10 Things you must do when you visit Oxford

Our top 10 Locations to visit

10 Things you must do when you visit Oxford

1. Blenheim Palace

Birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and home to the Dukes of Marlborough, Blenheim Palace today provides the setting for numerous cultural and sporting events. With over 2,000 acres of beautiful parkland and gardens to explore, it’s the perfect place to go with a picnic. You can even take a look inside the 18th century palace.  Bring a blanket and relax on the grass, or enjoy lunch in The Orangery Restaurant overlooking the fountains. Buy a Palace, Park and Gardens ticket and receive a free annual pass upgrade, with free entry to events and discounts.

Cost: adult Palace, Park and Gardens annual entry from £24.90
Distance from Eynsham Hall: 6 miles

2. Shotover Country Park

Did you bring your dog with you to Eynsham Hall? If so, Shotover Country Park is the ideal day out - just remember to put your walking boots on. There are some truly breathtaking views from the top of Shotover Hill, overlooking beautiful South Oxfordshire. Look out for an abundance of wildlife, flowery meadows, hidden pathways and a variety of landscapes. Shotover covers 289 acres of diverse land, and with numerous footpaths and bridleways, there are many routes to choose from. Take a leisurely stroll and find the perfect picnic spot, bring your bike, or take in the scenery on a jog.

Cost: free
Distance from Eynsham Hall: 14 miles

3. The Headington Shark

Yes, really. This normal looking semi detached house is arguably one of the most famous properties in Oxford since the addition of the headless shark in 1986. It was commissioned by Bill Heine, an American law student, Oxford resident and BBC Radio Oxford presenter, and is today more popular than ever. In 2014 The Headington Shark was ranked 24th in a list of the most creative sculptures and statues from around the world. Though it’s become a regular sight for Headington residents, it continues to amaze visitors from all over the world.

Cost: free
Distance from Eynsham Hall: 14 miles

4. Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Inside the incredible neo gothic building you’ll find many of the University of Oxford’s natural history specimens. The museum has an impressive collection of dinosaur bones, fossils and footprints, including four species from Oxfordshire. Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, was said to be a regular visitor to the museum. With the most complete remains of a single dodo anywhere in the world, and a 1651 painting of a dodo by artist Jan Savery, it’s said that Carroll gained inspiration for the dodo character from his many visits.

Cost: free
Distance from Eynsham Hall: 12 miles

5. Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library is one of the oldest in Europe, and the second largest in the UK. It houses over 12 million books, and the number will continue to grow. So spectacular is the library, that many film productions have been shot inside. Films set at the Bodleian include Harry Potter, The Golden Compass and X-Men. Tours are available to see inside the library - why not make the most of Oxford’s incredible history and see The Radcliffe Camera and Bridge of Sighs while you’re there?

Cost: free or paid tour
Distance from Eynsham Hall: 12 miles

6. Oxford Castle

For a taste of history, don’t miss Oxford Castle in the city centre. The  partly ruined medieval Norman castle was originally built with motte and bailey and replaced in the 11th century with stone. It then served as a prison, but by the 18th century had mostly been destroyed. In 1785 a new prison was built on the existing site, which then closed in 1996 and rebuilt as a hotel. If you’d like to visit the castle there are tours available to explain the 1000 year history, including climbing the Saxon St George’s Tower and visiting the 900 year old crypt of St George’s Chapel.

Cost: adult ticket £10.75
Distance from Eynsham Hall: 12 miles

7. Bampton Village

The village of Bampton is a must see for any Downton Abbey fan. Providing the setting for the fictional village of Downton, Bampton’s Churchgate House, old Grammar School building, Church View and St Mary’s Church were featured regularly. Bampton rests on the edge of the Cotswolds and is one of the oldest villages in the area. While you won’t find an awful lot to keep you occupied, this little village is rather charming and a popular destination for avid Downton viewers.

Cost: free
Distance from Eynsham Hall: 13 miles

8. Punting

Punting is probably one of the most iconic activities Oxford has to offer, and it’s well worth doing. Hire a traditionally crafted punt from Oxford’s Magdalen Bridge underneath Magdalen College Tower, and spend the day out on the river. Make a day of it and pull up on the river bank to enjoy a bottle of fizz and a picnic hamper. You can even hire a chauffeured punt. If punting seems a little tricky there are also rowing boats and pedalos. Remember to check the weather forecast before you head out.

Cost: from £22 per hour for 5 people
Distance from Eynsham Hall: 12 miles

9. Cotswold Wildlife Park

At nearby Cotswold Wildlife Park you’ll find over 260 different species of animals, including lions, zebra, rhino, giraffe, lemur and more. For the keen gardener, there are some beautifully diverse gardens in and around the animal exhibitions. You can also get involved with zookeeper experiences and animal encounters. Check the website before visiting to find out feeding and conservation talk times. For the little ones, the children’s farmyard is great for hands on interaction with the animals.

Cost: adult ticket from £14
Distance from Eynsham Hall: 16 miles

10. Bicester Village

If you’re looking for retail therapy then you’ve come to the right place. Just a short drive away you’ll find Bicester Village, an outlet shopping centre on the outskirts of Bicester. It’s bursting with designer brands from Mulberry and Balenciaga to Jimmy Choo and Dior. Make the most of the outlet discount and enjoy lunch in one of the cafes or pop up food stalls. Arrive early to avoid long queues. Guests to Eynsham can come and see us in the hotel reception for VIP Bicester shopping vouchers.

Cost: free - if you browse
Distance from Eynsham Hall: 18 miles