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Things to do in Oxfordshire & The Cotswolds

The cultural capital of Oxfordshire is Oxford, The City of Dreaming Spires and there are pltny of tourist attractions to enjoy on days out. With its honey-coloured stone architecture, noble lawns and prestigious colleges, the unchanging beauty of this city will always dominate the county.

Learning and exploring are synonymous with this city, even for tourists. Why not start with a guided walking tour around the city that focuses on literature, film, geography and culture? With countless city locations being used as the backdrop for television and film sets from Morse to Harry Potter, you may get a feeling of déjà vu. Oxfordshire is also home to several points of interest used for filming in the The hit ITV drama Downton Abbey including Bampton and Greys Court. Download a PDF guide to follow in the footsteps of the Crawley family.

In the north of Oxfordshire the lush and fertile Cherwell Valley is centred on the lovely town of Banbury, where you can really see a fine lady upon a white horse - or a statue of her, anyway. It's just one of the bustling market towns that punctuate a journey through Oxfordshire.

Things to do in Oxfordshire this weekend

Many of Oxfordshire's tourist attractions are open all year round so find something to do today with activities listings each showing a map and opening times for your convenience. Or why not browse our events guide to find out what's happening this week.

Top 11 things to do in Oxfordshire

Accommodation

With picturesque villages, breathtaking natural scenery, a world-renowned university city and over 6,000 years of history, if you're looking for fantastic days out, Oxfordshire has it all, and can even accommodate you if, like many others, you find yourself wanting more time to explore: 

Towns and places to visit in Oxfordshire

For more information about Oxfordshire, including ideas for days out, accommodation and events, browse the counties towns and villages in the list below.

In this section

Areas to Visit

Dorchester-on-Thames

Dorchester on Thames

A charming, riverside, Oxfordshire village five miles from Wallingford, and nine miles from Oxford, Dorchester-on-Thames is steeped in history. Close...

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  1. Add Dorchester-on-Thames to your Itinerary

    Dorchester-on-Thames

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    Dorchester On Thames

    A charming, riverside, Oxfordshire village five miles from Wallingford, and nine miles from Oxford, Dorchester-on-Thames is steeped in history. Close to an Iron age hillfort, it was formerly a Celtic market centre and a Roman town, but it was the advent of Christianity that truly put...

  2. Add Watlington to your Itinerary

    Watlington

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    Watlington

    Reputedly England’s smallest town, nestling in the shadows of the Chiltern Hills, Watlington offers a traditional welcome, with specialist shopping, great hospitality and outstanding landscapes.

  3. Add Moulsford on Thames to your Itinerary

    Moulsford on Thames

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Originally in Berkshire, this small Thames-side village was transferred to Oxfordshire in 1974 and is now part of South Oxfordshire.

  4. Add Faringdon to your Itinerary

    Faringdon

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    Faringdon

    The market town of Faringdon is perched on a golden limestone ridge between two river valleys – the Ock and the Thames – Faringdon enjoys panoramic views of the surrounding area.

  5. Add Northmoor to your Itinerary

    Northmoor

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    Northmoor

    A small village, close to the River Thames, handy for Oxford, and south east of Witney. Tucked away off the beaten track with plenty of walks. The recently restored 14th century church, and the pub provide a village focus.

  6. Add Shipton under Wychwood to your Itinerary

    Shipton under Wychwood

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    Shipton under Wychwood

    Heart of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds and still a place of mystery, the area was once the ancient Royal Hunting Forest of Wychwood, much of which survives. Shipton is the largest of the Wychwoods (the others are Ascott and Milton), each having their own considerable attractions. Shipton has a wide...

  7. Add Thame to your Itinerary

    Thame

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    Thame

    Historic yet contemporary, with superb shops and surrounded by Oxfordshire's exquisite countryside, Thame offers the quintessential market town experience.

  8. Add Charlbury to your Itinerary

    Charlbury

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    Charlbury

    Charlbury, set in the heart of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, grew from a small clearing in the Wychwood Forest to become a prosperous market town, due largely to its reputation as a glove making centre during the 18th and 19th centuries.

  9. Add Oxford to your Itinerary

    Oxford

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Whether you're wandering the magnificent corridors of Magdalene College, or looking out over the city from the top of Carfax Tower, Oxford has a knack for captivating its visitors.

  10. Add Didcot to your Itinerary

    Didcot

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    Didcot

    Didcot is a town and civil parish in Oxfordshire and the area around has been inhabited for at least 9000 years.