Best Things To Do In Tillsonburg Ontario

Looking for the best things to do in Tillsonburg on a weekend getaway?

Tillsonburg is located in the heart of Oxford County, between London and Kitchener Waterloo in Ontario Southwest.

The charming town of Tillsonburg is a food lovers paradise, featuring local food markets, historic museums, scenic drives, family-friendly farm experiences, and a finger-licking-good restaurant scene.

Use our “Things To Do In Tillsonburg Guide,” to plan a fun weekend getaway to one of Ontario’s most photogenic small towns.

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Things To Do In Tillsonburg Ontario Year Round

The town of Tillsonburg is located in the heart of Oxford County, a rural farm region located between London and Kitchener Waterloo, 170 km from Toronto.

Downtown Tillsonburg has a charming main street, featuring local merchants, restaurants, bars and bustling shopping mall.

Our favourite time of year to visit Tillsonburg, Ontario is in the Summer and Fall.

Between June and September the weather is warm, drawing tourists who are keen on farm hopping, outdoor patio dining, picnics in the water park, and scenic cycles.

In the Fall, Tillsonburg transforms into a cavalcade of colour as rural roads light up with colourful red, orange and yellow coloured trees. During the harvest season just before Thanksgiving you’ll find farms offering kid-friendly fun at pumpkin patches.

In the Winter keep cozy by visiting local restaurants, museums, galleries, catch a film at Broadway Cinemas or live show at Theatre Tillsonburg. If you’re keen to embrace the cold lace up your skates at the town’s outdoor ice rink.

In the Spring visit Tillsonburg to tap into Haye’s Maple Syrup Farm and harvest early blooms at Makkink’s Flower Farm.

Tillsonburg is a historic town in the heart of Oxford County, Ontario Southwest.
Tillsonburg is a historic town in the heart of Oxford County, Ontario Southwest.

Tillsonburg Annual Festivals

If you’re planning your first visit to Tillsonburg in Ontario Southwest we suggest planning your trip around a fun annual festival.

  • Turtlefest: this 2-day festival happens every Father’s Day weekend in June and combines a huge downtown block party on Friday night with a host of family-friendly events on Saturday.
  • Canada Day: From a pancake breakfast at Station Arts Centre to old-fashioned carnival games on the lawn at Annandale House, you’ll find plenty to do on the long weekend in July.
  • Wings and Wheels: Share some aviation and automobile history with your family while you enjoy the roar of the legendary Harvards in August.
  • Ribfest: Enjoy mouth-watering ribs and live entertainment in Memorial Park in September hosted by the Tillsonburg Thunder hockey team.
  • Tillsonburg Fair: A classic agricultural fair featuring amusement rides, games and a demolition derby in August.
  • Santa Claus Parade: Organized by the Tillsonburg Optimist Club every November, this festive parade along Broadway features everything you’d expect – cute kids, floats, marching bands and of course, Santa Claus.

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Fun Things To Do In Tillsonburg

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Tillsonburg, Ontario you’ll want to plan a road trip, exploring businesses within the pedestrian-friendly downtown as well as farms and other fun rural attractions located a short drive away.

Meredith Maywood from Tourism Oxford offered the following advice to first time visitors to Tillsonburg, “Pack a cooler as you are coming to an area that has a rich farming history. With all of the amazing items produced here we have a thriving culinary scene, from farm fresh produce to artisanal cheeses. Be sure to pack your closed toe sturdy shoes if you’re planning on visiting a farm. During the warmer months of the year, bring a picnic basket and blanket to enjoy an al fresco meal at Coronation or ParticiPark.”

If you like an active adventure Tillsonburg offers scenic cycling and hiking trails including the Trans Canada Trail and a connected trail network weaving throughout the community. Try the Carroll Trail or Kinsmen Participark.

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The best accommodation in Tillsonburg can be found in the well-appointed rooms at The Mill Inn.
The best accommodation in Tillsonburg can be found in the well-appointed rooms at The Mill Inn.

