1. Go punting in Oxford
What could be finer than punting through Oxford on a lovely sunny day? It is an image often associated with the city of dreaming spires – lazy summer days, champagne picnics, men in straw boaters. To enjoy a quieter and more verdant stretch of the River Cherwell, a small tributary of the Thames, head up to the Cherwell Boathouse in north Oxford.
2. Admire the city of dreaming spires
Oxford is known as the ‘city of dreaming spires’ in reference to the gentle spires and harmonious architecture of its university buildings. The skyline can be best appreciated either at close hand from one of the dreaming spires themselves, or from further afield after a pleasant countryside stroll up nearby Boars Hill.
3. Cycle the Hansom Way
In Oxford, cyclists are as ubiquitous as the spires. Head out of the city and it is much quieter. The Hanson Way follows the Thames south to Abingdon, through the lovely village of Sutton Courtney (see George Orwell’s grave in the churchyard) and onto Didcot, where you can catch the train back to Oxford.
4. Discover the beech woods of the Chilterns
A walk in the beech woods of the Chilterns is a joy at any time of year but especially when the trees are in their autumnal splendour. Wandering around the Chilterns, it is still possible to discover a half-timbered country pub in a small clearing, selling traditional ales from its hand pumps.
5. Go and watch the bun-throwing tradition
For at least two hundred years the town of Abingdon-on-Thames has celebrated national events in an unusual and unique way – throwing fruit buns from the roof of the beautiful County Hall to crowds of people waiting in the market place below.
6. Tour a palace
Blenheim Palace is one of England’s largest houses, a World Heritage Site and a great family day out. The interior is a superb example of English Baroque architecture whilst the vast surrounding parkland was designed by Capability Brown. Children and adults alike will be delighted the small train, maze and other garden attractions in the grounds.
7. Travel along Britain’s oldest road to the white horse
The Ridgeway is an ancient chalk ridge route running across southern England, regarded as Britain’s oldest road. Today the off-road route is open to walkers and cyclists passing through the beech woods of the Chilterns before crossing the Thames and onto open countryside as far as the prehistoric site at Avebury. The White Horse of Uffington is one of the most impressive sites close to the Ridgeway. Thought to be the oldest hill figure in Britain, it looks northwards across the Vale of White Horse towards Oxford.
8. See the highlights of Oxford
Take a themed walking tour around Oxford with topics ranging from Inspector Morse through to JRR Tolkien, against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful cities in Britain – one of England’s two great seats of learning.
9. Cruise down the Thames
Travel down England’s most famous river through beautiful countryside aboard an Edwardian cruise ship. Salters are a family firm that has been offering boating trips down the Thames for over 150 years with options to discover stretches of the river including Oxford, Abingdon, Wallingford and Henley.
10. Escape to an elegant Thameside house
William Morris, the textile designer, artist and writer chose Kelmscott Manor next to the River Thames, just downstream from the Cotswolds market town of Lechlade, as his country retreat. The restoration of the Manor’s garden reflects the rich botanical content of Morris’s designs and his work is evident throughout the interior.
If this inspires you, why not browse our selection of holiday parks and caravan parks in Oxfordshire, and see what catches your eye?
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