The 11g Instant Clients are available for download off OTN, at least for Windows and Linux 32bit. Nothing for Max OSX users though, and I didn't check the others.
The "What's New for SQL*Plus 11g" here includes goodies like automatic error logging to a table and querying BLOB and BFILE columns.
The licence for Instant Client is less restrictive than the OTN licence for the 11g database server, so you could use it in production, for example against XE.
Merry Christmas folks.