Things to do in the Cotswolds: Oxfordshire
The Cotswolds is a gorgeous area of the UK mainly covering the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire but also extending into parts of Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Somerset. Below are some ideas of things to do in the Cotswolds in the county of Oxfordshire.
Blenheim Palace is situated in the Oxfordshire countryside in Woodstock. It has only been open to the public since 1950 but is now one of England’s largest houses and a huge tourist attraction. The palace was built in the early 18th century as a gift from Queen Anne to the 1st Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, the military commander who led troops to a huge victory over the French in the Battle of Blenheim in the War of the Spanish Succession. Blenheim Palace is most well known as the birthplace and home of Sir Winston Churchill, England’s Prime Minister between 1940-45 and 1951-55.
A ticket to the palace and gardens costs £27 but you can convert this ticket to an annual pass for 12 months. This is fantastic value if you are close to the area to visit again during the year.
You could spend half a day wandering around the palace and gardens which are both astounding. The gardens are extensive with lakes, mazes and paths through the woods. You can even catch a small train from the gardens to the palace to save time!
Blenheim Palace is well worth a visit for its history and beauty and make sure you upgrade to the Annual Pass!
Burford is situated in north Oxfordshire and is considered the southern gateway to the Cotswolds. We recommend starting from the top of the hill and walking down the High Street right to the bottom.
Walk over the three arched medieval bridge that crosses the river at the foot of the hill where you can explore the fields and spy beautiful houses surrounded by River Windrush.
If you like shopping, Bicester Village has more than 160 boutiques of leading brands, each offering savings of up to 60% on the recommended retail price all year round. This includes Alexander McQueen, Mont Blanc, Armani, Michael Kors and so many others.
Churchill / Kingham
We stayed at a lovely B&B in Churchill, a small village around 3 miles from Chipping Norton. It is very small but a great place to base ourselves for a weekend in the Cotswolds. We had a lovely dinner at The Chequers, a gastro pub just a few minutes walk from our B&B.
The village of Kingham is around a 30 minute walk from Churchill. Everyone speaks very highly about The Wild Rabbit accommodation and restaurant.
We visited Fairytale Farm, just outside Chipping Norton which is a great place for children. The farm is split into six main zones:
- Huff and Puff for adventure play
- Enchanted Walk for a fairytale sensory experience
- Alfie and Friends, where you can meet all the animals
- Jack’s Yard, where you can visit Mouse Town,, play in a sandpit and visit the cafe
- Wilderness Walk where you can meander through a range of wildlife habitats
- Fairy Dell area
Entry is £6.75 and you can spend a good couple of hours wandering around and feeding the animals. We loved the Alpaca’s! If you are looking for a larger farm there is the Cotswolds Farm Park in Cheltenham and Cotswolds Wildlife Park and Gardens in Burford.
Banbury is one of the most North Oxfordshire towns in the Cotswolds, close to the Warwickshire border. We drove through the market town to Broughton Castle, a moated and fortified manor house. The core of the house was built in 1306 and the gatehouse in the early fifteenth century. It was a centre of opposition to Charles I and was besieged and damaged after the Battle of Edgehill in 1642. The Castle is open from 2pm – 5pm on Sundays, Wednesdays and Bank Holiday Mondays. We visited on a Friday so were unable to enter the Castle but could still walk around the grounds admiring the building.
Following the castle theme, we had lunch at the amazing Castle at Edgehill country pub. The staff were so friendly, the views were amazing and they offer delicious pub food. We had the Chicken Club sandwich and it was HUGE.
Around a mile from the village of Edgehill is Upton House and Gardens. You can book in advance and entry is only £5 (although the house was closed due to Covid-19). The gardens have been used since the 12th century but were largely transformed by Kitty Lloyd-Jones for Lady Bearsted in the 1920s and 30s.
There is plenty to explore – the bog garden, sunken lawn, mirror pool and orchard with lots of lovely flowers on the way. The garden also offers amazing views over the countryside.
East London Girl: Things to do in the Cotswolds (Oxfordshire)
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