Oxfordshire has a wide variety of number of days out for all the family including Banbury Museum, Cotswold Wildlife Park – the largest privately owned animal collection in the UK and the River & Rowing Museum at Henley-on-Thames. Other attractions include the Cowley Mini plant, Oxford Bus Museum, Didcot Railway Centre – Museum of the Great Western Railway and the Chinnor & Princes Railway which runs along the foot of the Chilterns. If you are looking for gardens, then a lot of the stately homes will be of interest, whilst other gardens include the attractive Waterperry Gardens, Stonor Park Gardens and the diverse collection at Oxford University Botanic Gardens. For those looking to escape and relax Oxfordshire’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are real delight – you can explore the rolling hills and delightful villages and find some great spots for refreshments.
Of course, when in Oxfordshire a visit to the spires city of Oxford is essential. The architecture of the university buildings is spectacular – see Bodleian Library – the second largest in the UK, the magnificent Radcliffe Camera and the Sheldonian Theatre.
Elsewhere you can discover Hertford Bridge – the Bridge of Sighs, the historic covered market, Tom Tower designed by Christopher Wren and Oxford Castle, often overshadowed by the university buildings, is well worth a visit.
Oxfordshire has a large number of stately homes open to the public to visit. Where better to start than the stunning Blenheim Palace; ornate rooms, expansive grounds with a huge lake, a miniature railway and the highlight of Fair Rosamund’s Well make it a great place to visit. The Palace is also used as a venue to host events throughout the year – art and crafts, jousting and horse trials all take place here. Kingston Bagpuize House dates back to the 17th century, enjoy a tour of the house but the real highlight are the gardens where you can take in the terrace walk and displays of colour. Milton Manor House is an 18th century house with an impressive library, whilst outside you can enjoy the gardens including the lakes and woodland walks. Elsewhere in Oxfordshire you will find Mapledurham House, set alongside banks of the River Thames the estate dates back to the Doomsday Book. Inside is a stunning curved Tudor staircase whilst outside you will find a working water mill – the only one on the Thames. Greys Court, Cotswold Manor House, Chastleton House, Ardinglton House, Buscot Park and Broughton Castle are amongst other stately homes in the county – you really are spoilt for choice!
Old Father Thames passes between lovely towns and villages including Abingdon, Wallingford and Henley.
Oxfordshire’s famous names include Edward the Confessor, actor Hugh Laurie, designer Stephen Hawking, chef Rick Stein, former tennis player Tim Henman and former Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Oxfordshire has a large range of annual events including St. Giles Fair, the Oxford Literary Festival, the Cowley Road Carnival, the May Morning, the Oxfordshire Shakespeare Festival, Blenheim Horse Trials and a series of rowing regattas – Torpids, The Christ Church regatta and Summer Eights.
The county’s famous food includes Oxford Skate – sausages, Banbury Cakes, New College Pudding – which dates from the 17th century, Frank Cooper’s Marmalade and Oxford Bishop – a drink of which will soon warm you up!