Oxford County Hotels

While you can visit on a day trip from Toronto we suggest booking a weekend to enjoy all that Tillsonburg has to offer.

Oxford County is home to one of our favourite Ontario Luxury Boutique Hotels as well as historic inns and budget options for families.

  • The Mill Inn: offers Tillsonburg’s best accommodation, located in a historic Grist Mill. Enjoy newly renovated suites, onsite restaurant with spacious outdoor patio, and live music venue in the basement.
  • Elm Hurst Inn & Spa: plan a romantic getaway at this scenic luxury boutique hotel near Ingersoll. Elm Hurst Inn features a full-service spa, fine dining restaurant, bar & lounge and contemporary suites. Check Reviews.
  • Holiday Inn Express Woodstock: this corporate hotel in Woodstock is perfect for families as it offers an indoor pool featuring a slide. There’s also access to a 24 hour gym. Check Reviews.
Visit tasty stops on the Oxford County Cheese Trail in Tillsonburg!
Visit tasty stops on the Oxford County Cheese Trail in Tillsonburg!

Oxford County Cheese Trail

The Oxford County Cheese Trail is one of our favourite culinary weekend getaways in Ontario.

Oxford County is known as the dairy capital of Canada, home to a high concentration of cheese producers such as Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, Mountainoak Cheese, Golspie Dairy, Red Dragon Dairy and Bright Cheese and Butter.

Visitors can easily enjoy the Oxford County Cheese Trail on a romantic weekend getaway or as a tasty educational adventure with kids. Visit over 25 businesses in Woodstock, Ingersoll and Tillsonburg including cheese producers, organic farms, award-winning restaurants, craft brewery, historic museum, artisan gift shops, spa and luxury boutique hotels.

If it’s your first time visiting Oxford County we suggest planning your visit during Big Cheese Days, which is held every other year in May.

Things to do in Tillsonburg for wellness lovers: Yoga and brunch at Indigo Lounge.
Things to do in Tillsonburg for wellness lovers: Yoga and brunch at Indigo Lounge.

Indigo Lounge

264 Tillson Ave, 519-688-1188

Are you a fitness fan looking for fun things to do in Tillsonburg?

Indigo Lounge is a wellness centre offering yoga, meditation and fitness classes as well as holistic healing services like massage, acupuncture, life coaching and osteopathy.

Indigo Lounge also offers a delicious cafe serving healthy organic meals with options for those who are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. Highlights from the Indigo Lounge menu include Nepalese Dumplings, Dill Pickle Pizza, Apple Butter Bacon Burger, Pad Thai with Zucchini Noodles, and Vegan Taco Salad.

During the warmer months of the year enjoy sipping a vanilla chai almond milk latte on the sun-soaked outdoor patio.

Shop for local arts & crafts at The Station Arts Centre Tillsonburg.
Shop for local arts & crafts at The Station Arts Centre Tillsonburg.

Station Arts Centre Tillsonburg

41 Bridge St W, 519-842-6151

Centrally located in downtown Tillsonburg, The Station Arts Centre is a historical site in a former 1800’s train station. The Great Western Railway Station was built in 1879 and is located on its original site. The Tillsonburg Lake Erie & Pacific C.P. Station was moved to an adjacent property in 1994 from its original location on King Street.

When you first walk into “The Station” as it’s affectionately referred to by locals, you’ll be in a cream-coloured brick building that was built by The Great Western Railway. The town’s first station was just a short walk from nearby hotels, bustling Market Square and a large residential area.

Visit this multi-purpose centre with rotating exhibits in the art gallery, instructional classes, Baggage Room Gift Shop, pottery studio, and visitor information.

Meet the friendly Amish community at Tillsonburg Farmers Market on weekends.
Meet the friendly Amish community at Tillsonburg Farmers Market on weekends.

Tillsonburg Farmers Market

Say hello to Oxford County’s friendly farmers on Saturday mornings between 8am-12noon at Tillsonburg Farmers Market.

