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Things to do in Oxfordshire

Blenheim Palace with Sundial in Foreground
Blenheim Palace

Oxfordshire is situated in the southern part of the heart of England, with history stretching back to Saxon times.

The county is delightfully rural, over seventy per cent is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Rivers Cherwell and Thames (or Isis as it is known to locals) flow through Oxfordshire, creating water meadows, river valley walks and lush verdant countryside.

Jackson Building from Graduates Garden, Trinity College, Oxford
Trinity College, Oxford

County Town

The County Town of Oxford is known throughout the world for its University - the second oldest in Europe. It's also known for its motor car production. Some of the finest architecture in Britain can be found within the city. The city's Asmolean Museum is Britain's oldest public museum while the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens was the first Botanic Garden in the country.

Buscot Lock and River Thames
Buscot Lock and River Thames

Just north of Oxford is magnificent Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The nearby town of Woodstock is home of the Oxfordshire County Museum. Nearby, the peaceful village of Blaydon is Sir Winston's final resting place.

A landscape in rural Oxfordshire with fields and meadows and a hamlet in the distance
View of Oxfordshire Countryside

Walks, Trails and History

In north Oxfordshire, there are tourist information offices in the market towns of Banbury and Bicester. You can call in for details of circular walks and village trails in the area.

To learn more about the area visit Bygones Museum in Banbury.

Sulgrave Manor is a popular destination for a day out, and for gardeners, a visit to Brook Cottage Garden offers a tranquil and inspirational treat.

All the family will enjoy an outing to historic Broughton Castle.

River flows through Oxfordshire countryside in autumn
River flows through Oxfordshire countryside

The Oxford Canal flows through this area, from Oxford to Coventry, passing historic churches and pretty villages along the way.

Chipping Norton is Oxfordshire's highest town. It's a prosperous market town, based on its textile industry.

Autumn trees with golden leaves in Blenheim Park, Woodstock
Blenheim Park, Woodstock

Just north of Chipping Norton is the site of the Rollright Stones, which date from the Neolithic period.

The Cotswolds

West Oxfordshire is where the county meets the Cotswolds. Burford is a beautiful old town which continues to delight its visitors. In Witney, you can visit Witney and District Museum to learn the history of this famous blanket making town.

Nearby at Cogges Manor Farm you are sure to have an interesting visit. The museum presents a full programme of events throughout the season. Also at Long Hanborough there is the Oxford Bus Museum. There is Oxfordshire public transport and Morris Motors from the 1920s to the 1980s are on display here.

White Horse Country

The ancient towns of the Vale of the White Horse - Abingdon, Faringdon and Wantage are well worth visiting, as each is steeped in history.

White Horse country is situated between the Ridgeway and the River Thames. The name refers to Britain's oldest chalk figure - dating from around 1000 BC - which you can see at White Horse Hill near Uffington. The area has many lovely walks, with miles of footpaths and pleasant villages with friendly country pubs.

Buscot Park, with its beautiful grounds and water garden, offers a relaxing day out.

Garden with stone steps and statues in Buscot Park
Buscot Park

Admirers of William Morris and the arts and crafts movement should take the opportunity to visit his home Kelmscott Manor. At Wantage you can find out more about the Vale of the White Horse at the Vale and Downland Museum.

The ruins of Minster Lovell Hall in Oxfordshire
Ruins of Minster Lovell Hall

South Oxfordshire

In the South Oxfordshire you will find the towns of Didcot, Henley on Thames and Wallingford.

Didcot is still an important railway junction town, even today. You can visit Didcot Railway Centre, a living museum of the Great Western Railway.

Preserved British GWR 4-6-0 steam locomotive
Didcot Railway Centre

Henley on Thames is a lovely old town, dating back to the 12th century as a river crossing and port. Today it is famous for its annual event in July, the Henley Royal Regatta, reminiscent of times passed, but still part of England's proud heritage.

River Thames at Abingdon
River Thames at Abingdon

For a real historical experience visit nearby Stonor where a priest hole used during the Civil War can still be seen.

Greys Court is a great example of an historic home being preserved for the nation by the National Trust.



