15 Best Places to Visit in Oxfordshire (England) - The Crazy Tourist (2023)

It doesn't do the rest of Oxfordshire a disservice to say that the city of Oxford is the crowning glory of the county.

The worthy seat of one of the oldest and most famous universities in the world must be visited at least once in a lifetime.

But if you're itching to see more, a beautiful county awaits with ancient ruins and opulent wonders like Blenheim Palace.

To the west lie the Cotswold Hills and their beloved limestone villages, while much of the rest are limestone hills lapped by the River Thames, although it remains a small if very picturesque river.

Let's explore themThe best places to visit in Oxfordshire:

1. Oxford

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At the oldest English-speaking university in the world, you should start with a tour of the many faculties in the city center.

Most of them have wonderful architecture and if you plan your trip well, you can go inside.

Christ Church, Magdalen College and Queens' College are also important, as is the 17th-century Bodleian Library.

And with an internationally renowned university come museums and cultural attractions that are second to none: the Ashmolean, the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Museum of Natural History, all world class.

After that comes the Thames, which is still shallow upstream, so the best way to get around on the water is by boat.

2. Henley-on-Thames

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A very elegant town in the far south-east of the county, Henley is synonymous with regattas coming onto the events calendar in early July.

Thousands of spectators fill the grassy banks for rowing events featuring veteran Olympians and teams new to competitive rowing.

Other times you can simply enjoy Henley's refined character and stroll through the meadows and along the Chiltern woodland slopes rising from the river.

The sublime Tudor country house and National Trust attraction, Grays Court is on the outskirts of town and has been featured in TV shows such as Downton Abbey.

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Also suitably luxurious is Nuffield Place, once home to automaker William Morris.

3. Burford

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On the steep slopes of the Windrush Valley, Burford is known as Oxfordshire's 'Gateway to the Cotswolds'. Burford's steep hillsides make it a little more picturesque, especially when you see the town's rustic stone houses, half-timbered houses and stately mansions along Main Street.

As you walk down to the medieval bridge over the River Windrush you will be drawn to the small side streets lined with tea rooms, pubs and specialty shops.

And if you want to stay the night there are good options for inns and posadas for such a small town.

Take some time to see the medieval church of San Juan Bautista, lavish in the style of the Iglesia de la Lana.

4. Testimony

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Like some of Oxford's old weaving towns, Witney is often ranked among Britain's best places to live.

The Market Square is a very compelling example, with its elegant historic architecture and the 17th-century Butter Cross, where local women would gather to sell butter and eggs.

Across the road is the early 18th Century Town Hall, built in this attractive Cotswold stone.

Visit Wychwood Brewery on weekends for a taste of local flavor to experiment and sample the popular Hobgoblin brown ale.

And then there's a working Victorian farmhouse in Cogges, next to Witney, which was also the location for Downton Abbey.

5th wish

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Wantage's most famous son has to be King Alfred the Great who was born here in 849 and ruled the Kingdom of Wessex until 899. In the center of the market is a statue of him, carved by Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a cousin of Wantage Queen Victoria.

Wantage is a very sociable place on Friday and Saturday nights in the summer when the many pubs and restaurants surrounding the market are particularly lively.

Market days are on Wednesdays and Saturdays and you should also visit the Vale and Downland Museum, housed in a 17th century textile manufacturer's home.

6. Abington

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On the River Thames, a few miles downriver from Oxford, Abingdon is a large and prosperous city with some very imposing architecture at its centre.

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Abingdon Town Hall, dating from 1670, is very large, with high arcades that would provide sophisticated spaces for markets and meetings.

Now it's a convenient place to have a cup of tea.

The Abingdon Bridge has spanned the River Thames since 1416, although it has had to be repaired over the centuries.

The now-defunct Abingdon Abbey stands in a beautiful city park and although the abbey church is long gone, the monastic buildings can still be seen, including the Long Gallery, an atmospheric half-timbered hall.

7. Woodstock

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This dignified market town has historic ties to nobility and royalty, with Woodstock Manor being the birthplace of King Edward III's eldest son. and Queen Mary I was held captive by Elizabeth I for a time. The Oxfordshire Museum can tell you about the city. legendary history, while luxurious downtown Woodstock is worth more than a stroll through the ivy- and wisteria-covered mansions.

But the biggest draw around Woodstock is Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and perhaps Britain's most prestigious country house.

One of the few monuments built in the early 18th century in the briefly fashionable English Baroque style, the palace was the seat of the Churchill family and the birthplace of statesman Winston Churchill in 1874.