The seasonal outdoor market is located at Station Arts Centre, showcasing over 20 vendors, many of who are from the local Amish community, who sell quality fresh produce, baked goods, preserves, cut flowers, eggs, maple syrup and frozen chicken, chocolate and crafts.

Things To Do In Tillsonburg for Fromage Fans: Two Girls and a Cheese Shop
Things To Do In Tillsonburg for Fromage Fans: Two Girls and a Cheese Shop

Two Girls and a Cheese Shop

20 Brock St W, 519-688-2228

Two Girls and a Cheese Shop is an artisanal fromage and gourmet food shop located in downtown Tillsonburg.

Best-friends, hairdressers, and now business partners, Kelly and Tracy have been working together for 13 years. Grocery trips to the cheese section sparked the idea of opening Tillsonburg’s very first cheese shop.

When Covid hit they could no longer work as hairdressers so the entrepreneurs shifted their focus from blowouts to brie.

The shop sells local cheeses from Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese and Mountainoak Cheese, as well as a perfect mix of Canadian and global fromage favourites. Two Girls and a Cheese Shop also sell jellies, mustards, honey, olives, nuts, and chocolate…perfect for your next homemade charcuterie board.

Betty's Marketplace in downtown Tillsonburg, Ontario.
Betty’s Marketplace in downtown Tillsonburg, Ontario.

Betty’s Marketplace

87 Broadway, 226-970-3697

Are you a shopaholic looking for things to do in Tillsonburg on a weekend getaway?

Betty’s Marketplace is an adorable shop featuring great gift ideas that are made by over 80 artisans, including gourmet food, baby care, fashion, and decor. You’ll find seasonal decor items, sweet-smelling candles, tasty snacks and comfy clothing.

Betty’s also runs an online resale shop for clothing, toys, and footwear, perfect for local thrifters.

Things To Do In Tillsonburg For Green Thumbs: Makkink’s Flower Farm "pick your own bouquet."
Things To Do In Tillsonburg For Green Thumbs: Makkink’s Flower Farm “pick your own bouquet.”

Makkink’s Flower Farm

164604 Kellett Rd, 226-993-2048

Over a decade ago, Hilde Makkink and her family immigrated to Canada from Holland. They settled on a hobby farm in Tillsonburg where they would raise their four boys and sell eye-popping sunflowers.

Today, Makkink’s Flower Farm has grown and expanded to include 45 different varieties of flowers, including everything from peonies and ranunculus in the spring to dahlias, zinnias, and snapdragons.

The original farm shop has also been expanded to make room for a charming bakery cafe. Shop for fresh bouquets while enjoying the sweet smell of soaps and candles, then grab a coffee, sandwich or pastry to enjoy on the pretty porch.

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Tillsonburg with a group of friends, book tickets to enjoy Makkink’s Flower Farm cut-your-own flower experience. Friendly staff will show you how to properly cut the flowers and handle them before giving you a bucket and clippers to take into the field.

d'Lish Kitchen Cafe in Tillsonburg.
d’Lish Kitchen Cafe in Tillsonburg.

d’Lish Kitchen Cafe

518 Broadway #1, 519-688-2080

d’Lish Kitchen Cafe first opened its doors in Tillsonburg in 2015.

The local favourite is known for serving tasty comfort food, from flavour-packed bowls to burritos, sandwiches, salads and smoothies. It’s the perfect eatery to enjoy lunch if you’re following a vegan, vegetarian or gluten free diet.

Highlights from the d’Lish Kitchen Cafe menu include 3 Pigs Sandwich (stuffed with ham, bacon and pork schnitzel), Southwest Bowl, Cobb Salad, Buffalo Cauliflower Wrap, Dill Pickle Fries, Pierogies, and Lasagna.

Tillsonburg Garden Gate.
Tillsonburg Garden Gate.

