Historic Oxfordshire Guide

by Ben Johnson

Facts about Oxfordshire

Population: 650,000
Famous for: Oxford University, Uffington White Horse
Distance from London: 1 – 2 hours
Local delicacies: Banbury cakes, Marmalade
Airports: London Oxford Airport
County town: Oxford
Nearby Counties: Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire

This beautiful county sits securely between the Cotswold Hills and the Chiltern Hills with the River Thames meandering through the centre. It is perhaps most famous for its county town of Oxford, ‘city of dreaming spires’. Oxford University is made up of a collection of colleges, the oldest of which date to the mid 13th century. These glorious buildings draw thousands of tourists to the city every year.

Oxford is situated on the edge of the Cotswolds and some of the most beautiful Cotswold villages and towns are to found in Oxfordshire, such as Minster Lovell, Burford and Ascott under Wychwood.

Parents with small children will recognise the historic market town of Banbury from the famous nursery rhyme, ‘Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross’. You can visit Banbury Cross, browse the shops and cafes, wander around the colourful market and stroll by the Oxford Canal. Just down the road from Banbury is Bicester for more retail therapy.

There are a number of historic mansions and stately homes to visit in Oxfordshire. In picturesque Woodstock, visit Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Near Henley-on-Thames you will find Stonor Park, one of England’s oldest manor houses. Stonor must surely enjoy one of the most beautiful settings of any house in England.

The Oxfordshire countryside has much to offer the visitor. As well as the rolling Cotswold hills, you will find the chalk hills of the Chilterns, another Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is here that the mysterious Uffington White Horse dominates the landscape, carved into the chalk of the hillside and visible for miles around. The ancient Ridgeway runs past here, following the same route used by travellers since prehistoric times.

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