- 1 - Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
- 2 - Broughton Castle, Banbury
- 3 - Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Chinnor
- 4 - Cotswolds, Oxfordshire
- 5 - River & Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames
- 6 - Fairytale Farm, Chipping Norton
- 7 - Hook Norton Brewery, Chipping Norton
- 8 - Taking A Trip To Didcot Railway Centre
- 9 - Discovering Chipping Norton
- 10 - Shopping At Bicester Village
- 11 - Enjoying A Day At The Cotswold Wildlife Park
The county of Oxfordshire, England has plenty of top tourist attractions for those who dare to venture further afield than the 7 million visitors who flock to Oxford each year. Oxfordshire is a county known for its ancient beauty and rich cultural heritage.
Beyond the grand spires of Oxford University are quaint villages and market towns nestled in the rolling hills, and picturesque riverside walks lined with old mill buildings.
This is Oxfordshire’s list of tourist attractions, we have a dedicated guide to the popular sites in Oxford, where you will find the Oxford University Museum, Oxford Castle, Pitt Rivers Museum, Ashmolean Museum, Bodleian Library, Magdalen College, Botanic Gardens, Christ Church College and more that light up the city of dreaming spires.
There are plenty of things to do in Oxfordshire, This stunning county in South East England is full of picturesque villages and tourist attractions. Here are our favourites:
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
Easily top of any list of Oxfordshire attractions and an Oxon icon with a rich history. Blenheim Palace is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and the residence of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. You’ll be able to admire this magnificent example of baroque architecture from the 18th century, which holds some of Europe’s best antique treasures and artworks. During a tour of the State Rooms, you may hear about the 300-year history of this National Treasure and take in the portraits, tapestries, and priceless furnishings. Look out for the Rembrandt, Canaletto and Reynolds adorning many rooms within the palace walls.
The sprawling grounds are more than 2000 acres of “Capability” Brown-landscaped parks, and you can waste away the hours exploring the beautiful gardens of this World Heritage Site. Take a trip around the lake or up to the Grand Cascades to take in some of England’s best views while keeping an eye out for historical structures like the Column of Victory, Grand Bridge, and Temple of Diana.
The Rose Garden, Water Terraces, and Secret Garden are just a few of the many Formal Gardens you can explore. Enjoy their family-friendly Pleasure Gardens, which feature a large hedge labyrinth, a butterfly house, and an adventure playground and are accessible by miniature trains.
Broughton Castle, Banbury
Lord and Lady Saye and Sele and their family mostly use Broughton Castle as a family home. The Sir John de Broughton-built mediaeval manor house, of which much is still visible today, dates to around 1300. It is situated on an island with a three-acre moat surrounding it. Between 1550 and 1600, the castle had a significant expansion, during which beautiful plaster ceilings, panelling, and fireplaces were added.
The Great Hall displays weapons and armour from several historical eras, including the American Civil War. Along with the adjoining 14th-century parish church of St. Mary, which contains numerous family tombs, memorials, and hatchments, visitors may also explore the gatehouse, gardens, and park.
Oxfordshire is home to seventeen castles in total, Bampton, Broughton, Hanwell, Oxford, Rotherfield Greys, Shirburn, Fitzharris, South Moreton, Leafield, Swerford, Ardley, Hardwell, Beaumont, Ascott Earl, Ascot d’Oilly, Deddington, and Wallingford.
Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Chinnor
An award-winning heritage railroad, the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway steams beside the Chiltern Hills for about an hour round trip. The route departs at Chinnor in Oxfordshire and travels through Princes Risborough in Buckinghamshire.
For visitors arriving by National Rail, there is an easy interchange with Chiltern Railways services at Princes Risborough, where there is also free parking, a station café, and a gift shop. A fantastic place to take the family, with steam and vintage diesel trains running on Sundays and public holidays, and a Christmas special.
A good, old-fashioned walk is the greatest way to truly immerse oneself in the Cotswold countryside to visit in Oxfordshire, but also covers the counties of Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
The picturesque town of Burford is the gateway to the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire (main image) and is a popular tourist destination in it’s own right.
Over in Gloucestershire is the path between the Slaughters and Bourton-on-the-Water which checks off every item on the Cotswold checklist. However, at 11 miles (18 km), this is no leisurely stroll, so be sure to bring a sturdy pair of walking boots.
