Bicester, a historic market town in Oxfordshire, is a great place to visit for shopping, relaxation, and cultural experiences. Here are some of the top attractions to check out when you’re in Bicester.
Bicester Town Centre
Bicester town centre is a charming and historic town offering a unique blend of old-world charm and modern amenities. As a historical market town and garden town, Bicester has a lot to offer visitors who are interested in history, culture, and shopping.
Bicester has a rich history as a market town, dating back to the medieval period. The town still has a thriving market, which takes place every Friday in Market Square. Visitors can explore the market and discover local produce and artisanal products, as well as enjoying a range of street food.
Historic Sheep Street and Market Square are popular destinations for visitors looking for artisanal food products, handmade gifts, and vintage clothing. While Pioneer Square is a modern addition to Bicester town centre, which opened in July 2013 following a £70 million regeneration programme. The square includes a Sainsbury’s store and a 526-space car park over two levels.
Garth Park is a popular public park located in the heart of Bicester, Oxfordshire. In addition to the formal gardens and informal parkland, there is a children’s playground, skateboard park, outdoor gym, picnic area (with wooden benches and tables), café, toilets and a small car park. Garth Park is not just any ordinary public park. It has a rich history and several special features that make it a unique and fascinating place to visit.
To the front of Garth House, which is located within the park, is an historic bell cast by Edward Hemins at the Bicester Foundry in 1732. The bell is a reminder of the town’s industrial heritage and adds a touch of historical charm to the park.
A sunken pond with a fountain donated by Bicester Rotary Club and a German telephone box gifted by Bicester’s twin town of Neunkirchen-Seelscheid in 1990 is located in the park, providing another interesting cultural connection.
Moving towards the rear of the house, visitors will come across a bronze sculpture called “In the Making” by local artists, which celebrates Bicester’s crafts history. A stone medieval-style font sitting atop a stone plinth can also be seen in this area, adding a touch of historical elegance to the park.
To the west of Garth Park, visitors will find a capped well and a traditional bandstand from the foundry of WA Baker & Co (circa 1930s). The bandstand is a popular location for concerts and events during the summer months, providing a fantastic opportunity for visitors to enjoy live music in a picturesque setting.
In addition to these special features, a number of military memorials are sited in the formal grounds of Garth Park, including a decorative metal seat around a large yew tree dedicated to the memory of locals who served in the Great War of 1914-18. Two formal beds with military insignia and a tree in memory of a soldier killed in Afghanistan in 2010 can also be found in the park, providing a touching tribute to those who have served their country.
Shopping at Bicester Village
Bicester Village is a luxurious shopping destination located in the town of Bicester, Oxfordshire. With over 150 boutiques of high-end and designer brands, Bicester Village offers an upscale shopping experience for those who love fashion, luxury, and exclusivity. Here’s everything you need to know about shopping and visiting Bicester Village.
Bicester Village is easily accessible from London and other parts of the UK. The village is located just off the M40 motorway, approximately an hour’s drive from London, with ample free parking and a Park and Ride service operating during busier times. There is also a selection of electric charging points for a top-up only service. If you prefer to travel by train, Bicester Village is just a 46-minute train journey from London Marylebone and 14 minutes from Oxford. Or from Birmingham to Bicester North where a shuttle bus will take you to the shopping village.
Bicester Village is a shopper’s paradise, offering a vast range of designer brands at discounted prices. From fashion and accessories to homeware and beauty products, the village has it all. Some of the most popular brands include Burberry, Gucci, Prada, and Versace. The village also has a range of cafes and restaurants, offering a variety of food and drink options to keep you fueled during your shopping spree.
Bicester Village offers an excellent visitor experience, with plenty of amenities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable shopping trip. There is a concierge service available to help with any questions or queries, as well as free Wi-Fi throughout the village. Bicester Village also offers a range of services such as tax refunds, personal shopping, shopping packages and VIP experiences for those looking for an extra-special shopping trip.
Sky Wave Gin
Sky Wave Gin is a hidden gem located in Bicester, Oxfordshire on a former WW2 RAF base, now the beautiful Bicester Heritage, home of historic motoring. Sky Wave Gin was founded by Rachel Hicks and Andy Parsons who couldn’t find the perfect gin, so made it! The distillery offers tours and tastings, where you can learn about the gin-making process and sample some of their award-winning spirits.
The distillery produces premium gin using locally sourced botanicals and also has a shop where you can purchase bottles of their gin to take home.
Bicester Heritage is a historic site that has been transformed into a vibrant hub for vintage car enthusiasts and lovers of history. The site boasts a rich history dating back to World War II when it was used as an airfield by the Royal Air Force. Today, the site is home to a range of vintage car companies, specialist workshops, and other businesses that share a passion for preserving and celebrating the heritage of classic cars.
Bicester Heritage host a number of events such as, Tough Nutterz, the UK’s largest bouncy obstacle course, from 1-10 April. The course is 300m inflatable maze and features 30 different challenges that are suitable for anyone over the age of two. This event promises to be a fun-filled day out for families and friends who are looking for an adventure. Mini May Assembly with Scramblers in 2023 event is to be held on 28 May 2023 celebrating all things Mini/MINI.
The Bicester Heritage Sunday Scramble is a popular event for car enthusiasts, showcasing vintage and classic cars this is event is due to be held on Sunday 23 April 2023. Other places to visit in Bicester include the historic Bicester Priory, which dates back to the 12th century, and Garth Park, a popular park with playgrounds, sports facilities, and a bandstand.
Bicester Hotel and Spa
The Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa is a luxurious hotel located in the picturesque Oxfordshire countryside, just a short drive from Bicester Village shopping centre. The hotel offers a range of facilities and services for both leisure and business travellers, including a championship gold course, a spa and wellness centre making it a popular destination for those looking for a relaxing getaway or a convenient place to stay for business meetings.
The hotel’s spa is a highlight for many guests, offering a range of treatments and facilities to help guests relax and unwind. The spa features a hydro spa, spa pool, sauna, steam room, foot spa and feature showers and treatment rooms offering massages, facials, and other beauty treatments. There is also a fully equipped gym, indoor swimming pool and tennis courts for those looking to stay active during their stay. The Hotel is home championship 18-hole golf course set within the rolling hills of Oxfordshire’s countryside and features challenging holes and beautiful scenery. The resort also has a driving range with the latest Toptracer Range technology and a practice area for golfers to hone their skills.
The Hotel has two on-site restaurants, the Grays Restaurant and Bar Nineteen. The Grays Restaurant offers a fine dining experience, serving modern British cuisine using locally sourced ingredients and Bar Nineteen is a more casual option, offering a range of classic British dishes and a variety of drinks.
Bicester is a fantastic destination for a weekend getaway or a day trip. Whether you’re looking to indulge in some luxury shopping, sample some locally produced gin, relax in a spa, or immerse yourself in arts and culture, there’s something for everyone in Bicester.