If you’re visiting or moving to Oxford, you might be curious to see what’s around the city. Luckily, there are many amazing options to choose from. So, escape the bustling streets of Oxford and embark on an adventure beyond the city limits with our guide to unforgettable day trips.
From charming villages steeped in history to breathtaking natural wonders, Oxfordshire offers an array of destinations waiting to be explored. Whether you crave a leisurely stroll through picturesque countryside or seek adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities, there’s something for every traveler just a stone’s throw away from Oxford.
So, join me as we uncover the hidden gems and must-visit destinations that promise to make your day trip from Oxford an unforgettable experience.
The Most Interesting Places to See Near Oxford
Venture beyond Oxford’s city limits and uncover a plethora of captivating destinations waiting to be explored. Whether you’re drawn to ancient landmarks, scenic landscapes, or outdoor adventures, these intriguing day trip options promise to enchant and inspire travelers of all interests!
Day Trip #1: Waterperry Gardens
Nestled in the picturesque Oxfordshire countryside, Waterperry Gardens offers a delightful escape into natural beauty and artistic inspiration.
Meandering through the gardens, visitors are greeted by a spectacular 200-foot herbaceous border, bursting with vibrant colors and fragrant blooms. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the rose and formal gardens, where meticulously manicured hedges and elegant floral arrangements create a sense of timeless elegance.
A leisurely stroll along the riverside walk provides a peaceful retreat, while the lily canal enchants with its serene waters and graceful aquatic blooms. At the heart of the gardens, the Plant Centre and Garden Shop beckon with a treasure trove of botanical delights, from rare plants to gardening essentials. For art enthusiasts, the Art-in-Action Gallery and Gift Barn showcase exquisite works by talented British artists, offering a feast for the eyes and a chance to take home a piece of artistic beauty.
And no visit to Waterperry Gardens would be complete without indulging in a delicious treat at the charming teashop, where freshly brewed tea and homemade delights await amidst the scenic surroundings
Day Trip #2: Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace, an iconic landmark nestled amidst the rolling countryside of Oxfordshire, stands as a testament to centuries of grandeur and historical significance. This magnificent estate holds a distinguished place in history as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, the renowned wartime leader and British Prime Minister, adding an extra layer of prestige to its storied past.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace boasts an illustrious lineage as the ancestral home of the 12th Duke of Marlborough, whose family has resided within its opulent walls for generations. A masterpiece of Baroque architecture, the palace captivates visitors with its grandeur and architectural splendor, showcasing exquisite craftsmanship and ornate detailing at every turn.
Beyond its majestic façade, Blenheim Palace invites exploration of its expansive grounds and meticulously landscaped gardens, where tranquility reigns amidst lush greenery and vibrant floral displays. Visitors can embark on a leisurely stroll through the palace gardens, admiring the intricate designs and hidden pathways that weave through the verdant landscape.
Blenheim Palace hosts a diverse array of events and exhibitions throughout the year, ranging from art installations and historical tours to seasonal fairs and cultural experiences. Whether marveling at its architectural splendor, exploring its enchanting gardens, or immersing oneself in its rich history and heritage, a visit to Blenheim Palace promises an unforgettable journey through time and a feast for the senses.
Day Trip #3: Hook Norton Brewery
In the heart of the charming Cotswold village of Hook Norton, Hook Norton Brewery stands as a shining example of Victorian Tower Breweries, preserving a rich heritage of brewing tradition that dates back over a century. Family-owned and operated, this historic brewery offers far more than just a tantalizing range of award-winning beers. Step inside and discover a world of exploration and indulgence, where every corner holds a story waiting to be told.
Begin your journey in the brewery shop, where shelves brim with an enticing array of bottled brews, merchandise, and memorabilia, offering the perfect memento to commemorate your visit. Immerse yourself in the fascinating history of brewing at the brewery’s free museum, where artifacts and exhibits trace the evolution of brewing techniques and technology over the years.
For a taste of culinary delights, the Malthouse Kitchen cafe beckons with tempting treats and locally sourced fare, providing the perfect spot to recharge and refuel after a day of exploration. Meanwhile, several meeting rooms offer versatile spaces for gatherings, events, and special occasions, blending historic charm with modern amenities for a truly memorable experience.
The brewery offers regular tours, where knowledgeable guides lead you through the labyrinthine corridors of the brewery, unveiling hidden treasures and sharing captivating tales of brewing lore. Marvel at the original steam engine that powers the brewery’s operations, witness the majestic Shire horses in the stables, and indulge in a sensory journey with a guided beer tasting, sampling the brewery’s finest creations.
Day Trip #4: Burford
Burford stands as a quintessential English town, exuding charm and character at every turn. Its picturesque streets are lined with quaint stone cottages, historic buildings, and enchanting gardens, offering a postcard-perfect backdrop for leisurely strolls and scenic explorations.
