- 1 - Things to do in Oxford with Kids
- 2 - Want to get out of Oxford?
Half-term is here again, and the Summer holidays impending. Luckily. Oxfordshire offers a wealth of exciting day trips that are perfect for quality family time and creating cherished memories. This county of ours is brimming with incredible farms, zoos, enchanting museums, and captivating mazes, ensuring that children of all ages have a delightful time.
This region is the perfect place for a family adventure, as it provides an ideal combination of history, nature, and outdoor activities. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or just looking for a fun-filled experience, you can find many things to do in Oxfordshire with Kids.
Take the family on an unforgettable trip to Oxfordshire. From the history and culture of Oxford to the stunning villages and market towns, there are so many fun things to do with kids in Oxfordshire. From family-friendly activities to outdoor adventures, discover the best places to explore and enjoy.
here. So, grab your bags, bring the family together, and get ready to explore Oxfordshire. Let the journey begin!
Things to do in Oxford with Kids
Approximately 25% of Oxfordshire’s population live in Oxford, and it will be no surprise to see this historic city dominate this list. Yes, you’ve probably done these already, but they still merit inclusion. There are other options, including the Oxford ice rink and having a a picnic in one of Oxford’s many park or enjoying the wildlife at Wytham Woods. Plus there is the Westgate and the Harry Potter walking tour.
University of Oxford Natural History Museum
Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PW
Discover the wonders of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, an enthralling institution that proudly presents a diverse array of exhibits spanning the natural sciences and archaeology. Perfect for the whole family to enjoy if you have a serious love for history in England. Engage yourself in a captivating journey through various themes, encompassing zoology, entomology, palaeontology, petrology, and mineralogy. Within its walls, the museum houses a remarkable collection of designated specimens, esteemed for their national significance.
Among the museum’s most sought-after highlights is the awe-inspiring dinosaur exhibition, showcasing an extensive assortment of fossils and lifelike models of these captivating prehistoric creatures. Delve into the captivating story of their evolution and gain insight into the lives they led millions of years ago. Additionally, the museum boasts the rare and iconic Dodo bird, displaying the sole remaining soft tissue from this extinct species.
Beaumont Street, Oxford, OX1 2PH
Families can delve into the world of art and archaeology at the Ashmolean Museum, a prestigious institution that traces its roots back to 1683 within the esteemed University of Oxford. This renowned museum boasts a remarkably diverse collection of artefacts, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of numerous great civilizations spanning from 8000 BC to the present day.
Among its remarkable treasures are the world’s most significant collection of Raphael drawings, a sublime collection of pre-Dynastic Egyptian sculpture and ceramics (equalled only by the one in Cairo), an incomparable collection of Minoan artefacts in the UK, extraordinary Anglo-Saxon treasures, and the most significant collection of modern Chinese painting in the Western hemisphere. With its unrivalled collection, the Ashmolean Museum promises an enchanting journey through time, granting visitors a unique perspective on the diverse achievements of humanity across continents and centuries.
Oxford Botanic Gardens
Rose Ln, Oxford, OX1 4AZ
The Oxford Botanic Garden is a famous botanical garden located in Oxford, England. It is the oldest botanic garden in the United Kingdom and one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world. The garden is associated with the University of Oxford and serves as a research and teaching facility for the university.
The Oxford Botanic Garden was founded in 1621 as a physic garden, initially intended for the cultivation of medicinal plants. Over the years, it has expanded its collections and now houses a wide variety of plants from around the world. The garden covers an area of approximately 4.5 acres (1.8 hectares) and features various themed sections, including the Walled Garden, the Glasshouses, and the Herbaceous Border.
Visitors to the Oxford Botanic Garden can explore a diverse range of plant species, including medicinal plants, herbs, tropical plants, alpine plants, and more. The Glasshouses provide controlled environments for growing delicate and exotic plants that require specific conditions while The Walled Garden offers a tranquil setting with beautiful flowerbeds and borders.
Oxford Castle & Prison
44-46 Oxford Castle, Oxford, OX1 1AY
Embark on a captivating family adventure as we journey back in time to 1066, when William the Conqueror triumphed in the Battle of Hastings, setting his sights on Oxford Castle as the perfect spot for a motte-and-bailey fortress. Baron Robert O’Doyly, a Norman noble, was entrusted with the monumental task of constructing this castle. Throughout the ages, the castle transformed into a prison, faithfully serving its purpose for countless years.
