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 family days out 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.
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.
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.
Broughton Castle, Banbury
Fortified manor house just outside Banbury, this is still a family home. Choice of tour or self guided of the house, small gardens, but lots of walking and space outside in the grounds (plus sheep). Dogs on leads allowed in the parkland. Watch out for young children around the moat which isn’t fenced off. Great for older children learning about the English Civil War.
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)
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 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
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.
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
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
Known as a Pick Your Own, but also has play facilities
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.
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
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
For informal takeaway and casual dining, restaurants on the roof terrace, and social street food area
The Alchemist in particular has lovely bento boxes for children and wow cocktails and mocktails.
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 on family days out in Oxfordshire, let me know below.
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