As you leave Bourton, the River Windrush will be your walking partner for the first five or so miles of the hike as you move out into the Cotswold countryside proper and cross through woods and meadows. You’ll arrive in the village of Naunton around the midway point, at which point you should stop by the local tavern for some refreshments.
Following your departure from Naunton, you will encounter Fosse Way, an ancient Roman Road, before reaching Bourton. You’ll have rosy cheeks, be thirsty for another pit stop pint, and, most importantly, you’ll have travelled directly through Cotswold Country.
Stonor Park, Henley-on-Thames
The historic home of the Stonor family, which dates to the twelfth century and has been their family home for more than 850 years, is close to Henley on Thames, Marlow, and London. The property, which is tucked away in a Chiltern Valley, commands a breathtaking view of the lovely deer park and woodland. A tour around the home is a vivid journey through history.
View historical maps, records, and artefacts that demonstrate decades of service to the nation as you explore the art and treasure acquired from all across the world. The top features include the impressive Gothic revival hall, eerie 17th-century library, and dramatic long gallery opening into the lovely Italianate gardens, with borders full of seasonally appropriate flowers and gorgeous lily ponds.
Also, you can stop by the 13th-century hall’s cafe, which opens at noon, and the gift shop, which sells handmade goods and local fare like Stonor honey from their own bees.
River & Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames
Every year over 250,000 spectators flock to Henley on Thames to watch the historical University boat race between Oxford and Cambridge. Henley-on-Thames is also home to one of the premier independent museums in the United Kingdom,.
The museum is housed in an award-winning structure on the edge of the River Thames, the global sport of rowing and the community of Henley. The galleries contain both interactive exhibits and internationally notable collections, such as the kid-friendly “Wind in the Willows” gallery and a long-term display of John Piper’s artwork.
The Museum also puts on a busy schedule of temporary and travelling exhibits, collaborating with organisations like the National Portrait Gallery, the V&A, and the Hayward Gallery in London. The Museum recently created a Community Gallery that features a wide range of regional initiatives, working directly with organisations in their area.
The Museum, a registered educational charity that has twice been shortlisted for Family Friendly Museum of the Year, receives over 114,000 visitors annually, including 20,000 kids and adults who participate in their exciting and motivating learning and activities programme.
Fairytale Farm, Chipping Norton
Children will adore Fairytale Farm because it combines traditional fairy tales, animals, and adventure play. There is a lot to see and do, including their thrilling adventure playground, an enchanted stroll with a surprise around every corner, and the opportunity to get up close and personal with their incredible animals. It is a sensory and educational paradise for the entire family.
In their exquisitely made indoor model village, you can watch a family of mice going about their everyday lives or race a rubber duck through their pump-powered stream. A place where kids can marvel over the ducks, chickens, alpacas, sea horses, rheas, sleeping beauties and magic.
With their most significant investment in new construction, Fairytale Farm will welcome a plethora of new attractions in 2022. There is no longer a need for wellies because their animal section has received significant additional expenditures, including new enclosures, an animal petting area, and walks around every enclosure.
Hook Norton Brewery, Chipping Norton
The sixth-generation family-owned Hook Norton has been brewing since 1849 in their five-story Victorian Tower. They produce a variety of cask, keg, and bottled ales by combining the best aspects of their legacy with a wholly modern approach. Hook Norton is the location to experience the distinctive sights, sounds, and aromas of a historic brewery at work and share in their enthusiasm and commitment. Hook Norton is still on the same site in the original buildings.
You can take a tour where you are walked through the original brew house which was built in 1898. You’ll also be able to sample the Great Hooky beers at their bar which include seasonal and special unique brews. You’ll be able to try before you buy if you’re looking to taste something new. Their shop also stocks a full range of their beers, lagers, wines, ciders, spirits, merchandise, and tasty snacks from their Delicatessen
You can also enjoy free admission to their museum, which is filled with historical artefacts and curiosities including family and construction project images, equipment, models, and traditional machinery.
Taking A Trip To Didcot Railway Centre
Taking a trip to Didcot Railway Centre is an activity that any ferroequinologist shouldn’t miss. But you don’t need to be a hardcore trainspotter to admire the open-air museum that offers visitors a glimpse into the history of Britain’s railways and a chance to experience life in Victorian times. Once home to Britain’s Great Western Railway, you can explore the old engines on display that once were the lifeblood.
