15 Best Day Trips From Oxford in 2023

Steve Rohan Author Bio

Oxford is a historic city in the South of England that’s filled with lots of wonderful things to do from exploring the prestigious university to the Bodleian Library, Ashmolean Museum, and ancient castle. There are also plenty of wonderful day trips from Oxford to nearby places of interest around the Cotswolds.

I’ve been to Oxford on many occasions and often use it as a base to explore some of the nearby places from Blenheim Palace to Stonehenge, and the beautiful towns and villages in the surrounding area from Bath, Cirencester and Stroud to Chipping Norton, Bibury, and Broadway.

As the city sits right on the edge of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are plenty of options for getting into the great outdoors for hiking, biking, and other fun day trips from Oxford in the fresh air.

Best Day Trips from Oxford, UK

Below, you’ll find a wide variety of Oxford day trips from picturesque English villages and market towns to historical, cultural, and natural landmarks. Whether you want to browse boutique shops, learn something about British history, or get out into the beautiful countryside, there’s something to be enjoyed by everyone.

1. Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton on the Water in Cotswolds

The Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the most picturesque places in the country. The River Windrush winds its way through the village and under historic stone bridges and along rustic cottages of Cotswold stone. There are lots of things to do in Bourton from paddling in the river to exploring the model village.

Other Bourton attractions include the Motoring and Toy Museum, Greystones Nature Reserve, and my favorite – the Hawkstone Brewery (made famous by Jeremy Clarkson’s lager). Bourton is definitely one of the best day trips from Oxford if you’re keen to see one of the prettiest villages in the country.

Location: Bourton-on-the-Water is 34 miles (55 km) northwest of Oxford. Click here for directions.
Getting There: The best way to get to Bourton is to drive along the A40 or take a tour.
Best Tour from Oxford: Cotswold Explorer. Click here to book.
Must-Do Activities: Visit the Model Village, walk along the River Windrush, visit the Motoring Museum, and explore Greystones Nature Reserve.
Where to Eat: The Mousetrap Inn. Click here for directions.

2. Chipping Norton

Almshouses in Chipping Norton

Chipping Norton is a charming market town in the Cotswolds, not far from Oxford, that’s famous for its 17th Century Almshouses. There’s lots to do in the town from taking a dip in the open-air swimming pool to seeing a show at the Chipping Norton Theatre and browsing the farmers’ market which runs every Wednesday.

Nearby, you’ll find Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat Farm where you can buy local produce and craft beers made by local brewers. Historic Bliss Tweed Mill is another of the town’s attractions and this is one of the best Oxford day trips as there’s so much to see and do.

Location: Chipping Norton is just 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Oxford. Click here for directions.
Getting There: Bus S3 takes just one hour from Oxford Railway Station. The journey by car takes around 45 minutes along the A44.
Best Tour from Oxford: Cotswold Explorer. Click here to book.
Must-Do Activities: See the Almshouses and Bliss Tweed Mill, swim in the lido, and visit Diddly Squat Farm and Hawkstone’s Brewery.
Where to Eat: Bitter and Twisted. Click here for directions.

3. See the Rollright Stones

The Kings Stone Rollright Stones near Chipping Norton Town.

The Rollright Stones is an attraction in the form of an ancient stone circle dating back to the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. The circle consists of three main groups of stones. These are the King’s Men, the Whispering Knights, and the King Stone which stands on its own outside of the circle.

As someone with a keen interest in ancient history, I visited the Rollright Stones while on my last visit to the Cotswolds and it’s one of the most impressive sites in the country, along with nearby Avebury and Stonehenge (see below). The circle is hidden in lush woodland overlooking hilly pastures and offers some really stunning views of the countryside.

Location: Rollright Road, Little Rollright, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 5QB. Click here for directions.
Getting There: Due to the rural location, driving is the best way to get to the Rollright Stones. It takes around 45 minutes to drive the 23 miles from Oxford along the A33.
Must-Do Activities: See the ancient stone circle, walk in the local countryside, and stop for a pint or Sunday roast at The Gate Hangs High.
Where to Eat: The Gate Hangs High. Click here for directions.

4. Bath

Cityscape in the medieval town Bath, Somerset, England from afar.

