Here in South Oxfordshire, Christmas is a special time of year. Not only is there the usual festive spirit but it also means that we get treated to the Christmas specials of Midsomer Murders.

Over the years we’ve had some right crackers (get it?), including The Christmas Haunting from series 16 and the chilling Ghosts of Christmas past. And there are sure to be some repeats to enjoy over the holiday season.

Venturing outdoors, at this time of year South Oxfordshire is a wonderful place to visit, with plenty of activities and events happening.

Stained glass window at Dorchester Abbey

Stained glass window at Dorchester Abbey.

On the 19 December at Dorchester Abbey (a filming location for Midsomer, of course), you can experience the majesty of Handel’s Messiah by the Orchestra of St John, conducted by John Lubbock.

Dorchester Abbey is built on the site of a Saxon cathedral and was formerly a Norman abbey church. Founded back in 1140 by the Bishop of Lincoln, it is a glorious example of Norman architecture and one of the region’s most important historical buildings.

The week before you can also enjoy a concert of Christmas music, also by the Orchestra of St John at the Abbey. It will include new music composed by Jeremy Jackman as well as some classic Christmas tunes.

There are also Christmas concerts at the Trinity Church in Abingdon, where you can enjoy carols followed by mince pies and wine, as well as a Christmas concert at the Christ Church Centre in Henley. Regular readers will know that Henley is also a popular filming location for the show.

On New Year’s Eve, come back to the Abbey for a series of waltzes and polkas by Johann Strauss Junior along with arias from Die Fledermaus, sung by young soprano Sophie Pullen.

Non-musical Christmas events taking place include Santa Specials with mulled wine and mince pies on the Chinnor and Princes Risborough railway, as well as the Cholsey and Wallingford railway. Wallingford is perhaps the spiritual home of Midsomer, doubling up as Causton in the show and also home to world famous author Agatha Christie for many years.

And after all that activity, what better way to end the day than by curling up in front of the TV and watching your favourite episodes of Midsomer on the box? It’s going to be a great Christmas.