Tillsonburg Garden Gate

167 Simcoe St, 519-688-0808

Are you a green thumb looking for things to do in Tillsonburg, Ontario?

Tillsonburg Garden Gate is a one-stop-shop for gardening essentials, home decor, landscaping basics and inspired floral design.

Locally owned by the Fenn family since 2011, Tillsonburg Garden Gate’s nursery sells beautiful perennials, ornamental grasses, fruit trees, flowering bushes, and hanging baskets.

Skip inside the gift shop and you’ll find potted succulents, patio pillows, and chic interior design items like artwork, photo frames and tableware.

In the floral design shop you can purchase fresh arrangements to celebrate a special occasion or to simply add a pop of colour to your kitchen or dining room.

Locals line up at The Mill Eatery, ranked as the best restaurant in Tillsonburg.
Locals line up at The Mill Eatery, ranked as the best restaurant in Tillsonburg.

The Mill Eatery

20 John Pound Rd, 519-842-1878

The Mill Inn is Tillsonburg’s best accommodation, offering chic newly refurbished suites, a wildly popular restaurant with spacious outdoor patio and fun late night music venue.

The popular inn is located in a historic Grist Mill, which was originally built in 1878 by the founding family of Tillsonburg: the Tillson’s.

The Mill Eatery’s cozy dining room embraces its historic roots with rustic wood walls, tables and accents. In the winter sit in the dining room by the fireplace to keep warm, or on a hot summer day enjoy views overlooking Otter Creek from the spacious sun-soaked patio.

The popular Tillsonburg restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re visiting in the morning, order a cup of coffee and chow down on Eggs Benny, Steak & Eggs, or a sky-high Pancake Plate.

Highlights from The Mill Eatery lunch and dinner menu include Lake Erie Pickeral, Broasted Chicken, Coconut Shrimp, Bacon Wrapped Scallops, Blackened Salmon & Strawberry Salad, Apple Cheddar Pulled Pork, Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla, Pork Schnitzel, and St. Louis Baby Back Ribs.

Things To Do In Tillsonburg at Night: Paddy's Underground Live Concert.
Things To Do In Tillsonburg at Night: Paddy’s Underground Live Concert.

Paddy’s Underground Gastropub

20 John Pound Rd, 519-842-1878

Looking for fun things to do in Tillsonburg at night?

Skip down the stairs of The Mill Inn & Eatery and you’ll find an upscale music venue, Paddy’s Underground Gastropub.

Upon arrival pop by the bar to order a glass of Ontario VQA wine, local craft beer or a craft cocktail then grab a seat at a high top table near the stage to hoot and holler with the live band and friendly locals.

Tillsonburg’s best live music bar hosts weekly open mic nights, local musicians as well as traveling bands on tour.

Check the performance schedule at The Mill Underground to buy tickets to a live concert on your next visit to Tillsonburg.

Esco Pazzo is a new upscale Italian restaurant at Bridges Golf Course.
Esco Pazzo is a new upscale Italian restaurant at Bridges Golf Course.

Esco Pazzo at Bridges Golf Course

101 John Pound Rd, 519-842-4142

Polish off your favourite putter and driver as one of the best things to do in Tillsonburg for links lovers is a visit to Bridges Golf Course.

Founded in 1925, expanded to 18-holes in 2009, and transitioned to a 12-Hole, par 47 course in 2022, The Bridges at Tillsonburg offers beautiful views and challenging gameplay for golf enthusiasts.

With well-manicured greens, challenging elevation changes, and lush fairways lined with old growth trees, The Bridges at Tillsonburg has been delicately carved out of nature, straddling Big Otter Creek.

In 2023 the original Clubhouse has been transformed into an Italian restaurant called Esco Pazzo.

The fine dining restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a romantic date night in Tillsonburg. Pair a bottle of fine wine with beautifully plated Caprese Salad, Arancini, Veal Osso Bucco and Ricotta Gnocchi Bolognese.