The city of Bath is one of my favorite places in England thanks to its Roman history, gorgeous Georgian architecture, and healing thermal spas. Bath is one of the best day trips from Oxford and really is worth a visit for its Roman baths alone, dating back over 2,000 years.

There are plenty of other interesting attractions from the Jane Austen Museum to Mary Shelly’s House of Frankenstein, Pulteney Bridge, and the Royal Victoria Park. There’s an old railway track linking the city to Bristol which makes for a fantastic bike ride (I did this a few years ago).

Location: Bath is 80 miles southwest of Oxford. Click here for directions.
Getting There: Bath is one of the best day trips from Oxford by train and the journey time is just 90 minutes.
Best Tour from Oxford: Stonehenge and Bath Small Group Tour. Click here to book.
Must-Do Activities: Visit the Roman baths, the Jane Austen Centre, and take a walk around the Pulteney Bridge.
Where to Eat: Sunday lunch at Green Park Brasserie. Click here to view website.

5. Stonehenge

Stonehenge an ancient prehistoric stone monument during daylight on a cloudy blue sky.

The impressive neolithic stone circle at Stonehenge is one of the top day tours from Oxford and a must-visit English landmark. No one quite knows how these stones got where they did over 5,000 years ago, but one thing’s for sure; it has to be seen to be believed.

I’ve visited Stonehenge countless times on my way to Cornwall over the years and it never fails to impress. The site is on Salisbury Plain with impressive views for miles around. There’s a visitor center with artifacts uncovered nearby on display and a recreation of a Neolithic village.

Location: Stonehenge is just off the A303 70 miles (113 km) southwest of Oxford. Click here for directions.
Getting There: The best way to get to Stonehenge is to drive (take the A34 then the A303) or to take a tour.
Best Tour from Oxford: Stonehenge and Bath Small Group Tour. Click here to book.
Must-Do Activities: See the ancient stone circle, see the displays at the visitor center, and explore the recreated Neolithic village.
Where to Eat: The Wheatsheaf Pub and Restaurant, Salisbury. Click here to view their website.

6. Broadway

The stunning views overlooking idyllic rural landscapes in the Cotswolds are complemented by the amazing Broadway Tower.

The stunning village of Broadway is another of the most picturesque in the Cotswolds. There’s plenty to do from admiring the High Street with its honey-colored buildings made of Cotswold stone to exploring boutique shops, walking through the large deer park, and climbing the Broadway Tower for panoramic views.

Other nearby attractions include the colorful Lavender Farm, Dover’s Hill Nature Reserve, and Snowshill Manor House and Gardens. Broadway is also known for its arts scene and the annual Broadway Arts Festival each June. This is one of the best Oxford day trips for families thanks to the many ways to spend a day here.

Location: Broadway is 42 miles (68 km) northwest of Oxford. Click here for directions.
Getting There: This is one of the best day trips from Oxford by car and takes just over an hour by taking the A40 and A424. You can also take a tour from Oxford.
Best Tour from Oxford: Cotswold Explorer. Click here to book.
Must-Do Activities: Wander the picturesque High Street, climb the Broadway Tower, check out the art galleries, and visit Snowshill Manor.
Where to Eat: The Swan Inn. Click here for directions.

7. Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace in England

The impressive Blenheim Palace is a large country mansion that was built in the early 18th century. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of England’s finest examples of Baroque architecture. The Palace is the ancestral home and birthplace of war-time prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.

Visiting Blenheim is an easy day trip from Oxford as it’s just over 9 miles (14 km) from the city. This is a must for history lovers like myself. You can explore the house and surrounding gardens, and there are plenty of events throughout the year (check the website to see what’s currently on).

The palace is open daily from 10 am until 4:45 pm and tickets cost £22.50 for adults and £11.50 for children (you can get a discount if you travel by public transport). Facilities include a number of cafes and restaurants and a shop to browse making it an excellent day out for the entire family.

