Family things to do in Oxfordshire

So often people don’t get out and about in their own area. Not us, and we’re gradually working our way around Oxfordshire. We’re lucky because we’re so close to many other counties within an hour’s drive.  I’m reliving my childhood visiting around the UK, near home and further away, and love sharing it with N. So if you’re looking for things to do in Oxfordshire, keep reading.

This series of days out posts are based on round ups of places we’ve loved on our travels.  Hopefully it’ll make them easier for you to find, especially if you’re looking for recommendations for places to visit. I’ll also be including recommendations from other bloggers, because I can’t get everywhere and there are plenty of ideas out there.

Family days out in Oxfordshire - Bubbablue and me.

History, culture and museums

With the dreaming spires of Oxford and the country towns, there’s plenty of culture to be had in and around Oxfordshire.

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock

Perfect for Winston Churchill fans, there’s the ongoing Untold Story exhibition as well as temporary art installations and  seasonal craft, car and jousting shows. The home of Countryfile Live, as well as providing great children’s play area and walks around the estate.

Natural History Museum Oxford

Adjoined to the Pitt Rivers Museum, there’s dinosaurs and more

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Alongside some amazing artefacts, the Ashmolean holds temporary art exhibitions and family activity weeks, plus a great restaurant

Oxford bus museum, Long Hanborough

Out of the city, for vintage bus fans and families, this relaxed bus museum is rarely crowded and runs regular vintage bus rides in and around the city.

Banbury Museum

Regularly holds temporary exhibitions on photography, art and local history and activity sessions for children, Banbury museum is great for a quick dip in and out.

Didcot Railway Centre

Perfect for railway fans, visit Didcot railway centre for stream train rides, meeting Thomas the Tank Engine days through the year, and activities for families. Book in advance for special occasion days (and take your own food because the café is small and gets busy)

Bodleian Library

For some amazing history and the chance to see inside university buildings, a must for Harry Potter and book fans. Book in advance, check for minimum age for children beforehand.

Oxford town hall tour  

Oxford town hall has the small Oxford museum inside, and is a beautiful venue top pop in and look at, but take the opportunity at Open Doors weekend to book on a tour to find out the history and see its secrets

Oxford Castle

Events are held in the courtyard, but for the history of the former jail, check out the Castle Unlocked tours.

River rowing museum – Henley on Thames

Save money on Henley car parking as there’s a small museum car park and next door restaurant. Museum celebrating everything river and rowing. Plenty of activities through the year for children.

The Story Museum, Oxford

Not just for kids. As well as the main exhibition (including the giant bed), they run seasonal exhibitions, talks and workshops. We’ve been at Christmas, and there’s a small cafe

blenheim palace on Countryfile live show

Vintage bus journey

looking at ancient egyptian artefacts in Ashmolean

National Trust

Greys Court, Near Henley on Thames

Manor house and formal gardens, plus estate to explore.

Nuffield Place, Huntercombe

House formerly owned by Lord Nuffield, of Morris Motors fame. Children’s trail round the house .Tea room for a spot of lunch

Animals and nature

Millets Farm, Frilford

Not only a Pick Your Own Farm, there’s falconry, garden centre, farm animals and a play area. Seasonal events and shows also happen, including Santa’s Grotto and ice skating.  Mostly a free day out to use the play area and see the farm animals.

Cotswold Wildlife Park, near Burford

A wide open wildlife park, great for a sunny day out with plenty of parking and grass for picnics.  Take a buggy for younger children, and take a train ride round. Great adventure playground for different ages, and reasonable prices and portion sized café. Eat early and book tickets in advance.

National Herb Centre, Warmington

For lovely nature walks, relaxing café and herb centre – find out about different herbs and buy from the garden centre

Cogges Manor Farm Witney

A small farm, with historic buildings, and a lovely wooden play area.  Good for a few hours rather than all day.

Earth Trust Centre , Little Wittenham

Includes forest school sessions for children, and open days during the year.

Crocodiles of the World, Brize Norton

For something a bit different head to Crocodiles of the World, solely dedicated to crocodiles and alligators. There are handling opportunities, talks and activities for children. Small café, picnic and play area.

Fairytale Farm Chipping Norton

Created to provide a day out for children with disabilities, but suitable for all. More suited for younger children

Badbury Clump, near Wantage

Perfect for bluebells (April-ish) and walks in the woods. Small car park

Rectory Farm

Known as a Pick Your Own, but also has play facilities

playing on the millets farm diggers

rhinos-at-cotswold-wildlife-park

den in Badbury Clump - bluebell woods

Other

Burton Dassett Country Park

Great for kite flying and blustery walks

Oxford Botanic Gardens

A beautiful peaceful sanctuary in the middle of the city. Find out about all the plants, do the children’s trails and or sit and enjoy the gardens and walk alongside the river. There’s sometimes a small kiosk for refreshments open

Grimsbury Reservoir, Banbury

Enjoy a walk round the reservoir and nature reserve (wear boots as the gravelly path only goes halfway round, the rest is grass), or visit the sailing club

Killkenny Lane Country Park, Carterton

Hidden away in a housing estate, a fab play area in a small modern country park, with a gravel path suitable for walks and cycling.

Henley on Thames riverside walks

Hire a boat or just walk along the river. Expensive parking even outside of the regatta. The park area is massive and sometimes has rides as well as the café.  Lovely sensory garden and a nice enough playground.

Pottery Place, Witney

Great for rainy days (or parties)

Rollright Stones, nr Chipping Norton

A spiritual stone circle, get the children to count them

water fountain at botanic gardens

painting a pottery wellington boot

Eating out

Little Amsterdam, Banbury

For Dutch pancakes of every sort, has a small play area

The Falcon, Warmington

Large, friendly pub with good food and nice outdoor area

Three Pigeons, Banbury

On the pricy side, but good food and ambience. Look out for after school time offers

Fox Inn, Great Barrington

River side pub overlooking Cotswold views

Westgate Oxford

For informal takeaway and casual dining, restaurants on the roof terrace, and social street food area

1738 Boswells Oxford

Café in the old fashioned department store, great cakes, and options for afternoon tea. Best for a hot chocolate and cake treat for kids rather than lunch

Maytime Inn, nr Burford

Friendly country pub with a great menu and attentive owner and waiting staff. Lovely outdoor area – if you’ve a large car, make sure you take the wide entrance into the village

If you’ve any recommendations for things to do Oxfordshire, let me know below.

 

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2 thoughts on “Family things to do in Oxfordshire

    1. Not a problem. It’s hard isn’t it. I find there are a few places we always go to because we have annual passes, and I prefer to try new places, but sometimes it’s nice to return

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