Today, with over a millennium of history, Oxford Castle & Prison stands as a mesmerizing visitor attraction, brimming with captivating tales. Uncover the castle’s intricate layers of history, from its origins as a fortified stronghold to its metamorphosis into a place of incarceration. Delve into the riveting past of the prison, where famous inmates and daring escapes shaped the course of history, offering a unique glimpse into the justice system of bygone eras.
With a multitude of captivating features, including guided tours and interactive exhibits, Oxford Castle & Prison invites visitors to immerse themselves in its enthralling narrative. Ascend the Saxon St. George’s Tower to behold panoramas of the city or venture into the shadowy depths of the prison’s underground crypt, where the echoes of the past reverberate. This must-visit destination offers a window into the past and a profound understanding of the evolution of the justice system throughout the centuries.
Magdalen Bridge, Oxford, OX1 4AU
Punting on the river Cherwell is an enduring and charming activity that embodies the essence of Oxford. It offers a delightful and leisurely experience, slightly unconventional yet timeless. A pleasant punt upstream for approximately half an hour will bring you to The Victoria Arms, a pub nestled in picturesque countryside. Beyond the pub, you can continue your punting adventure through scenic rural landscapes, making it an ideal choice for a full-day outing.
On the other hand, heading downstream will guide you through the enchanting University Parks, a perfect setting for picnics and fun games with children. To venture further into Oxford, you will need to navigate the rollers and transfer your punt to the lower Cherwell, eventually reaching Magdalen College.
This activity caters to both beginners and experts, attracting various groups such as students, corporate parties, families, and friends. With approximately 80 boats available, it is usually easy to find availability during weekdays. However, weekends tend to be significantly busier, so it is advisable to arrive early to secure your spot.
Want to get out of Oxford?
Okay, so bored with Oxford and want more, I got you covered. Here’s the best things to do in Oxfordshire with kids of all ages.
Cotswold Wildlife Park
Bradwell Grove, Burford, OX18 4JP
Again, you can’t live in Oxfordshire with children, and not be regular visitors here. But the Cotswold Wildlife Park is really is worth repeat visits. Experience a delightful family outing as you wander through the park, coming face-to-face with majestic giraffes, observing rhinos grazing on the lawns of a Gothic manor house, strolling alongside lemurs, or enjoying a ride on Bella the Train. The animals are set against the backdrop of stunning gardens and themed borders, creating a picturesque setting. Spanning over 120 acres of parkland, the park houses more than 260 different species, offering ample space to unwind and connect with wildlife.
Children of all ages will be thrilled by the adventure playground nestled within the woods, featuring interconnected treehouses, rope bridges, and slides. Make sure not to miss the Children’s Farmyard, where kids can interact with friendly goats, witness the daily penguin feeding and talk at 11 am and 3 pm, and enjoy the lemur feed and talk at noon within their walk-through enclosure.
Adults and kids would be amazed by one of the largest reptile collections in the UK, showcasing crocodiles, lizards, frogs, and an array of snakes, including the impressive green anacondas and venomous species like the black mambas. Indoor exhibits such as the Insect House, Bat House, Little Africa, and Tropical House also offer captivating experiences, with free-roaming sloths, bats, and birds.
During the warmer months, the atmosphere near the train station is transformed by lush tree ferns, evoking the feel of a rainforest. The gardens are a visual delight throughout the seasons, with winter gardens, blooming spring bulbs, and fascinating seasonal displays.
Woodstock, OX20 1PP
Experience a remarkable family day out at Blenheim Palace, a true architectural masterpiece nestled in the heart of Oxfordshire. This extraordinary destination radiates grandeur, history, and natural beauty, captivating visitors of all ages. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace stands as a testament to the remarkable craftsmanship of its time and the enduring legacy of the esteemed Churchill family.
Step into a world of enchantment as you admire the splendour of Blenheim Palace, built in the early 18th century. Its majestic façade and exquisite interiors exemplify the elegance of English Baroque architecture. Surrounded by meticulously landscaped parkland spanning over 2,000 acres, designed by the legendary landscape architect Capability Brown, you’ll be entranced by the serene lakes, rolling lawns, and enchanting woodland.
Venture inside the palace and uncover a treasure trove of art, history, and opulence. The State Rooms are a sight to behold, adorned with magnificent artworks, intricate tapestries, and ornate furnishings. Make sure to visit the Long Library, renowned as one of Europe’s most magnificent libraries, where a vast collection of rare books and manuscripts awaits your exploration.
