Oxfordshire is a county teeming with popular attractions. Lovers of heritage and history will find plenty to occupy them in the many old towns and villages, including Oxford, Abingdon, Burford, Henley-upon-Thames and Witney. The Cotswolds is an area steeped in history and rural charm.
Must-sees include Blenheim Palace. This magnificent 18th century palace was the birthplace of Winston Churchill and is now a World Heritage Site, ideally situated within 2,000 acres of Capability Brown-designed parkland. Highlights include the formal gardens and Great Hall. Blenheim Palace is located in Woodstock, just 12 miles off the M40 and 8 miles from Oxford.
Another sight that should be high on every visitor’s list is the Ashmolean Museum. It is located in Oxford, being the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology. The Ashmolean is a historic and venerable institution, founded in 1683, with diverse and internationally significant collections including ancient artefacts from most of the world’s great civilisations, and contemporary exhibits telling stories of the present day. Other museums and galleries in Oxford include the Story Museum, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford Town Hall and the Museum of Oxford, and the University Museum of Natural History.
There are many parks, gardens and country houses in Oxfordshire, including, in Oxford, the gardens of the University Colleges and Oxford Botanic Garden, which is the oldest botanic garden in the UK and presents many features including exotic glasshouses, water gardens and colourful borders. Outside of the city, there are country parks such as Shotover and Stonor, delightful gardens such as Waterperry, and historic properties such as Broughton Castle. These are easy to reach by car.
Those looking for family fun and outdoor magic will do no better than the Cotswold Wildlife Park, an amazing safari-style park set in the attractive landscaped grounds of a historic country house. Rhinos graze on the formal lawns, while the Tropical House in the Old Walled Garden is home to sloths and colourful birds. There are over 260 animal species, daily talks, a fantastic children’s playground and much more. Cotswold Wildlife Park is located just south of Burford, off the A40.