Oxford is a famous University town that draws in people from around the world. It is a quiet and beautiful city that has served as the location for several blockbuster film franchises, like the world famous Harry Potter series. The renowned Oxford University was established in the 11th century making it over 900 years old and the world's second oldest with the University of Bologna being just a couple of years older. It is the main highlight of Oxford, although there is much more to see in this city other than its university.
Central Oxford also has an incredible selection of art galleries and the best museums for you to visit, and you might as well take advantage of all that this knowledgeable city has to offer. If you find yourself itching for an adventure you can always take a small trip outside of the city to see what some of the nearby towns are like as well. You might have to travel around the country quite a bit so do yourself a favor and store your bags somewhere safe in Oxford! Travel light without bringing along extra gear that'll only slow you down.
How to get out of Oxford
In our guide, How to Get Around Oxford, you will see that no matter where you want to go, making your way around Oxford won't be too difficult because there are so many ways to navigate the city. The bus service is excellent, easy to use, and runs often, and there are several different bus companies that can take you both around the city and the surrounding area. Sometimes you won't even have to rely on public transportation at all since Oxford is easily accessible by bike or even by walking!
When planning to leave the city you will probably be hopping on a bus or the railway. The city is connected to the Chiltern Railways which travel between Oxford and London Marylebone, as well as the Great Western Railway. This will be a useful tool when you are planning day trips from Oxford since it connects London Paddington to Oxford and continues even further on to the north.
From Oxford to Stonehenge
Who wouldn't want to visit Stonehenge? This world wonder and piece of living history is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also one of the most famous landmarks in the world, and since you will be close by when you are in Oxford you will have the opportunity to see it yourself! No one really knows how the stone circle came to be and it is one of the most fascinating mysteries around the globe. It is estimated that it took about 1,000 years to build Stonehenge and several civilizations have managed to preserve it throughout the years.
Dating back nearly 5,000 years, this structure holds many more secrets than we can even imagine. You might be able to learn something new if you check out the Visitor's Center or if you sign up for a guided tour. Of course, you can also explore the Neolithic monument on your own!
How to get to Stonehenge
This day trip from Oxford is not too difficult but it can take a while. In this case, the fastest route will be traveling by car, which should take you about an hour and a half. Another alternative is to take the train which takes about three hours.
From Oxford to Bath
Bath is one of England's most picturesque towns and also a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site with a fascinating history. This charming little city is well known for its Roman architecture and is home to some very ancient buildings since it was actually built back in the 1st century AD! There are lots of incredible structures to see here, namely the Roman baths that the town was named after. They were first created to take advantage of the hot springs that the city was built on and they have been used as bathing spots for citizens since it was created.
During your trip to Bath, you will get to wander around the famous excavated Roman bathhouse to see what it is like with your own eyes. If you want to feel like a local you can even bathe in a modern thermal spa yourself. Other attractions in Bath include the Pulteney Bridge, the Jane Austen Center, and the Bath Abbey. If you have some extra free time we suggest taking a scenic walk down the River Avon as well.
How to get to Bath
Unfortunately, Oxford does not have any direct trains traveling to Bath. However, you can still ride the railway to get here, you will just have to change lines at the Didcot Parkway stop. This won't be complicated and overall the trip will still only take you around an hour and a half. There are also express buses that will get you there in about two hours, and driving yourself should be just a little faster than that.
From Oxford to Blenheim Palace
Just outside of the city limits is one of the grandest and most impressive fortresses in Oxfordshire. Blenheim Palace dates back to the 18th century and still stands looking just as magnificent as when it was first built. It is the perfect spot for a day trip for anyone who loves architecture and old castles, and this paradise of history and heritage lies in stunning countryside that anyone can enjoy. The grounds of the castle itself span 2,000 acres, and there is quite a lot to discover both inside the palace and out.
One of the best known facts about Blenheim Palace is that it was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, the former British Prime Minister, back in 1874. It is also currently the seat of the Duke of Marlborough and a UNESCO site. During your visit you will get to step foot inside the palace to walk through its staterooms, dining rooms and library, as well as the Churchill Exhibit, and once you've had enough inside you can make your way to the landscaped gardens. The castle was actually used as a filming site, and if you are a fan of Harry Potter you might recognize the big tree from one of the scenes in The Order of the Phoenix!
How to get to Blenheim Palace
A trip to Blenheim Palace from Oxford will be quick and simple. Take your pick from either the bus or train; both methods will get you there in just half an hour! Of course, you can also drive for the same amount of time, or sign up for guided tours of the palace with a local tour company.
