Things to do in Oxfordshire, England

Oxfordshire, located in the South East of England, is a captivating county that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Home to the world-renowned University of Oxford, this region attracts visitors from all over the globe. From exploring the iconic university buildings and museums to wandering through charming market towns and picturesque countryside, Oxfordshire has something for everyone. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and idyllic landscapes, Oxfordshire is a must-visit destination for those seeking a quintessential English experience.

Things to do

Visit the University of Oxford

No visit to Oxfordshire is complete without exploring the world-renowned University of Oxford. Founded in the 12th century, the university is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the world. Take a guided tour of the historic colleges, admire the stunning architecture, and soak in the rich academic atmosphere. Don't miss the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and the Radcliffe Camera, a beautiful circular library building. Explore the university's museums, including the Ashmolean Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and the Pitt Rivers Museum. Immerse yourself in the intellectual and cultural heritage of Oxford.

Discover Blenheim Palace

Located in Woodstock, just a short drive from Oxford, Blenheim Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of England's most magnificent stately homes. Built in the 18th century, the palace is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and offers a fascinating glimpse into British history. Explore the opulent State Rooms, stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens, and visit the Churchill Exhibition, which showcases the life and legacy of the iconic leader. Take a boat ride on the lake, enjoy a picnic on the grounds, or attend one of the many events and concerts held at the palace throughout the year.

Wander through the Cotswolds

Escape to the picturesque countryside of the Cotswolds, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With its charming honey-colored stone villages, rolling hills, and meandering rivers, the Cotswolds is a quintessential English destination. Explore the idyllic villages of Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury, and Castle Combe, known for their quaint cottages and traditional tea rooms. Take a leisurely walk along the Cotswold Way, a long-distance footpath that offers stunning views of the landscape. Visit the market towns of Chipping Campden and Stow-on-the-Wold, where you can browse antique shops, visit historic churches, and sample local delicacies.

Experience Bicester Village

Shop 'til you drop at Bicester Village, a luxury outlet shopping destination located in the heart of Oxfordshire. With over 160 boutiques offering discounted prices on designer fashion, accessories, and homeware, Bicester Village is a paradise for fashion lovers. Browse brands like Burberry, Gucci, Prada, and Jimmy Choo, and enjoy savings of up to 60% off the recommended retail price. Take a break from shopping at one of the many cafes and restaurants, or indulge in a spa treatment at the on-site wellness center. With its charming village-style setting, Bicester Village offers a unique and enjoyable shopping experience.

Visit the Ashmolean Museum

Located in the heart of Oxford, the Ashmolean Museum is the oldest public museum in the United Kingdom. It houses a vast collection of art and archaeology, spanning thousands of years of human history. Explore the Egyptian and Nubian galleries, which showcase ancient artifacts and mummies. Admire the European art collection, featuring works by renowned artists such as Michelangelo, Turner, and Van Gogh. Discover the Asian art collection, including Chinese ceramics, Japanese prints, and Indian sculptures. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, lectures, and workshops, making it a vibrant hub of cultural activity.

Take a Boat Trip on the River Thames

Enjoy a leisurely boat trip along the River Thames, which flows through Oxfordshire. Take in the scenic views of the countryside, passing by charming villages, lush meadows, and historic landmarks. Choose from a variety of boat tours, ranging from short sightseeing cruises to full-day excursions. Learn about the river's history and wildlife from knowledgeable guides, and relax as you glide along the tranquil waters. Some boat trips also offer dining options, allowing you to enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the beautiful surroundings. Whether you prefer a peaceful cruise or an adventurous speedboat ride, exploring the River Thames is a delightful experience.

Explore the Chiltern Hills

Discover the natural beauty of the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that stretches across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, and Bedfordshire. The rolling hills, ancient woodlands, and charming villages make it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Go hiking or cycling along the many trails that crisscross the landscape, offering breathtaking views and opportunities to spot wildlife. Visit the picturesque market town of Henley-on-Thames, famous for its annual Royal Regatta and riverside setting. Explore the historic market town of Marlow, known for its Michelin-starred restaurants and traditional pubs. The Chiltern Hills offer a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Discover the Oxfordshire Cotswolds

Experience the charm of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, a lesser-known area within the Cotswolds region. This tranquil countryside is dotted with picturesque villages, historic churches, and rolling hills. Visit the village of Woodstock, home to Blenheim Palace, and explore its quaint streets lined with independent shops and traditional pubs. Discover the village of Burford, known for its medieval bridge and high street filled with antique shops. Explore the market town of Witney, famous for its blanket-making heritage and lively market square. The Oxfordshire Cotswolds offers a peaceful and authentic Cotswolds experience, away from the crowds.

Visit the Rollright Stones

Step back in time at the Rollright Stones, a mystical ancient stone circle located near Chipping Norton. This Neolithic and Bronze Age monument is steeped in folklore and legend. Explore the three main elements of the site: the King's Men stone circle, the Whispering Knights burial chamber, and the King Stone. Marvel at the ancient stones and soak in the spiritual atmosphere of the site. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of the Rollright Stones, or simply wander through the site at your own pace. The Rollright Stones are a fascinating and mysterious attraction in Oxfordshire.

Enjoy a Punting Trip in Oxford

Experience the quintessential Oxford activity of punting, a traditional boating method where a flat-bottomed boat is propelled with a long pole. Take a leisurely punt along the River Cherwell or the River Thames, and admire the stunning views of the city's historic buildings and college gardens. You can choose to hire a punt and try your hand at punting yourself, or sit back and relax as a skilled punter guides you along the water. Punting is a popular activity in Oxford, especially during the summer months, and offers a unique perspective of the city's famous landmarks.