Southcombe, OX7 5QH
Unless you went to Fairytale farm today, you won’t have seen the brand new Fairy Dell which is now open and ideal for younger children. It has raised walkways and bridges, crawl tunnel, climbing wall, slides and sensory features. And this half term it’s a magical Once upon a Unicorn and Dragons week (27th May 2023 – 4th Jun 2023)
Prepare to be transported to a world of wonder at Fairytale Farm, a truly magical destination that ignites the imagination and brings beloved fairytales to vibrant life. Children will be enthralled by the thrilling playground, the enchanted walk filled with delightful surprises, and the chance to meet the incredible animals like miniature ponies. It’s an immersive and educational paradise that offers sensory delights for the entire family to relish.
Fairytale Farm is thoughtfully divided into six distinct zones, each offering its own unique experience. Dive into the adventures of Huff and Puff at the Adventure Play area, embark on a sensory journey along the Enchanted Walk, be enchanted by the fascinating animals at Alfie and Friends, soak in the charm of Jack’s Yard, and uncover the wonders of the New Wilderness Walk and Fairy Dell Areas.
At Fairytale Farm, accessibility is a top priority, ensuring that everyone can fully embrace the enchantment. Wheelchair-friendly pathways, sensory gardens, and inclusive play areas have been meticulously designed to enable all visitors to immerse themselves in the magic. Alongside the captivating attractions, Fairytale Farm also hosts a variety of events and activities throughout the year, ranging from interactive storytelling sessions to joyous seasonal celebrations.
Crocodiles of the World
Burford Rd, Brize Norton, Carterton OX18 3NX
Discover an extraordinary zoo in Oxfordshire that is an absolute must-visit for families passionate about animals. Established in 2011 under the guidance of renowned conservationist Shaun Foggett, this exceptional zoo has gained tremendous popularity and expanded to its current location in Brize Norton in 2014 to accommodate its remarkable growth.
Prepare to be enthralled as you embark on an exploration of this remarkable zoo, home to an impressive collection of over 150 crocodiles, representing 17 out of the 24 known species worldwide. With an exclusive focus on the preservation and study of these awe-inspiring creatures, it proudly stands as the only zoo in the United Kingdom dedicated to such a commitment.
As you wander through the zoo, you’ll encounter notable residents, including the formidable saltwater crocodiles, alongside several rare species that may be unfamiliar to many visitors. Get up close and personal with endangered species like the Siamese and Cuban crocodiles, Tomistoma, slender-snouted crocodiles, Cuvier’s caiman, black caiman, and broad-snouted caiman. Each species offers a captivating and diverse experience, waiting to be discovered.
Silverstone Interactive Museum
Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Towcester, NN12 8TN
A memorable family outing can be enjoyed at the Silverstone Museum, which is an interactive destination that celebrates the rich heritage and exciting future of Silverstone and British motor racing. With over 60 engaging exhibits, visitors of all ages can delve into a variety of hands-on activities. Engage in operating a wind tunnel, participate in a thrilling pit stop, or even hop into a replica Grand Prix car.
Alongside the interactive fun, the museum proudly showcases a collection of the most legendary cars and motorcycles that have left their mark on Silverstone’s 70-year history. Marvel at Mansell’s iconic “Red 5,” witness an E.R.A from the inaugural Grand Prix, or admire Barry Sheene’s 1979 Suzuki motorbike.
To top off the visit, immerse yourself in a captivating film experience, the ultimate lap of Silverstone, showcasing the circuit’s most iconic racing moments. It’s the perfect finale for your museum exploration. The family can also step outside the museum’s rear entrance and enter the historic race track, where they can catch a glimpse of the thrilling action happening on the current circuit.
Didcot Railway Centre
Station Rd, Didcot, OX11 7NJ
The Didcot Railway Centre is an exceptional destination that transports visitors back in time to the golden age of steam railways. Located in Didcot, Oxfordshire, this remarkable railway centre offers a captivating experience for train enthusiasts and history lovers alike.
Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of railways as you explore the extensive collection of steam locomotives, vintage carriages, and railway artefacts. The centre showcases a variety of beautifully restored locomotives, each with its own unique story to tell. From iconic locomotives to rare and preserved gems, you’ll witness the magnificence of these impressive machines up close.
You’ll be able to step aboard the meticulously preserved carriages and experience what it was like to travel in style during the heyday of steam railways. Admire the intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into creating these historical masterpieces. Take a stroll along the platform and marvel at the beautifully restored station buildings, evoking a sense of nostalgia and transporting you to a bygone era.
Throughout the year, the centre hosts a variety of special events, including steam train rides, themed exhibitions, and interactive displays. These events provide an immersive and entertaining experience, allowing visitors to engage with the history and heritage of the railways in a dynamic and hands-on way.