Fun Things To Do In Tillsonburg For Kids: Eat breakfast overlooking the runway at Skyway Cafe.
Fun Things To Do In Tillsonburg For Kids: Eat breakfast overlooking the runway at Skyway Cafe.

Skyway Café

244411 Airport Rd, 519-842-4444

Brunch at Skyway Cafe is one of the best things to do in Tillsonburg for flight junkies and families with kids.

The popular all-day-breakfast joint is located inside Tillsonburg Flying Club. Enjoy breakfast or lunch while watching planes come in for a landing or take off.

During the warm summer months grab a seat on the scenic outdoor patio, where you might spot a historic Harvard. If you’re keen to view Tillsonburg from a few thousand feet above, book a flight with the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association.

Highlights from the Skyway Cafe’s all-day breakfast menu include Omelettes, Breakfast Wraps, Pancakes, and French Toast. At lunch you’ll find healthy wraps, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers and poutine.

Shop for local produce at Bre's Fresh Market.
Shop for local produce at Bre’s Fresh Market.

Bre’s Fresh Market

224276 Ostrander Rd, 519-544-2737

Bre’s Fresh Market in Tillsonburg sells local food not only from their farm, but from neighbouring producers in the tri-county area.

The diverse variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables in the Tillsonburg area inspired Bre at a young age. She and her family have continued to build and expand on her business every year, recently launching a new bakery.

Visit Bre’s Fresh Market and you’ll find local fruit, vegetables, preserves, baked goods, frozen meats, and of course Oxford County’s famous dairy. If you’re looking to taste what Bre’s family grows onsite be sure to snatch raspberries, pumpkins, beans, sweet corn, broccoli and cauliflower when they are in season.

If you’re looking for tasting things to do in Tillsonburg for kids, Bre’s Fresh Market hosts fun classes throughout the year like Sugar Cooking Decorating.

Enjoy a taste of the Caribbean at Cool Convenience in Tillsonburg.

Cool Convenience

150 North Street E, 519-842-5748

Cool Convenience is rural convenience store in Tillsonburg surrounded by breezy golden corn fields.

The historic corner store was purchased in 2021 by a friendly family from Scarborough who have transformed the business into a Caribbean one-stop-shop.

Skip inside and you’ll find convenience store staples like OLG tickets, candy bars, soda and chips, alongside spicy hot sauces, jerk seasoning, plantain chips, and peanut punch.

Cool Convenience has become a neighbourhood hangout for the many migrant farm workers who work the fields in Oxford County, many of whom come to Canada from Jamaica, Trinidad and the Dominican and are keen for a taste of home.

You can’t miss the place while driving down North Street East as the smoker outside perfumes the air with the sweet smell of Jamaican jerk.

Order take out to eat at home or grab a seat at the picnic table and chat with the friendly barbecue masters while noshing on jerk chicken, jerk pork, curried goat, oxtail or roti.

Sip craft cocktails and snack on Bitterballen at Nectar, a Dutch restaurant in Tillsonburg.
Sip craft cocktails and snack on Bitterballen at Nectar, a Dutch restaurant in Tillsonburg.

Nectar

117 Broadway, 519-409-9099

Our favourite spot to sip craft cocktails and nosh on late night snacks is at Nectar in Tillsonburg.

The family-run restaurant has been serving the community since 2020. The friendly Dutch family cook up classic bistro fair as well as unique dishes from their native Holland like crispy Bitterballen dunked in spicy mustard.

Things to do in Tillsonburg for history buffs: Annandale NHS.
Things to do in Tillsonburg for history buffs: Annandale NHS.

Annandale NHS

30 Tillson Ave, 519-688-3009

Are you a history buff looking for things to do in Tillsonburg, Ontario?

Annandale National Historic Site was originally built in 1880 by Edwin Delevan Tillson, and his wife Mary Ann as part of Mr. Tillson’s retirement project, Annandale Farm. The Tillsons officially moved into the historic house in 1883. 