Location: Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PP. Click here for directions.
Getting There: This is one of the best day trips from Oxford by bus as it takes just 20 minutes from the center of the city. Take bus S3 or S7. You can also take a tour from Oxford.
Best Tour from Oxford: Blenheim Palace Guided Tour. Click here to book.
Must-Do Activities: Explore the house and gardens, stop for a cream tea, and shop for local gifts.
Where to Eat: Pizza at the palace anyone? The Walled Garden Pizaria at Blenheim Palace. Click here for directions.

8. Stroud

The small market town of Stroud is located in the heart of the Cotswolds and is one of my favorite day trips from Oxford (I have friends that live here so visit regularly). There’s plenty to do from browsing the farmers’ markets to having a night out at Stroud Brewery, exploring the picturesque high street, and visiting the Museum in the Park.

Stroud is also just a couple of miles from the gorgeous village of Slad, the birthplace of my favorite author Laurie Lee. The village is well worth a visit for its scenic, countryside location along a large valley, its historic church, and the excellent Woolpack Pub which is a great place for a spot of lunch.

Location: Stroud is 50 miles (80 km) due west of Oxford. Click here for directions.
Getting There: The best way to get to Stroud is to drive via the A40 which takes around 90 minutes.
Must-Do Activities: Visit the farmers’ markets and Stroud Brewery, see the Museum in the Park, visit Slad and have a pint in the Woolpack.
Where to Eat: The Woolpack Inn. Click here for directions.

9. Stow-on-the-Wold

Market cross in Market Square, Stow-on-the-Wold

One of the best day trips around Oxford is to the gorgeous market town of Stow-on-the-Wold. Stow is situated on top of a hill that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Cotswold countryside (“Wold” means hill in old English). The place has an interesting history dating back to the medieval period and is famous for its historic market square.

Visit the picturesque St Edward’s Church with its impressive doorway that looks like it’s been lifted straight out of The Lord of The Rings set. Stow is famous for its antique shops like the Tara Antiques Centre and is also home to the oldest pub in England – the Porch House.

Location: Stow-on-the-Wold is 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Oxford. Click here for directions.
Getting There: The best way to get to Stow is by car along the A40 and A424, or to take a tour.
Best Tour from Oxford: Cotswold Explorer. Click here to book.
Must-Do Activities: Visit the Market Square, see the ancient doorway at St Edward’s Church, have a pint in the Porch House, and browse the antique shops.
Where to Eat: The Porch House. Click here to view their website.

10. Avebury

Avebury stone circle

The picturesque English village of Avebury is famous for its bronze-age standing stone circle on the village green. The circle dates back to between 2850 BC and 2200 BC and forms part of the largest stone circles in Britain. The village is steeped in myth and folklore making it one of the most unique Oxford day trips.

Avebury itself is a beautiful village and well worth exploring. The rustic Wagon and Horses pub is a great place to stop for a bite to eat and a pint with charming views across the village green.

Location: Avebury is 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Oxford. Click here for directions.
Getting There: The best way to get to Avebury is to go by car following the A34 and A4. The journey time is around one hour.
Must-Do Activities: See the ancient standing stones, walk around the village green, and enjoy a cold pint at the Wagon and Horses.
Where to Eat: The Wagon and Horses. Click here for directions.

11. Cirencester

The Abbey Church and Cirencester Park in the Cotswolds, UK.

The pleasant market town of Cirencester is known for its Roman history, attractions, and many excellent cafes, restaurants, and pubs. There are lots of green spaces around the town from Cirencester Park to Cerney House and Gardens.

There’s a weekly farmers’ market with farmers selling local produce such as meat and vegetables, sauces, beers, ciders, and wines. The Corinium Museum details the town’s history and there’s an open-air swimming pool perfect for cooling off on summer’s days. Along with nearby Stroud, Cirencester is one of my favorite towns in the Cotswolds.

Location: Cirencester is 45 miles (72 km) from Oxford. Click here for directions.
Getting There: The best way to reach Cirencester is to drive via the A420. The journey time is just over an hour.
Must-Do Activities: Browse the farmers’ market, visit the Corinium Museum, and take a dip in the open-air swimming pool.
Where to Eat: The Bear Inn. Click here for directions.

12. Bibury

The beautiful Arlington row in Bibury, England.

