxford Canal Festival 2024

Saturday September 21st 2024.  11:00 to 18:00
Aristotle Lane recreation ground. OX2 6UA

Planning work has started for this year's Oxford Canal Festival. A team of volunteers from the local community are working together to create an exciting programme.  More details will appear on this site in due course.

It will be similar to the 2022 festival described below but with some exciting innovations. Profits from the festival will go to support the Kilsby project.

Meanwhile please contact bill@manville.org.uk with any enquiries you may have

Announcing the inaugural
Oxford Canal Festival Poetry Competition 2024
'The Ways of Water'

We’ve opened the flood-gates! Bring us your watery poems, your free-flowing verses, your stormy stanzas, your tranquil tercets. Boaters, walkers, swimmers, canal enthusiasts, dreamers and the observers of the nature of water in all seasons, night or day, these are your stories drawn from the poetic bays of your imagination.
Tell us in your unique way: send your poems to us by 23:59 on Sunday, July 7th 2024.

We are delighted to announce that the judge this year will be
the canal laureate, Roy McFarlane FRSL.

Open to all.
18+ (Up to 3 poems. Fee: 1 poem £5.00; 2 poems £8.00; 3 poems £10.00)
12–18s (Free to enter – 2 poems max.)
Under 12s (Free to enter – 2 poems max.)

To enter and more information about rules & prizes via this link


Programme from 2022; 2024 programme is in development



We're looking forward to seeing you this year for a fabulous programme of activities for all the family. Meanwhile find out more about...



Oxford Canal Festival 2016

Join us for a wonderful celebration of the Oxford Canal  its attractions and its colourful history on Saturday September 21st September 2024. Proceeds will go towards the restoration of a community narrowboat for everyone to enjoy. And if you would like to lend us a hand, do contact us.

Saturday September 21st 2024


Canal walk

A one-hour Canal Heritage Walk with local historian, author and former long-term canalboat resident Mark Davies, departing 11am to arrive at Aristotle Lane at about 12 noon.

The route will include a newly refurbished railway swingbridge, a pivotal canal lock, and the culturally-rich suburb of
Jericho, combining social and economic history with insights into the canal’s  literary and living heritage.
No charge but contributions welcomed. Places are limited. Email to Book here and for joining instructions.

Dog Show

No previous experience required. Many classes - Waggiest Tail Pup, Best Buiscuit Catcher, Best Dressed Dog & Owner, Best Trick,  Most Look-alike Dog & Owner, and Best In Show!

Canal Olympics

Canal-themed fun and games. Bring friends and family. Something for everyone from boaters' arm wrestling to sack-of-coal race and Canal Tug challenge.


There will be two prize-giving and readings from the childrens and adults poetry prize winners, presented by Roy McFarlane. 

The day will host a packed programme:  history walk and talk, local schools' poets, the raucous and slightly rigged "University Challenged", storytelling, and a headline set from Roy McFarlane leading into a poetry open mic and finishing with a musical twist!


Community Stalls & Traders

Community stalls and a selection of local traders, including some on canal boats that will join in the festival along the nearby towpath.


Thank you to all our sponsors and partners. More info.

Please note the following safety Information about the Oxford Canal Festival

  • Inclusivity - we want the Oxford Canal Festival to be a safe space and strongly believe that everybody has the right to enjoy the festival experience free from harassment, microaggressions, abuse or intimidation. We are committed to ensuring that it is an inclusive space for communities targeted by discrimination such as racism, sexism,  transphobia, ableism and homophobia.
  • There is NO PARKING available at the festival, please arrive on a bike, on foot or by public transport.
  • Our medical team welcomes you and your injuries to our Medical Tent (please see map for location). Do pop in for any reason however minor it seems.
  • Should you lose your children, or should they lose you, please see our professional Lost Kids Team. The Lost Kids Tent is next to the Medical Tent. Please report lost kids to any steward or official immediately and follow their advice – we have procedures – and they work!
  • Oxford Canal Festival has a zero tolerance policy for drugs and legal highs, which is a legal requirement for licensing an event in the UK. The same laws apply within the festival site as on the outside.


ALL AFTERNOON 11am - 6pm


Live music

Fantastic music from live bands and DJs from both our Main Stage, and Community Bar.

Delicious Food & Drink

A range of delicous food from across the world, plus drinks from our Community Bar, and Hot Drinks from our coffee vendor.

Canal Cinema

Unique chance to view film shorts  about local history and the canal, plus more. 

Kids' activities & family fun

Arts and crafts tent, children's activities, face painting, bouncy castle & more.

Canal traditions

Inspired by narrow boats and the nature of the canal including design your own boat, mobile making, and some exciting street art. Canal memorabilia  - and a chance to have a go yourself.

Tooley's Boatyard

Information about Tooley’s Boatyard, the oldest working dry dock on the Inland Waterways, having been in continuous use since 1778. Find out more about ou open day our RYA boat school, which offers certificated RYA Helmsman Courses, boat experience days, rope workshops and hourly courses.



Oxford Canal Festival 2016



Instagram: @oxfordcanalfest