8. Wallingford

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Everything you need in Wallingford is available at the town market.

Here are some of Wallingford's most memorable sights, such as the neoclassical Corn Exchange, the magnificent arcaded 17th-century Town Hall and the Norman church of St Mary-le-More.

You can also go to the Tourist Information Center for brochures on the Wallingford Historic Trail, which dates back to Saxon times when the town was an important stronghold for Alfred the Great.

Built by the Normans, Wallingford Castle was one of the mightiest strongholds in the South until it was destroyed in the Civil War, leaving behind the ethereal ruins that remain today.

9. Norton absplittern

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Despite being a small town, most people in the UK know Chipping Norton as the 'Chipping Norton Set'. An informal association of local troublemakers and agitators including former Prime Minister David Cameron, the Murdoch family and the former editor of the Sun newspaper.

In addition, Chipping Norton is a very charming town, well known for its antique shops and, being in the Cotswolds, is also the highest village in Oxfordshire.

St Mary the Virgin is a typical Cotswold church and is flooded with light from its full length clerestory windows.

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In the leafy countryside outside of town are the Rollright Stones, a circle of Neolithic and Bronze Age stones.

10. Faringdon

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A charming, historic market town south-west of Oxford, Faringdon has much more to offer than you would expect from a settlement of this size.

In the center stands out the town hall from 1600, which is still the cornerstone of daily life.

For all its present composure, Faringdon Hill has witnessed some important events to the east such as: B. Battles in the succession crisis known as "The Anarchy" in the 12th century and again during the English Civil War when the Republicans were in strong control.

Today the hill is crowned by a 43 meter high shamrock from 1935, in neo-Gothic design and with great views of the Vale do Cavalo Branco.

Also visit Coxwell's 14th-century Great Barn and the Uffington White Horse, a chalk hill figure built some 3000 years ago.

11. Banbury

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More of a working class town than many of the destinations on this list, Banbury in the far north of Oxfordshire has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

This thriving city draws shoppers from far and wide, and the pedestrianized street with its share of history is the ideal place to stroll.

Banbury is also a stepping stone into the region's fantastic heritage.

There are three magnificent country houses - Sulgrave Manor, Upton House and Broughton Castle - all worth a detour.

Broughton Castle is a medieval fortified manor house extended in Elizabethan times and has a magical walled garden.

12. Bicester

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This historic market town is rapidly expanding, building new housing for workers working in London and Oxford.

But Bicester is much more than just a bedroom community, as will be demonstrated by the fabulous architecture surrounding the market, including beautiful 17th-century terraced houses and a handful of old timber-framed houses.

But for many tourists, the city's reputation rests squarely on Bicester Village, a shopping mall that attracts a whopping 6.3 million shoppers annually.

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These luxury shops attract more visitors in China than any other attraction in the country apart from Buckingham Palace!

13. Minister Lovell

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A very small cluster of hamlets and villages in the west of the county, Minster Lovell may be a humble place today, but in medieval times one of England's wealthiest men ran the show here.

Minster Lovell Hall is managed by English Heritage and preserves the beautiful ruins of a late medieval mansion built for the Baron of Lovell and Holland.

The building has fallen into disrepair since the 17th century and the entire site is framed by the River Windrush and its picnic benches.

Photographers and antique dealers won't want to leave, but there are a few pubs in the village to round off a perfect day.

14. Thames

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Oxfordshire specializes in affluent market towns, and Thame is one of the prettiest.

In its distant past it was a fortified town in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, and now it's a very comfortable place to spend a few hours.

Traditional services such as butchers, bakeries, tea rooms and pubs share the Thames with boutique shops and elegant restaurants.

Be at the market on Tuesdays, considered by many to be the best outdoor market in Oxfordshire versus an al fresco deli, with local fruit and veg, cakes, chutneys and many other homemade delights.

15. Didcot

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In a county cliched for its posh towns and tiny hamlets, Didcot twists the other direction and is a gritty railway town that banded together around Brunel's Great Western Railway in the mid-19th century.

For decades the cooling towers of Didcot Power Station were an identifiable landmark from miles away, but with the arrival of high tech industries and research centers and the plant's phase-out, Didcot is now all about innovation. .

For tourists, however, the Didcot Railway Center is the place to be if you want to relive the quiet days of steam locomotives.

The attraction is housed in a massive engine shed containing over 30 locomotives, four of which operate on the museum's historic line.

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