The centre can be reached by car or public transport and has plenty of parking for those who prefer to drive. Once inside, visitors can explore the many exhibits on offer including interactive displays, working signals, and educational videos that show how railways have changed over time.
There are also regular activities such as steam train rides and special events held throughout the year. Whether you’re a railway enthusiast or just looking for something fun to do while visiting Oxfordshire’s attractions, a visit to Didcot Railway Centre is sure to be an enjoyable experience for all ages.
Discovering Chipping Norton
While Burford lay claim to the title gateway to the Cotswolds, rival small market town Chipping Norton is the highest town in Oxfordshire and sits on the site of a Norman castle. The famous honey-coloured stone buildings bring visitors in their droves to the picturesque up-market destination for travellers passing through the county boundary and into the Cotswolds.
Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh, Burford and the Rollright stone circle are all easy places to visit less than 30 minutes away by car.
Shopping At Bicester Village
Bicester Village is a magnet for shoppers thanks to the prices up to 60% off high street rates. The village is home to over 160 boutiques, including designer labels like Burberry, Prada and Gucci. The sheer variety of stores makes it an ideal place for those seeking out unique items or looking for the perfect gift.
With tranquil gardens and picturesque streets lined by traditional buildings, the village creates a peaceful atmosphere that feels a world away from busy city life. Additionally, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can take a break from your retail therapy sessions and enjoy some delicious local fare or have a hot drink.
Viewing The Uffington White Horse Carvings
When looking for top attractions in Oxfordshire, it’s worth considering a visit to the carvings at White Horse Hill (National Trust). This ancient artwork is thought to have been made by Iron Age people over 3,000 years ago and is an iconic feature of the area. It’s located on the Berkshire Downs near the village of Uffington and can be viewed from afar or up close, although it’s hard to appreciate the grandeur at ground level.
Visitors can take a walk along the Ridgeway National Trail which offers stunning views of the English countryside and allows them to get up close to the carving in all its glory. The horse is nearly 100 feet long and was carved into the hillside so that it could be seen from miles away. It has been used as a symbol of power by many kings throughout history, including Alfred the Great.
The area is steeped in history and nearby attractions such as Wayland’s Smithy Neolithic burial chamber, Dragon Hill where legend has it St George killed a dragon, and Uffington Castle (English Heritage).
Enjoying A Day At The Cotswold Wildlife Park
The Cotswold Wildlife Park first opened its doors in 1970 and since then it has been providing jubilant visitors with a unique opportunity to observe wildlife up close. The park is located on 160 acres of land, giving plenty of room for different species to roam freely. Visitors can explore the grounds by foot or take a ride on the park’s train to get a better view of all the animals. The park also features an African-themed safari walk where visitors can experience wildlife like the white rhino in their natural habitats.
In addition to all these amazing sights, the Cotswold Wildlife Park offers educational opportunities as well. There are daily talks and feeding demonstrations where visitors can learn more about the animals they are seeing. The park also hosts several events throughout the year including themed parties and activities for children during school holidays.
Not only does it offer a fun day out for families, but also an educational experience that encourages conservation and respect for nature for the next generation. It’s a great day out and well worth a trip.
Taking In The Views Of The Chiltern Hills
Gazing out over the rolling hills and lush meadows of the Chilterns, it’s easy to feel surrounded by serenity and peace in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. To fully appreciate this captivating landscape, a visit is an absolute must.
The region is often described as an area of outstanding natural beauty for good reason, with its many beech woods and small villages offering plenty of opportunities for exploration. With its winding trails, it’s no wonder that visitors flock here to take in the breath-taking views. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating hike, the Oxfordshire countryside here has something to suit all tastes and abilities.
Staring up at the vast expanse of sky above, it’s almost impossible not to be struck by awe – even more so when the sun begins to set, painting the sky with a thousand hues of orange and pink. As night draws closer and darkness fills the air, one can’t help but feel humbled by this majestic natural setting. Undoubtedly, visiting the Chilterns is a memorable experience that will stay with you for years to come.
A trip to these enchanting hills promises an unforgettable experience; from walking through ancient woodlands and taking in spectacular views. There’s something special about this place that words and a camera simply cannot capture.