Days out in Oxfordshire

  • Ashmolean Museum
    The Ashmolean Museum was founded in 1683; it is the worlds first University museum and the oldest public museum in Britain. It is situated in the heart of Oxford.
    Ashmolean Museum
  • Blenheim Palace
    Blenheim Palace was built for the National Hero John 1st Duke of Marlborough and his Duchess Sarah, given by Queen Anne as a gift in reward for his military services.
    Blenheim Palace
  • Brook Cottage Garden
    The 4-acre garden has been formed by an architect and a plantswoman since 1964 on the west facing slope of a valley. Originally the site comprised a paved courtyard surrounded on three sides by the 17th century Hornton stone house and barn.
    Brook Cottage Garden
  • Broughton Castle
    The home of Lord and Lady Saye and Sele, and owned by the same family for over 600 years.
    Broughton Castle
  • Buscot Park and the Faringdon Collection
    Buscot Park was built by Edward Loveden Townsend in the 1770's. The house is a dignified example of late 18th-century taste for Italianate country houses.
    Buscot Park and the Faringdon Collection
  • Bygones Museum
    The museum houses a unique collection of antiques and memorabilia gathered together by the owners over a period of sixty years.
    Bygones Museum
  • Chastleton House
    Chastleton House is one of England's finest and most complete Jacobean houses. It is filled with a mixture of rare and everyday objects, furniture and textiles collected since its completion in 1612.
    Chastleton House
  • Cogges Manor Farm
    This hauntingly beautiful historic Cotswold farmstead is evolving into a 21st century smallholding and place to find out about producing real food.
    Cogges Manor Farm
  • Didcot Railway Centre
    Now, at Didcot, half way between Bristol and London, members of the Great Western Society have created a living museum of the Great Western Railway.
    Didcot Railway Centre
  • Farmer Gow's
    Friendly, fun and a real hands on experience, Farmer Gows is a great place for a family day out. Meet the Animals is held daily at 11am and 2pm.
    Farmer Gow's
  • Farnborough Hall
    Farnborough Hall was acquired by the Holbech family in 1684, and the honey-coloured, Grade I listed, two-storey mansion was built shortly after that.
    Farnborough Hall
  • Fawley Court
    Fawley Court has a history that dates back to the 11th Century, the current house being designed by the world famous Sir Christopher Wren in 1683.
    Fawley Court
  • Greys Court
    Greys Court is a picturesque and intriguing house, originally 14th-century, with a beautiful courtyard and a tower surviving from 1347. It was later involved with Jacobean court intrigue.
    Greys Court
  • Modern Art Oxford
    Modern Art Oxford is the leading centre for modern and contemporary art in the South East, with a national and international reputation.
  • Museum of Oxford
    Housed in the historic Town Hall, the Museum of Oxford tells the story of the people of the city and the University.
    Museum of Oxford
  • Museum of the History of Science
    The Museum of the History of Science houses an unrivalled collection of historic scientific instruments in the world's oldest surviving purpose-built museum building - the Old Ashmolean on Broad Street, Oxford.
    Museum of the History of Science
  • Oxford Bus Museum
    The Museum has on display more than a century of Oxfordshire public transport and Morris Motors vehicles. There over 30 vehicles on display in the Bus Museum, most of which are in the ownership of the Museum.
    Oxford Bus Museum
  • Oxford University Museum Of Natural History
    The Oxford University Museum of Natural History has an amazing collection - including crabs collected by Charles Darwin on his voyages!
    Oxford University Museum Of Natural History
  • Oxfordshire Museum
    The Oxfordshire Museum is situated in the heart of the historic town of Woodstock.
    Oxfordshire Museum
  • Pitt Rivers Museum
    One of Oxford's most popular attractions, famous for its period atmosphere and outstanding collections from many cultures around the world, past and present.
    Pitt Rivers Museum
  • Rousham House & Gardens
    Rousham's landscape garden should be a place of pilgrimage for students of the work of William Kent (1685-1748). Rousham represents the first phase of English landscape design.
    Rousham House & Gardens
  • Stonor
    Stonor has been the home of Lord and Lady Camoys and the Stonor family for over eight hundred years. It is set the beautiful Chiltern Hills with commanding views of the surrounding deer park.
    Stonor
  • Sulgrave Manor
    Sulgrave Manor is a superb example of a modest manor and garden of the time of Shakespeare, and was home to the ancestors of George Washington.
    Sulgrave Manor
  • Tom Browns School Museum
    The Museum is housed in the 380 year-old schoolroom which was featured in the novel "Tom Brown's School Days", first published in 1857. Its author, Thomas Hughes, was born in Uffington.
    Tom Browns School Museum
  • Upton House & Gardens
    Upton House is a late seventeenth century house, built of the mellow local stone, which was remodelled by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearstead, after his purchase of the property in 1927.
    Upton House & Gardens
  • Vale and Downland Museum and Visitor Centre
    The collections held at the Museum contain geological, natural history, archaeological, social history and contemporary objects that reflect the Vale of White Horse today.
    Vale and Downland Museum and Visitor Centre
  • Witney & District Museum
    Opened in 1996, the Witney & District Museum is situated in the centre of the town, along the High Street. The large ground floor gallery houses a long term exhibition, showing the history of Witney and the surrounding area.
    Witney & District Museum



