Oxfordshire is fast becoming one of the UK’s must-see destinations, and for good reason. With a range of attractions, beautiful architecture, and charming rural towns and villages, Oxfordhire has something for everyone. Here are ten reasons why Oxfordshire is a must-visit destination for travellers.
1. Blenheim Palace
Located in Oxfordshire, Blenheim Palace is an attraction that should not be missed. The stunning stately home, where Winston Churchill was born, offers visitors the opportunity to explore a grand palace with exquisite gardens, parkland, and a lake. The palace was built in the early 18th century and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Visitors can marvel at the grandeur of the palace’s interior, including the Long Library and the state rooms, and learn about its rich history.
2. Beautiful Architecture and Buildings in Oxford
Oxford is renowned for its beautiful architecture and historic buildings, which attract visitors from all over the world. The city’s most famous landmark is undoubtedly Oxford University, which is home to many stunning buildings, including the Radcliffe Camera and the Bodleian Library.
Visitors can take guided tours of the various colleges and learn about the rich history and traditions of the university, which dates back to the 12th century. Other notable buildings in Oxford include the Carfax Tower, the Sheldonian Theatre, and the Oxford Castle & Prison. With such an abundance of stunning architecture on offer, it’s easy to see why Oxford is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history and culture.
Oxfordshire boasts several arboretums, each with their own unique charm. The Harcourt Arboretum, set in the picturesque village of Nuneham Courtenay, features a diverse collection of trees and shrubs from around the world. The University of Oxford Botanic Garden, located in the heart of the city, is home to a stunning collection of plants from around the globe, including a tropical glasshouse and an alpine display. Just over the Oxfordshire border and into Buckinghamshire is Waddesdon Manor, situated in the Vale of Aylesbury, visitors can enjoy a delightful stroll through its extensive gardens and an opportunity to view the Rothschild Collection of trees and shrubs. These arboretums provide a tranquil escape from the bustle of daily life, and an opportunity to appreciate the beauty and diversity of nature.
4. Quaint Rural Towns and Villages
Oxfordshire is known for its beautiful rural towns and villages, each offering a unique and charming experience for visitors. Burford, one of the most popular towns, is known for its picturesque High Street and historic buildings, including the 16th-century Tolsey building which now serves as the town museum. Visitors can explore local shops and cafes, and enjoy scenic walks along the River Windrush.
Woodstock is another quaint town, best known for its close proximity to Blenheim Palace. The town is filled with independent shops and restaurants, and visitors can explore its historic buildings, including the 17th-century Fletcher’s House and the 18th-century Town Hall. Meanwhile, Chipping Norton is a vibrant market town with a lively arts scene, and is surrounded by beautiful countryside.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in the countryside or a taste of traditional English life, Oxfordshire’s rural towns and villages have plenty to offer.
5. Wide Variety of Restaurants
Oxfordshire is a true culinary delight with a diverse selection of restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets. From high-end, world-renowned establishments like Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons to charming restaurants run by talented chefs, the county is a foodie’s paradise.
For those who enjoy classic British cuisine, there are plenty of options serving up traditional dishes like fish and chips, bangers and mash, and roast dinners. Visitors can also indulge in international flavours, with a range of restaurants offering Italian, French, Indian, and Japanese cuisine.
For those looking for a unique dining experience, there are plenty of quirky restaurants, like the famous Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Oxford, where visitors can enjoy an afternoon tea with an Alice in Wonderland twist.
In addition to the many traditional brick and mortar restaurants, Oxfordshire also boasts a thriving street food scene, with regular markets and festivals featuring a wide range of delicious and unique food vendors. From fresh seafood to artisanal pizza, there’s something for everyone.
6. City Hotels
Oxfordshire boasts a variety of city hotels, providing visitors with a range of options to choose from. Whether you’re seeking a luxurious charming boutique hotel, or a budget hotel, there’s something to suit all preferences. These accommodations offer guests the perfect opportunity to unwind in the heart of the city, with convenient access to all of the local attractions and activities. Visitors can enjoy the bustling atmosphere of the city, before retreating to the comfort and tranquillity of their chosen hotel. With a range of prices available, there’s something to fit every budget.
7. Holiday Cottages and Rentals
The city of Oxford is home to some truly stunning self-catering options, catering to a range of budgets and tastes. From luxurious apartments and houses to rent for those seeking a touch of glamour and indulgence, to more affordable options that still provide a comfortable and convenient base for exploring the city. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and culture, or simply relax and unwind in a beautiful setting, there’s sure to be a self-catering option to suit your needs.
Oxfordshire also has a variety of holiday cottages and rentals for visitors seeking a more rustic experience. These charming properties allow visitors to explore the countryside, relax and soak in the tranquility and experience the rural way of life. Whether you’re looking for a cozy cottage, Glamping under the stars, or a larger property for family and friends, there are plenty of options available. Many cottages are located in picturesque villages with pubs and local amenities close by. Visitors can enjoy walks in the countryside, visit nearby attractions or simply relax and unwind in their home-away-from-home.
8. Walking and Cycling Trails
Oxfordshire boasts a plethora of scenic walking and cycling trails for visitors to explore the countryside and discover hidden gems. The Thames Path, stretching for 184 miles along the river, is a popular route taking you through idyllic towns and countryside. Oxford Canal, running from Oxford to Coventry, is another excellent option, offering serene views and an insight into the region’s industrial past. Additionally, the Ridgeway, Britain’s oldest road, provides a unique experience for hikers with its prehistoric landscapes and picturesque views. Other trails worth exploring include the Chiltern Way and the Oxford Green Belt Way, offering varying levels of difficulty and terrains. Whatever your preference, Oxfordshire’s walking and cycling trails promise a refreshing and scenic experience.
9. Festivals and Events
Oxfordshire is a hub for festivals and events all year round, and visitors can indulge in local culture and traditions at these events while enjoying a taste of the city’s vibrant community. Some of the festivals and events that take place in Oxfordshire include the Chipping Norton Literary Festival, the Henley Royal Regatta, the Thame Food Festival, and the Blenheim Palace Flower Show. These festivals and events bring people from all over the world to the area, making it a hub of activity, excitement and entertainment.
Whether you’re a foodie looking to sample the best of the local cuisine, or a literary enthusiast keen to attend book readings and meet some of your favourite authors, there’s something for everyone in Oxfordshire’s vibrant festival scene. And with events taking place throughout the year, there’s always something new to discover and explore.
10. Museums and Galleries
Oxfordshire is home to a wide variety of museums and galleries, showcasing the county’s rich history and culture. The Ashmolean Museum, the oldest public museum in Britain, houses a vast collection of art and artefacts spanning thousands of years. The Museum of Natural History is another must-visit, with fascinating exhibits on the region’s geology, ecology, and biodiversity.
The Pitt Rivers Museum is a unique institution, displaying an extensive collection of anthropological and archaeological objects from around the world. Other notable cultural attractions include the Oxford University Museum of the History of Science, the Modern Art Oxford, and the Museum of Oxford. With so many options to choose from, visitors to Oxfordshire can immerse themselves in the fascinating world of art, history, and science.
Oxfordshire is a must-visit destination for travellers looking for a taste of traditional English culture and charm. With a range of attractions, beautiful architecture, charming rural towns and villages, and a thriving culinary scene, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful county. Whether visitors are looking for a city break, a rural retreat, or a taste of local culture, Oxfordshire has something to offer.