Short Breaks in Oxfordshire

Discover Oxfordshire: The Epitome of English Culture and Countryside

Oxfordshire, the home of the prestigious Oxford University, offers more than academic brilliance.

A blend of scenic countryside, historic landmarks, and modern amenities, Oxfordshire makes for a compelling travel destination and it’s no surprise short breaks in Oxfordshire are very popular with visitors and tourists.

Whether you’re a culture vulture, a history buff, or someone seeking leisurely pursuits, this county has something for everyone.

The Manger on White Horse Hill at Uffington in Oxfordshire
The Manger on White Horse Hill at Uffington in Oxfordshire.

Why Short Breaks in Oxfordshire?

If the idea of wandering through age-old halls of academia, exploring stately homes, or rambling across idyllic landscapes excites you, then Oxfordshire is your go-to destination.

With its close proximity to London and a variety of attractions to explore, short breaks in Oxfordshire provide the perfect opportunity to immerse oneself in English culture and history while still enjoying modern comforts.

However, there is a lot more to this county than Oxford itself. Many visitors enjoying short breaks in Oxfordshire head to the beautiful landscapes and rural attractions in this lovely English county.

Rollright Stone Circle in Oxfordshire.
A mysterious atmosphere at Rollright Stone Circle in Oxfordshire.

How To Get To Oxfordshire

Embarking on your trip to Oxfordshire couldn’t be more convenient.

Located in the heart of England, this county is readily accessible via a multitude of transport options, making it an easy addition to any travel itinerary.

  • By Car: Major motorways like the M40 connect Oxfordshire to London and Birmingham.
  • By Train: Frequent services run from London Paddington and London Marylebone to Oxford.
  • By Bus: The Oxford Tube and X90 services offer regular coaches from London.
  • By Air: The nearest airports are London Heathrow and Birmingham International, from which you can take a coach or train to Oxfordshire.

Average Driving Times To Oxfordshire

Starting PointAverage Driving Time
London1 hour 30 minutes
Birmingham1 hour 10 minutes
Manchester2 hours 50 minutes
Bristol1 hour 45 minutes

Must-See Attraction: Blenheim Palace

One of the crown jewels of Oxfordshire’s many attractions is the iconic Blenheim Palace.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this baroque masterpiece serves as both a historical monument and a stunning example of 18th-century architecture.

Designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, the palace is nestled in more than 2,000 acres of parkland and formal gardens.

The birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, it offers a blend of fascinating history, art collections, and natural beauty.

Whether you’re interested in long walks through the manicured gardens, exploring the intricate interiors, or taking part in the numerous events held year-round, Blenheim Palace is an essential addition to any Oxfordshire itinerary.

Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
The stunning Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Photo © Philip Halling (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Activities to Enjoy in Oxfordshire

From punting on the River Cherwell to hiking in the Chiltern Hills, Oxfordshire is a playground for both indoor and outdoor activities.

For history aficionados, guided walking tours through Oxford’s historic centre provide insights into the rich past of this university city. Meanwhile, families can spend a day exploring the Didcot Railway Centre or taking a leisurely ride on the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway.

Literary enthusiasts may opt for a visit to the Story Museum in Oxford, while those seeking a bit of adrenaline can venture to the Silverstone Experience for an immersive motorsport adventure.

Whatever your interests, Oxfordshire offers an array of activities to suit all age groups and preferences.

The Clarendon Building, Oxford
The Clarendon Building in Oxford.

Places To Visit in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire isn’t just about academic excellence; it’s also a county brimming with must-see locations that captivate the imagination.

From stately homes and gardens to picturesque market towns and world-renowned museums, the following list will guide you through the quintessential spots that define the essence of Oxfordshire.

  • Oxford University and its Colleges: No visit to Oxfordshire is complete without a tour of the world-renowned Oxford University. Wander through historic colleges like Christ Church and Magdalen, and don’t miss the Bodleian Library.
  • Cotswolds: Straddling parts of Oxfordshire, this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty offers quintessentially English landscapes, dotted with charming villages and rolling hills.
  • Bicester Village: For those interested in retail therapy, this luxury shopping destination is only a short drive from Oxford and offers a wide range of high-end brands at discounted prices.
  • River Thames: Whether it’s boating, fishing, or simply taking a riverside walk, the River Thames offers a variety of recreational activities.
  • Ashmolean Museum: As the world’s first university museum, the Ashmolean in Oxford offers an array of art and archaeology collections, from Egyptian mummies to contemporary art.
View of Oxford from above.
Oxford itself is a lovely day out while enjoying your short break.

Popular Towns In Oxfordshire

While Oxford may steal the limelight, Oxfordshire offers an array of charming towns, each with its unique character and history.

Explore these hubs of culture and heritage for a more intimate experience of what the county has to offer.

Here, we delve into some of the most noteworthy towns that deserve a spot on any Oxfordshire itinerary.

  • Abingdon: Known as one of the oldest towns in England, Abingdon is replete with historical sites and a beautiful riverside.
  • Banbury: Famous for its unique cross and the nursery rhyme “Ride a Cock Horse,” Banbury is a bustling market town with much to offer.
  • Witney: Renowned for its high-quality woolen blankets, Witney is a lively market town that has succeeded in preserving its historical charm.
  • Wallingford: With a rich medieval history and a stunning riverside setting, Wallingford offers a peaceful retreat.
  • Thame: This quintessentially English market town offers traditional shopping streets, a wide range of pubs, and is often used as a filming location for popular TV shows.
Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Oxfordshire
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire.

Useful Tips for Visiting Oxfordshire

Navigating Oxfordshire can be both an adventure and a pleasure, but knowing a few tips can make your journey smoother.

Here’s some advice to consider when booking short breaks in Oxfordshire:

  • Public Transport: Oxfordshire’s public transport system is quite robust, especially around Oxford city. Utilising buses or trains can save you the hassle of parking.
  • Cycling Routes: Oxford is known as the “city of dreaming spires” and one of the best ways to see them is by cycling. The area has multiple cycle routes, both urban and rural, so consider renting a bike.
  • Local Produce: Take advantage of the local farmers’ markets. You’ll find an array of fresh produce, baked goods, and handcrafted items.
  • Festivals: Keep an eye on the local calendar for festivals and events, such as the Oxford Literary Festival or the Banbury Canal Day.
  • Accommodation: Booking in advance is advised, especially if you plan to visit during the university term or during popular events.

Oxfordshire offers more than academic allure; it serves as a treasure trove of cultural experiences, scenic vistas, and historical significance.

From punting along the River Thames to immersing yourself in literary history, the options for leisure are both enriching and varied.

Whether it’s a short break or a longer stay, Oxfordshire promises a fulfilling experience, full of memorable activities and charming localities.

It’s not just a destination; it’s a journey through the rich tapestry of English heritage, making each visit unique and worthwhile.

Return to British Short Breaks

City breaks in Tenby, Wales

City Breaks In Tenby

Tenby offers wonderful coastal landscapes, a vibrant friendly town and great shopping and dining options.

Short breaks in Orkney. Photo © Martyn Gorman (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Short Breaks in Orkney

The Orkney Islands are a world unto themselves, littered with fascinating prehistoric remains.

Short breaks in Suffolk, England

Short Breaks in Suffolk

Suffolk is ideal for a weekend or quick break as it is easy to reach and has lots to offer.

City breaks in Margate, England.

City Breaks In Margate

Margate has been a popular seaside resort since Victorian times and it's a great place for a weekend break.