As summer is upon us, or near enough, I thought I'd write up a guide of things to do in my home county of Oxfordshire during the season. I've spent every summer of my life here, so I figured it would be nice to compile a list of places I would recommend or suggest going if you fancy a trip to the area.
- Cotswold Wildlife Park
- Museums - Ashmolean, Museum of Natural History, Pitt Rivers
- Oxford Castle
- University of Oxford
- Didcot Railway Centre
If planning a day trip to the county, here are a few places you might want to consider visiting. Whether you're planning on staying in the city centre and would like to see across the city from the top of the tower at Oxford Castle and spend the rest of the day ducking in and out of the colleges, or you'd prefer to stay out of the main city and go somewhere a little more off the beaten track, Oxfordshire has a lot to offer. Cotswold Wildlife Park is a little west of Oxford, in Burford, offering a lovely day for all ages. Or perhaps you'd be interested in visiting Henley and taking a stroll down the Thames. There are great places for a day out in all areas of the county.
Stately Homes and Gardens
- Blenheim Palace
- Grey's Court
- Rousham House
- Broughton Castle
If you're interested in the history of certain areas of Oxfordshire, I would highly recommend visiting one of the stately homes, as they offer a lot of character, with buildings from various ages. Blenheim Palace is undoubtedly the most famous in the county, and would probably have to be my favourite; over the summer they put on several extra events, including jousting. I also really loved Grey's Court, in the Chiltern Hills. You could happily get lost in the beautiful gardens, and if you're lucky you'll make it in time to see the beautiful wisteria.
- Oxford Ghost Trail
- City Bus Tour
- Picnic in the park - Cutteslowe Park, University Parks, Christ Church Meadow, South Park
When the weather's nice, there's nowhere I'd rather be than outside, and there are quite a few activities and places to go around here. Punting is something Oxford, like Cambridge, is famous for, and something I've not yet had the trust to do with my friends, but I'll hopefully be going soon. The Ghost Trail is a great way to delve into the history of Oxford, and something I found really fun and interesting, weaving in and out of all the alleyways. And there's nothing I love more than a walk in the park, especially with the added bonus of a picnic.
- Afternoon Tea - Browns, The Grand Cafe, The Randolph, Blenheim Palace, The Manor at Weston-on-the-Green
- Pub lunch
- Ice Cream Farm - The Milk Shed (Weston-on-the-Green)
Food wise, I would always recommend going for afternoon tea; Oxford just feels like the ideal place for it. Browns is great, with the loveliest decor and good value for the food you get, or if you're celebrating an occasion, maybe The Randolph would be a nice gesture (my mum loved it). One of my favourite things to do in the summer is go to the ice cream farm, The Milk Shed (previously called Godwin's). You can eat indoors or go outside and take a wander through the fields.
- Bicester Village
- Oxford Covered Market
- Farmers' Markets
If you're a keep shopper then not only does Oxford have a good high street, but additionally a designer outlet in the form of Bicester Village. Personally I don't spend much time there, but if you're into shopping, you'd probably like it there. Or, basically in opposition, if you'd rather head to a market, then there are a number of market towns across the county that hold regular, usually weekly, farmers' markets. If you can't pin down the exact date the one closest to you is, there's also the Covered Market in Oxford, that's open all week.
- Cornbury (July)
- Wilderness (August)
- Reading (August, in neighbouring Berkshire, just south of Oxfordshire)
Something I'll be doing for the first time this summer is attending a festival. I'm actually going to Reading, which is just across the south border into Berkshire, but two festivals taking places within Oxfordshire this summer. Cornbury Music Festival is taking place very soon, from the 8th-10th July, and Wilderness Festival is happening 4th-7th August. I've heard great things about both, and would definitely like to attend in the future.
I hope I've given you a little inspiration for any trips you may be planning this summer. Are you going to Oxfordshire soon, and is there anywhere else you'd recommend going?
Until next time.