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Type:Towns & Villages

Statue of the Fine Lady, Banbury


An important centre for wool trading in the 13th Century, Banbury developed into a small industrial hub after the Oxford Canal was opened in 1790.

Today, Banbury is a lively town with a thriving commercial core and you'll find charming streets and historic buildings alongside new developments here - such as the Castle Quay Shopping Centre in the recently regenerated Oxford Canal area.

However for many people the first thing that springs to mind when Banbury is mentioned is “Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross”. In fact, the “fine lady” from that beloved nursery rhyme (some say it was Lady Godiva, some say Elizabeth I) is immortalised as a statue in the town centre. As for the Banbury Cross, the original was destroyed in the late 1500s, but a replacement erected in 1859 still stands today. 

Banbury is a wonderful place for a short break, and the perfect base for exploring the surrounding Oxfordshire countryside.

Things to do in Banbury

  • Float down the Oxford Canal in a colourful narrowboat, stopping off at Tooley's Boat Yard for an ice-cream and to find out about Banbury's industrial history.
  • Tuck into an authentic Banbury Cake – a juicy fruit and pastry delicacy that's rightly famous around the world.
  • Take a day trip to the Oxfordshire Cotswolds and walk through stunning green landscapes (perhaps stopping at a village pub for a spot of lunch).
  • Indulge in a spot of shopping at one of South East England’s top shopping destinations at Bicester Shopping Village, just a short drive south of Banbury.
  • Visit Broughton Castle, a 13th Century manor house fortified by a three acre moat

Find more things to do near Banbury in our guide to Oxfordshire or see what's on in Banbury this weekend with the Oxfordshire events guide.

For more places to visit near Banbury, take a look at surrounding towns and villages in the 'What's Nearby' listings below.


Map & Directions

Road Directions

Banbury is about 75 miles north west of London, is easily accessible via the major motorway network of the M40 and is well served by public transport.

What's Nearby

  1. Great Rollright

    Just north of Chipping Norton, set high on a hill and enjoying panoramic views across the...

    10.08 miles away
  2. Chipping Norton

    Chipping Norton is a market town at the highest point of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Find...

    12.19 miles away
  3. Tackley

    Tucked away close to the Oxford Canal, the River Cherwell and north east of Woodstock,...

    12.56 miles away
  1. Spelsbury

    Spelsbury is a small village on the road between Chipping Norton and Charlbury. By the...

    13.5 miles away
  2. Bicester

    Set around a pleasant market square, Bicester is one of Oxfordshire's most popular towns....

    13.71 miles away
  3. Cornwell

    Some of the houses in the village are 17C but in 1939 Williams-Ellis, who had designed...

    14.24 miles away
  4. Charlbury

    Charlbury, set in the heart of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, grew from a small clearing in...

    14.48 miles away
  5. Churchill

    This small village has some fine buildings and is known locally for its independent...

    14.8 miles away
  6. Woodstock

    Woodstock, eight miles north west of Oxford is often visited for two reasons: Blenheim...

    14.88 miles away
  7. Buckingham

    Buckingham is a town characterised by its fine array of Georgian buildings & the Old Gaol...

    15.68 miles away
  8. Ascott under Wychwood

    The village of Ascott under Wychwood, taking its name from the ancient Wychwood Forest,...

    16.64 miles away
  9. Ramsden

    A beautiful and peaceful stone village on the north-east edge of the Cotswolds. Ramsden,...

    16.94 miles away
  10. Bruern

    An Abbey is recorded at Bruern as early as 1147. The monastery was small and disreputable...

    17.25 miles away
  11. Shipton under Wychwood

    Heart of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds and still a place of mystery, the area was once the...

    17.83 miles away
  12. Cassington

    The centre of this small village is its traditional green, one of two in the village,...

    18.62 miles away
  13. Oxfordshire Cotswolds

    Throughout history, visitors have succumbed to the charm of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds....

    19.6 miles away
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