Today, the interior of Annandale House is a living monument to the Victorian Aesthetic Art Movement. The design trend had its roots in England, sweeping through North America during the 1880s.

Within Annandale House, there is an abundance of decoration representative of the 1880s Aesthetic art movement. Aestheticism can be found in the wall coverings, painted ceilings, fireplaces, stained and etched glass and carved into the woodwork. Annandale House is one of the few surviving examples of homes decorated in this style in Canada, which is why it was designated a National Historic Site in 1997.

Visit Annandale NHS and tip toe up 3 floors of restored and furnished period rooms, boating over 18,000 artifacts. Be sure to stop by the Pratt Gallery, which showcases the work of local artists as well as items from the museum’s permanent collection.

Annandale NHS offers fun programming for kids as well as adult learning opportunities like workshops, lunch and learns, guest lecturers, and afternoon tea.

Celebrate Oxford County's dairy industry at Dad's Ice Cream.
Celebrate Oxford County’s dairy industry at Dad’s Ice Cream.

Dad’s Ice Cream

If you’re traveling to Tillsonburg with a sweet tooth there’s no better way to celebrate in Ontario’s Dairy Capital than at Dad’s Ice Cream.

The McLaughlin sisters, Kim, Kelly, and Kristine fell in love with Shaw’s Ice Cream when they started scooping Shaw’s at Dad’s Ice Cream. In 2001, the sisters purchased Shaw’s Ice Cream in St. Thomas, which has now moved production to their hometown of Tillsonburg.

Walk up to the window at Dad’s Ice Cream and order a cone, sundae, or shake in a variety of unique and traditional flavours. Popular scoops include Banana Cream Pie, Caramel Turtles & Fudge, Country Pumpkin, Raspberry Truffles, and Cinnamon Bun.

Coyle’s Country Store sells heaps of homemade fudge prepared with local dairy.
Coyle’s Country Store sells heaps of homemade fudge prepared with local dairy.

Coyle’s Country Store

Airport Rd & ON-19, 519-842-5945

Coyle’s Country Store first opened in 1899, later incorporated in 1924. The historic family run country store is a must visit on the Oxford County Cheese Trail.

Shannon Coyle, 4th generation manager of the historic Tillsonburg store shared, “Through our years of incorporation we were a wholesale business with a variety of manufactured products such our own dairy malt shake, Tango. In the mid 1950’s, my grandfather, Jay Coyle and his brothers grew an experimental peanut crop, which they harvested and roasted to produce the first Ontario grown peanuts. My grandfather had a great entrepreneurial spirit and saw the vision of transitioning from a wholesale food market to retail. In 1979, he built our current store combining his knowledge of wholesale and retail and his love for community and service. We have continued this tradition of providing a unique shopping experience whether looking for food supplies or giftware.”

Coyle’s Country Store is very unique in how they display food and giftware, all in a scenic country setting. The kitchen team make homemade fudge onsite using local cream and butter. They also roast over 50,000 pounds of nuts each year!

Shannon added, “We make a special Cheese Trail Mix featuring chocolate almonds and sell popular local cheeses. Our giftware is always changing, every visit is a new surprise and during the holidays our store transforms into a magical Christmas wonderland.”

Lake Lisgar Waterpark is one of the most fun things to do in Tillsonburg during summer.
Lake Lisgar Waterpark is one of the most fun things to do in Tillsonburg during summer.

Lake Lisgar Waterpark

8 Ross St, 519-688-5712

Looking for fun things to do in Tillsonburg on a sunny summer day?

Family-friendly Lake Lisgar Waterpark is the place to be in Tillsonburg to keep cool on a hot day.

The accessible heated pool is staffed by qualified life guards and features a 186′ giant twister waterslide. Admission also includes inflatable rafts and slides, inflatable tubes, fun spray features.

If you don’t swim not to worry, the spacious grassy area is perfect for a picnic and hte pool has a zero beach entry. The season usually runs from Father’s Day weekend to Labour Day.

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