Bibury is one of the most traditional Cotswolds villages with gorgeous, honey-colored stone cottages featuring thatched roofs, quaint gardens, and brightly colored flowerbeds. It’s home to the famous Arlington Row of houses which date back to the 14th Century and make for one of the top sights in the region (and a great place for the perfect English photograph).

You can walk along the picturesque River Coln that winds through the village and stop for lunch at The Catherine Wheel (if you happen to be there on a Sunday they do a great roast!). The village is also famed for its trout farm and restaurant which serves up this fresh, local delicacy.

Location: Bibury is 30 miles (48 km) west of Oxford. Click here for directions.
Getting There: The best way to get to Bibury is to travel by car along the A40 and B4425. The journey time is just under an hour.
Best Tour from Oxford: Cotswold Adventurer. Click here to book.
Must-Do Activities: See Arlington Row and the old Post Office, explore the Rack Isle Nature Reserve, and have a pint in The Catherine Wheel.
Where to Eat: The Catherine Wheel. Click here for directions.

13. Hike the Thames Path from Oxford to Abingdon

The Thames Path at Halfpenny bridge in Lechlade, England

I love a good hike and the stretch of trail from Oxford to Abingdon takes you on a journey through the heart of the beautiful English countryside. This 9.6 mile (15.6 km) point-to-point hike takes around four hours but can be completed over a whole day if you take a picnic or stop off along the way for lunch.

The path follows meadows along the side of the River Thames as it winds its way through the Oxfordshire countryside. You’ll have the opportunity to spot local birds and wildlife as the trail passes through many nature reserves like Rivermead Park. You can return to Oxford on the X2 or X3 bus.

Location: The trail starts at Osney Bridge on Botley Road in Oxford. Click here to learn more.
Getting There: You can hike the point-to-point trail one way in either direction and return by bus.
Must-Do Activities: Walking, birdwatching, picnicking.
Where to Eat: The Isis River Farmhouse. Click here for directions.

14. Henley-on-Thames

rowers racing on river Henley-on-Thames

Henley-on-Thames is a charming town not far from Oxford and famous for its annual regatta and connection to the sport of rowing. The Henley Royal Regatta has been held almost every year since 1839 (with the exception of the two world wars and covid).

Beautiful old Georgian buildings line the waterfront and the town center is home to many boutique shops selling everything from second-hand books to local produce. The town is surrounded by the beautiful Chiltern Hills where you’ll find some of England’s finest wineries such as the Chiltern Valley Winery and Brewery.

Location: Henley is 24 miles (39 km) southeast of Oxford. Click here for directions.
Getting There: Driving to Henley-on-Thames takes just over 30 minutes via the A4074 and A4130. There aren’t any direct trains or buses, but you can take bus 33 and change to bus 23 at Didcot.
Must-Do Activities: Explore the town, walk along the River Thames, go rowing, and watch the Henley Royal Regatta.
Where to Eat: The Angel on the Bridge. Click here for directions.

15. Cotswolds Water Park

One of the best day trips from Oxford is a visit to the Cotswolds Water Park with its 180 lakes spread over 42 square miles. There are lots of fun activities on offer from riverside walks and picnics to boating, kayaking, and swimming making this one of my favorite places to go in summer and an ideal place for families.

This unique wetland habitat is a breeding ground for thousands of bird species and an excellent place for wildlife watching. There’s even a beach complete with sand for swimming, making sandcastles, and many different watersports to try. You’ll also find a cozy beach shack cafe, and you can hire a BBQ.

If you fancy spending longer than a day here, it’s possible to stay within the park in one of the hotels, B&Bs, or campsites with both camping and glamping options available. Click here for more info.

Location: The Cotswolds Water Park is 44.6 miles (71.7 km) west of Oxford. Click here for directions.
Getting There: The best way to reach the water park is to drive following the A420. The journey takes just over one hour.
Must-Do Activities: Hiking, biking, swimming, boating, picnicking, BBQs, and camping.
Where to Eat: The White Hart Inn. Click here for directions.

Best Day Trip Tours from Oxford

Below, are some of the best day trips from Oxford by coach and small private vehicles. From quaint Cotswold villages to historic market towns and major landmarks like Stonehenge, these tours are the perfect way to explore the region and learn a lot about the areas.

