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 Here you can discover Egyptian mummies, European paintings, key historical documents and Islamic artworks.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.
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.