Places to Visit in Oxfordshire

  • Abingdon
    You are walking with the past when you visit Abingdon. Sometimes the Thames, which flows under the ancient bridge here, brings with it a mysterious fog.
    Abingdon
  • Banbury
    Banbury, a historic and lively market town - famous for its nursery rhyme, 'Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross'
    Banbury
  • Bicester
    Bicester - of Saxon origin (not Roman, despite the spelling), is a traditional and thriving market town, known for being the fastest growing town in Oxfordshire.
    Bicester
  • Burford
    Burford is situated in north Oxfordshire, twenty miles north of Oxford, and is considered the southern gateway to the Cotswolds.
    Burford
  • Chipping Norton
    To the visitor passing through Chipping Norton seems just like any other Cotswold Town, honey coloured cottages and quaint back lanes with old buildings, but it holds a secret
  • Clifton Hampden
    There's something wonderfully English about Clifton Hampden. On a blustery day, the swifts snapping up the mayfly, cow parsley almost at shoulder height
    Clifton Hampden
  • Craven Arms
    Craven Arms is named after its restored Georgian inn. A quiet little market town, which becomes busy during its annual sheep auctions held from August - October.
  • Dorchester
    If you're a fan of 'Midsomer Murders' you might be unaware that you are gazing at a few of ancient Dorchester's fine views in some of their episodes.
    Dorchester
  • Duns Tew
    What a marvellous name for an Oxfordshire village. People are genuinely intrigued with villages' name of Duns Tew.
    Duns Tew
  • Great Milton
    Great Milton is a village just 7 miles east of Oxford surrounded by pretty South Oxfordshire countryside. There was an established community here as long ago as 1086.
    Great Milton
  • Great Tew
    Great Tew is an ancient village five miles east of Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire.
    Great Tew
  • Henley-on-Thames
    Henley-on-Thames is the epitome of a perfect English town, located on the north side of the scenic River Thames. It is brimming with delightful homes, flower-filled gardens, quaint shops, waterfront pubs and places of historic interest.
    Henley-on-Thames
  • Hethe
    Hethe is aquiet little village, where there are buses out to Bicester and Brackley, then if you'd like to go further out to Oxford, or Banbury.
  • Hook Norton
    What makes Hook Norton (Hooky to the locals) so special is the location, set in rolling countryside between the famous town of Banbury and Chipping Norton (home to the late comedian, Ronnie Barker).
    Hook Norton
  • Kidlington
    Historic Kidlington, a 1930's 'Garden' community, is a picturesque, original 'greystone' village with modern day origins, just 4.5 miles from Oxford City.
  • Letcombe Bassett
    Letcombe Bassett is a pretty little village, arranged around a steep-sided Oxfordshire valley that is the source of the Letcombe Brook.
    Letcombe Bassett
  • Letcombe Regis
    Letcombe Regis is a small Oxfordshire village, based along the sides of the Letcombe Brook which meanders through from Letcombe Bassett to Wantage just two miles away, and then on to join the Thames.
    Letcombe Regis
  • Long Wittenham
    Long Wittenham, or Wittas Ham is a small village near the Thames in south Oxfordshire, apparently named after a Saxon known as Witta, who settled in the area in the 6th century.
  • Mapledurham
    We have just received a description of Mapledurham from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
    Mapledurham
  • Oxford
    Oxford, (the city of dreaming spires) is renowned the world over, as the home of one of the oldest and most highly revered Universities in Europe.
    Oxford
  • Wallingford
    In 1066 William the Conqueror came to Wallingford and ordered the building of the castle which must have been impressive; it was to dominate the town for the next 600 years.
    Wallingford
  • Wantage
    The market town of Wantage is probably most famous for its illustrious resident King Alfred the Great and there is a wonderful statue of him dominating the quaint market square.
    Wantage
  • Woodstock
    Woodstock is a lovely Georgian town which is only 8 miles from Oxford, and known as the nearest town to Blenheim Palace
    Woodstock










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