But Burford is more than just a pretty face; it’s a bustling hub of activity with a wealth of attractions to entice visitors of all ages. Food enthusiasts will delight in the town’s vibrant dining scene, which boasts a diverse array of restaurants, cafes, and eateries serving up delectable dishes ranging from traditional British fare to international cuisine with a modern twist. Meanwhile, antique enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise amidst Burford’s charming boutiques and antique shops, where treasures from bygone eras await discovery around every corner.
Venture just beyond the town limits, and you’ll encounter a world of exotic wildlife and natural wonders. At Crocodiles of the World, the UK’s only crocodile zoo, visitors can come face to face with these ancient reptiles, learning about their fascinating behaviors and conservation efforts to protect them. Nearby, Cotswold Wildlife Park beckons with its sprawling reserve, home to over 260 species of animals from around the globe. From majestic lions and playful lemurs to towering giraffes and elusive red pandas, the park offers a captivating glimpse into the wonders of the natural world, making it a must-visit destination for animal lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike.
Day Trip #5: Greys Court
Nestled amid the serene landscapes of the southern Chiltern Hills, Greys Court is a timeless jewel steeped in Tudor history and natural splendor. Owned and meticulously preserved by the National Trust, this enchanting country house and gardens beckon visitors to embark on a journey through centuries of architectural elegance and horticultural beauty.
Dating back to the Tudor era, Greys Court exudes an air of historic grandeur, with its timber-framed façade and stately interiors transporting visitors back in time to a bygone era of aristocratic opulence. Step through its hallowed halls and discover a treasure trove of period furnishings, ancestral portraits, and architectural marvels, each telling a tale of the house’s illustrious past.
Beyond its historic walls, Greys Court’s gardens unfold like a verdant oasis, inviting exploration and contemplation amidst lush greenery and vibrant blooms. Stroll along winding pathways that meander through manicured lawns, hidden glades, and tranquil ponds, where the gentle rustle of leaves and melodious birdsong create a symphony of natural harmony.
For those seeking to delve deeper into the secrets of Greys Court, guided Garden Tours offer a fascinating insight into the estate’s botanical wonders and horticultural heritage. Led by knowledgeable guides, these tours provide a captivating glimpse into the art of garden design and the seasonal delights that adorn the landscape.
After a leisurely exploration, visitors can unwind and indulge in a spot of retail therapy at the estate’s charming shop, where an array of gifts, souvenirs, and locally sourced treasures await. Then, savor a moment of tranquility and repose at the tea room, where freshly brewed tea, delectable treats, and sweeping views of the surrounding countryside provide the perfect conclusion to a day of discovery.
Day Trip #6: Banbury Town and Broughton Castle
Banbury emerges as a bustling market town steeped in history and modern vibrancy. Serving as a significant commercial and retail hub for north Oxfordshire, Banbury’s lively streets are adorned with a rich tapestry of shops, boutiques, and eateries, where locals and visitors alike converge to indulge in a spot of shopping or savor the flavors of the local cuisine.
Renowned for its culinary heritage, Banbury holds a special place in the hearts of food enthusiasts for its delectable Banbury cakes, a traditional sweet pastry dish filled with spiced currants and wrapped in flaky pastry. These irresistible treats have been delighting palates for centuries, earning Banbury a well-deserved reputation as a destination for gastronomic delights.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the town center, Banbury boasts a hidden gem of medieval splendor: Broughton Castle. Dating back to 1300 and originally built by Sir John de Broughton, this magnificent medieval manor house stands as a testament to centuries of architectural prowess and aristocratic grandeur. With its soaring turrets, crenelated walls, and sprawling grounds, Broughton Castle offers a glimpse into a bygone era of chivalry and romance, inviting visitors to explore its storied halls and manicured gardens.
Day Trip #7: Chinnor and the Steam Railway
Renowned for its timeless charm and authentic steam locomotives, this award-winning railway offers visitors a delightful journey through history and natural splendor.
Embark on a captivating adventure from Chinnor station, where the evocative sights and sounds of steam await. The roughly one-hour round trip meanders through picturesque countryside, offering passengers panoramic views of rolling hills, verdant meadows, and quaint villages that dot the landscape. As the train chugs along the historic tracks, passengers are transported back in time to an era when steam ruled the rails, evoking a sense of wonder and nostalgia that captivates young and old alike.
Tickets for this enchanting journey can be purchased conveniently online, allowing passengers to secure their seats in advance and embark on a memorable excursion at their leisure. Whether seeking a scenic escape into the heart of the Chilterns or simply yearning for a taste of yesteryear’s charm, a ride on the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway promises an unforgettable experience filled with adventure, romance, and the timeless allure of steam travel.
The wealth of day trip destinations surrounding Oxford offers an abundance of experiences waiting to be discovered. No matter if you’re drawn to the historic charm of medieval manor houses, the tranquil beauty of sprawling gardens, or the excitement of encountering exotic wildlife, there’s something for every traveler to enjoy just a stone’s throw away from the city!
These day trips offer the perfect opportunity to embark on a journey of discovery and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty that this enchanting region has to offer. I hope you get to see them!