Keen historians may note Oxfordshire for its wool trade, Morris Motors and a world famous university, but this predominantly agricultural county continues to be a key player in the tourism industry as we move into the third decade of the 21st century.
Sandwiched between London to the south east and Cotswolds to the north west, the city of Oxford and its green surrounds has an abundance of attractions to suit all ages.
With summer upon us and staycations more popular than ever, Experience Oxfordshire has come together with tourism businesses across the country to provide a simplified trip-booking journey as part of VisitEngland’s Escape the Everyday campaign.
All you have to do is log on to the Destination Management Organisation’s website at experienceoxfordshire.org and discover just what a punch this county packs.
If you’re short on inspiration, take a look at our Oxfordshire Top 10 list below and start planning your unforgettable break to one of England’s emerald gems.
1, Bicester Village
On the edge of an historic market town 12 miles north east of Oxford is Bicester Village – an enormously popular luxury brand retail outlet with more than 160 boutiques to choose from.
Delight in a day out, a memory made and a beautiful thing bought at Bicester Village. Summer pop-ups and fresh foodie delights join more than 160 boutiques from your favourite designers – all offering exceptional savings all year round.
2, Oxford River Cruises
Take in the stunning scenery on the River Thames in and around Oxford. Oxford River Cruises offers a range of luxury boat trips, sightseeing tours and unique picnic cruises in the heart of the historic city of Oxford. Their vessels provide a comfortable and intimate setting for an unforgettable river experience and can be one of the most memorable things to do during your visit to Oxford.
A world class visitor attraction with a rich variety of sporting and cultural events throughout the year. The birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill is also a wedding and banqueting venue and a unique filming location at Woodstock, just ten miles from Oxford.
4, Oxford Official Walking Tours
Oxford Official Walking Tours are now available with small socially distanced groups.
Explore the city with a skilled and knowledgeable guide. See the filming locations used in Harry Potter, Inspector Morse, and the university’s most famous buildings: the Radcliffe Camera, Bridge of Sighs, Sheldonian Theatre and the Bodleian Library.
There are seven tours to choose from.
5, Fairytale Farm
Fairytale Farm is the only visitor attraction in the UK to put disabled children first in its design and layout and with no pre-booking required. Mixing classic fairy tales, animals and adventure play, children can enjoy an adventure playground, an enchanted walk with a surprise around every corner and a chance to meet an array of amazing animals. It is a sensory wonderland for all the family. It can be found on the A44 at Southcombe, near Chipping Norton.
6, Go Cotswolds
Go Cotswolds provides award-winning small-group day tours of the Cotswolds from £45pp. Choose from three different tours: The Cotswolds in Day, Cotswolds Trails & Villages, and Brewery, Pub Lunch and The Cotswolds. Private tours and private minibus hire is also available.
Tours run every day of the week during peak times (May to September) and depart from Stratford-upon-Avon, Moreton-in-Marsh and Chipping Campden.
7, City Sightseeing
Hop onboard to discover Oxford from an open-topped tour bus. What better way to learn about the city’s fascinating history than from your live guide and/or audio commentary in many languages. The tour departs every 10 to 15 minutes in the summer and takes in Oxford’s many colleges and attractions during its one-hour circular route.
8, Oxford Artisan Distillery
The Oxford Artisan Distillery welcomes visitors for a behind-the-scenes experience where you can discover its approach to craft distilling using sustainably farmed populations of heritage grain and bespoke hand-built copper stills.
You’ll see what goes into the distillery’s spirits and truly understand what grain-to-glass craft distillery is all about.
9, New Theatre
New Theatre is the main commercial theatre in Oxford. It has a capacity of 1,785 people; it is centrally located on George Street and puts on a wide variety of shows, including musical theatre, stand-up comedy and concerts. The theatre was damaged by fire in 1892 and enlarged in 1908, from which time it was continuously under the management of the Dorrill family until 1972.
10, Courtyard by Marriott Oxford City
When you’ve had an action-packed day taking in the sights and sounds of Oxfordshire, where better to lay your head than the Courtyard Oxford City Centre?
Take in stunning views of the castle from the hotel’s rooftop terrace or dine at its welcoming restaurant, offering modern English classics in the heart of this world-renowned city.