From Oxford to Stratford-Upon-Avon
Having such close proximity to the Cotswolds, Oxford has access to so many charming towns and Stratford-Upon-Avon is one of the most popular. If you are a fan of old English literature then you will probably know this town as William Shakespeare's birthplace. This is one of the main things that draw in tourists, although there are plenty of other culturally significant landmarks as well. Another one of Stratford-Upon-Avon's nearby highlights is the Anne Hathaway Cottage, which is where the wife of the famous playwright lived and grew up!
If you want to get the complete William Shakespeare experience you can take a trip to the Shakespeare Center and the Royal Shakespeare Company as well. If you want to see some of his world-renowned plays being performed in person check out the Royal Shakespeare Theatre! You will also have the choice of signing up for a full day tour of the area where they will bring you to all of these places. Other attractions offered in this town include the Stratford Butterfly Farm, the Holy Trinity Church, the MAD Museum, and the beautiful Stratford-Upon-Avon Canal!
How to get to Stratford-Upon-Avon
If you don't sign up for a private tour you will have to find your own way to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Luckily the journey is not too difficult, and you can get there in just about one hour and a half by train. You will have to change tracks at the Leamington Spa station but otherwise, the journey is quick and easy.
From Oxford to Bourton-on-the-Water
While you are in Oxford why not take this opportunity to explore the Cotswolds further? There are so many great villages to visit in the English countryside, like Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water. We will introduce you to the latter! As the name suggests, this town possesses outstanding natural beauty thanks to its location on the banks of the River Windrush, and the beautiful scenery makes it the perfect destination for a long stroll or as a spot to simply enjoy lunch or afternoon tea.
You can go all day spending time in this village just admiring the gorgeous architecture of the traditional houses and enjoying the country air. Bourton-on-the-Water is home to the Model Village, which is actually one of its most famous attractions. If you go to see it yourself, you will find a very small but impressively detailed replica of the village!
How to get to Bourton-on-the-Water
The journey to Bourton-on-the-Water does not take very long, making it one of the best day trips from Oxford. You can get there easily by car and the trip should only take about one hour. There is also the option to sign up for a small group tour where they will bring you to this location and other quaint villages in this part of England.
From Oxford to Bicester Village
A day trip from Oxford to Bicester Village will be quite different than the other locations on the list. This town is the next big shopping destination on this side of England and is a popular destination for finding luxury brands. If you feel like getting outside of Oxford for a day and want to go on a little shopping spree, this is definitely the place for you!
Bicester Village was always a haven for shopping enthusiasts, although it was mainly a market town in the past. Now that a new designer outlet mall has been added, the village has begun to attract all kinds of people from near and far. Come treat yourself to something new and shop your favorite brands like Dior, Coach, Gucci, Armani, Jo Malone or Balenciaga! Just so you know, plenty of the items are offered at a discount of up to 60% off and you can shop tax-free, too. You can also grab a five-star meal in one of the local eateries when you get hungry. Don't miss out!
How to get to Bicester Village
It is a short trip to Bicester Village from Oxford. The train can bring you right there and it will only take a half hour!
From Oxford to the Living Rainforest
Are you ready for a whole new experience? If you take a day trip to Hampstead Norreys, Berkshire you can visit the Living Rainforest. The Trust for Sustainable Living created it to be a place for education, entertainment, and fun for all people who are passionate about animals and nature. Upon arrival, you will find yourself in an incredible indoor greenhouse where you can learn about all kinds of creatures and plants. There are more than 650 species on site in total!
Some of the animals that you might spot include different species of lizards as well as mammals like the two-toed sloth or the Asian mudskipper, and there is a wide range of orchids and flowers in every color as well. If you want to see the animals up close, the best tour to check out is with the zookeepers, who bring you to feed the animals.
How to get to the Living Rainforest
The easiest way to reach the Living Rainforest is by car. You can either hire a cab or rent a car to drive yourself, and it should only take about a half hour on the road.
The Top Day Tours and Trips Around Oxford, UK
Oxford is surrounded by beautiful countryside with rolling hills and plenty of places to explore. We've shown you only a few of the day trips that you can take from Oxford and there is still so much more to do in the area.
If you are looking for more ideas, consider visiting the Cotswolds again to see landmarks like Warwick Castle or Highclere Castle, which is where some scenes in Downton Abbey were filmed. Even if you want to take a boat ride down the River Thames or go on a shopping spree on Oxford Street in London, Oxford is the perfect starting point for any of your adventures in England.