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Oxfordshire is mostly known for its magnificent and historic county town, Oxford. Its university is known as one of the very best in the world, and you can lose yourself in the Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera, home to ancient texts and housed in gorgeous architectural wonders. Banbury is home to Broughton Castle, a magnificent construction surrounded by a moat. Close to Carterton, nature lovers can explore the Cotswold Wildlife Park, with a huge variety of animals including penguins, monkeys, and giant reptiles. The nearest cities around Oxfordshire are London, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, and Bath. Other major calling points within the county itself include Bicester, Kidlington, Witney, and Chipping Norton. As an example, you can travel on train journeys from London to Oxford in 1 hour. This is a superb place to get away from everyday life, losing yourself in the traditional wonders of England. If you've never been to Oxfordshire, you'll be delighted by its amazing range of natural attractions and historic sights. Oxford is also well known for its wonderful selection of fine dining establishments, including a choice of Michelin-starred restaurants.

Oxford University’s most famous college, Christ Church, was first founded in 1524 by Cardinal Wolsey and then refounded in 1532 by King Henry VIII. The grand chapel of the college remains a main draw as it is now Oxford’s cathedral. A total of 13 British Prime Ministers were educated at Christ Church, Lewis Carroll taught mathematics here, and it was also a filming location for the Harry Potter films.

Established in 1683, the Ashmolean Museum is Britain’s oldest museum. It was named after Elias Ashmole, who gifted the university a collection of treasures from Charles I’s well-travelled gardener, John Tradescant. Here you can discover Egyptian mummies, European paintings, key historical documents and Islamic artworks.

Take a break from the museums and colleges with a stroll through the central stone-walled botanic garden and sit under the tree that was said to have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s Ents in The Lord of the Rings. Opened in 1621, this is Britain’s oldest botanic garden.

The Pitt Rivers Museum is perhaps Oxford’s most weird and wonderful experience. The anthropologist Lieutenant-General Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers collected over 20,000 curiosities during his travels around the British Empire. Expect to see shrunken heads, trophy scalps and musical instruments on display in this quirky attraction.

 

Ideas for places to visit in Oxfordshire

  1. Oxford – This is a clear choice, thanks to being a main railway station and a city full of history that's famous for its academic excellence. Indeed, Oxford University is one of the UK's proudest institutions, known globally as a superb place to study. While you're here, also be sure to visit the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, dating from the 13th century. The university itself is over 900 years old.
  2. Banbury – This is a great place to visit if you'd like somewhere a little quieter, but with plenty still to do come rain or shine. You can explore the grounds and interior of Broughton Castle or learn about the English Civil War and more at Banbury Museum. People's Park dates from the Victorian Era and is a gorgeous spot for a picnic.
  3. Chipping Norton – This traditional market town is surrounded by rolling green fields, emblematic of the stunning county of Oxfordshire. You can visit Bliss Mill, which used to produce perhaps the most quintessentially English of fabrics: tweed. For something a little more high octane, go for a thrilling drive at Vision Motorsport.
  4. Wantage (Didcot Parkway Station) – See the Uffington White Horse out on the hills, which is a mysterious and giant depiction of a horse made of chalk. Learn more about this intriguing region at the Vale and Downland Museum.
  5. Abingdon (Radley Station) – This town is famous for its Benedictine abbey, which dates all the way back to the 7th century. On sunny days, go for a walk along the Thames Path, an official National Trail, or through Abbey Meadows.

 

Travelling to Oxfordshire by train

Getting to Oxfordshire by train from London couldn't be easier, and you'll find the frequent services particularly convenient. It only takes an hour to get there on the fastest services, which depart from London Paddington. Often, you won't have to change trains, and will usually stop at Slough and Reading along the way. Paddington is on the Bakerloo, Circle, District, and Hammersmith & City London Underground lines, for easily connecting from anywhere in town. Some services include a change at Reading, but this isn't always necessary. The service is provided by Great Western Railway.

Trains from Birmingham New Street to Oxford take around 1 hour and 40 minutes, usually changing at Banbury. Key calling points include Birmingham International, Coventry,y and Leamington Spa, travelling on the CrossCountry service. Trains from Bristol Temple Meads to Oxford take as little as 1 hour and 30 minutes, usually changing at Reading or Didcot Parkway. The main stops include Bath Spa, Chippenham and Swindon. This service is also provided by Great Western Railway. Other nearby cities include Milton Keynes, Cheltenham, Worcester, Leicester, and Northampton.

 

Main Oxfordshire train stations

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