Cotswolds Explorer: This full-day (8.5 hour) tour from Oxford takes in some of the Cotswold’s most photogenic towns and villages. Explore Bourton-on-the-Water and the River Windrush, upmarket Chipping Norton, and gorgeous Stow-on-the-Wold. Click here to book.

Stonehenge and Bath Small Group Tour: This 9-hour tour from Oxford first takes in the beautiful city of Bath with its Roman bathhouses and beautiful Georgian architecture before traveling to Stonehenge where you can marvel at the stone monoliths that date back over 5,000 years. Click here to book.

Blenheim Palace Guided Tour: This 90-minute excursion from Oxford will take you to historic Blenheim Palace, once home to wartime prime minister Winston Churchill. You’ll get to learn the history of the family and building from a knowledgeable guide on this intimate and private tour. Click here to book.

Cotswold and Shakespeare Tour: This 9-hour tour takes in some of the prettiest villages in England such as Bourton-on-the-Water and Chipping Campden before heading to Stratford upon Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, for a tour of the town and its major sights. Click here to book.

Downton Abbey Day Trip: This 9-hour tour to Highclere Castle takes in one of the major filming locations for the period drama Downton Abbey. The tour includes entrance to the castle and also includes some of the quaint Cotswold villages like Burford and Bampton. Click here to book.

Day Trips Around Oxford: FAQs

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about day trips from Oxford:

What is the most popular day trip from Oxford?

Getting out into the multiple towns and villages of the Cotswolds is one of the most popular day trips from Oxford, as is visiting historic Bath and nearby Stonehenge.

How many days do you need in Oxford?

Three to four days is a good amount of time to spend in Oxford to see the sights, but if you want to take some of these amazing day trips then a week is better and will be more relaxed.

What are the best day trips from Oxford with a car?

Some of the best day trips from Oxford with a car include the more rural and hard-to-reach villages such as Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury, and the Cotswold Water Park.

What are the best day trips from Oxford by train?

Bath is one of the best day trips from Oxford by train as the journey takes just 90 minutes.

What is the most beautiful place near Oxford?

There are so many beautiful places near Oxford that it’s impossible to choose just one. Bibury, Chipping Norton, Stow, and Bourton are definitely contenders and some of the prettiest towns and villages in England by far.

In Conclusion

Now you know about the best day trips from Oxford which one would you like to do first? With so many options from touring the postcard-like villages of the Cotswolds to historic Bath, Stonehenge, and Avebury, there’s sure to be something for everyone.

For outdoor lovers like myself, get out into nature at the Cotswolds Water Park or hike to Abingdon along the pretty River Thames. One thing’s for sure, you won’t be disappointed by these excellent Oxford day trips.

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Need a break from the city buzz? Discover the magic just outside Oxford's doorstep! Our handpicked collection of the 15 best day trips will take you on an unforgettable journey, where you'll witness nature's splendor and soak in rich cultural heritage. | #DiscoverBeyond #Oxford #UKTravel
Seeking an escape from the ordinary? Venture beyond Oxford's boundaries and be amazed by the beauty that awaits! Our curated selection of 15 extraordinary day trips promises hidden gems, awe-inspiring landscapes, and a dash of pure joy. Let's make memories that will last a lifetime! | #BeyondOxford #Travel #Wanderlust
Calling all explorers! Get off the beaten path and explore the wonders that lie beyond Oxford. Our list of the 15 best day trips guarantees epic adventures, stunning vistas, and unforgettable experiences. Grab your map and let's embark on a journey you'll never forget! | #OffToNewHorizons #TravelBliss #DayTripFever #AdventureAwaits
Steve Rohan Author Bio

Written by

Steve Rohan

Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. In 2015 he moved to China to teach English where he lived for over six years. He has lived and taught in the cities of Harbin, Luoyang, Sanya, and spent a few months in Hong Kong, before returning to England in 2022. He has visited over 60 countries to date and usually opts for overland travel (yes, even between the UK and China). Steve has travelled extensively across China, and Central Asia. Having lived much of his life within a 50-mile radius of London, the city is his second home and he knows it like the back of his hand.

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