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Our guide to luxury Oxfordshire holidays

From its learned college spires and libraries to the storybook villages that bespeckle its open countryside, Oxfordshire is bookish and beguiling in equal measure. This is the Unique guide to luxury Oxfordshire holidays.

For a smallish pocket of the country, Oxfordshire certainly crams an abundance of culture into its county bounds. From big-hitting museums (Pitt Rivers, Pendon, and Ashmolean to name but a few), to its impressive and ever-changing arts calendar; those with pedagogical passions have come to the right place. Beyond academia, Oxfordshire has a lesser-known outdoorsy scene; hike through beech trees on the chalk escarpment of the Chiltern Hills AONB, or take the ancient Ridgeway Trail by bike, passing Neolithic long barrows on your way. With its warren of willow-shaded waterways, a punt along the Cherwell – Champagne in hand – is a proviso of any long weekend in the land of Tolkien and Hawking.

 A gateway to the coveted Cotswolds – known for its low-slung limestone villages, lush pastures, and prim English gardens – Burford and Bibury invite easy afternoons. With over 5,000 plant species, the grounds of Blenheim Palace – the blueprint of Baroque architecture and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill – draw visitors in their droves to picnic in Britain’s oldest botanic garden. Ready to get to know the county of dreaming spires and rolling countryside? This is our guide to luxury Oxfordshire holidays, including what to see, do, and all the best places to stay; think classic stone barns with a dose of Cali cool and canal-side country homes filled to the rafters with contemporary art.

Locations in Oxfordshire

From Banbury´s higgledy-piggledy cobbled streets and iconic castle, to sleepy Burford with its half-timbered houses and boutiques, Oxfordshire is a treasure trove of historic towns, winding trails, and academic Goliaths.

Collections in Oxfordshire

Whether you´re craving the literary solace that solo travel brings, or a party place complete with oodles of outdoor space for hot tub soaks and private chef suppers, you´ll find it all - and then some - in our curated collections.

Things to do in Oxfordshire

Perfect your punt on the Cherwell, your pottery at Wantage, or your pour at the Cotswolds Distillery, whilst little zoologists meet pygmy goats at Cogges Manor, and adventurers clock long miles across the Chilterns.

Things to see in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire is the county that time forgot; admire Capability Brown´s opulent gardens at Blenheim, spy shooting stars from 5,000-year-old stone circles, or tour one of Britain´s best public Roman relics in Chedworth.

Where to eat in Oxfordshire

Savour just-picked garden produce under canvas, seek out inns that are all flagstone floors and snoozing labs, and frequent farmers´ markets for picnic provisions par excellence, with tea rooms aplenty for post-potter scones.

Journals about Oxfordshire

Romance is the byword here. So, sip rosehip tea and daydream of candy floss skies and "sleepymoon" spots to linger in that just-married magic, or read of how popping bottles to Billie Holiday proved just the tonic for one couple.

To the ends of the Earth

To the ends of the Earth

Ah, the ends of the Earth. From Ittoqqortoormiit to Alaska, all explorers have their own idea on the matter. But the notion that an “end” exists reveals a truth so often missed. Call it a reawakening.

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The best places to spend Christmas in the UK

The best places to spend Christmas in the UK

Mulled wine, mince pies, chocolate logs and twinkling lights; it must be the most wonderful time of the year. If you´re looking for a last-minute Christmas trip, here´s your guide.

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From 17th century farmhouse to modern masterpiece; a look inside The Dancer´s Room

From 17th century farmhouse to modern masterpiece; a look inside The Dancer´s Room

We speak with owner, Nick, who tells us of The Dancer´s Room´s transformation to a townhouse-under-thatch, along with all the reasons he loves his Oxfordshire escape.

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The British Nordic

The British Nordic

We owe much to The Nordics. Givers of Edvard Munch and the Moomins, of saunas and smörgåsbords. Here, we offer up our most earthen homes, built on hygge foundations.

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Oxfordshire FAQ´s

Looking for advice on reaching Oxford from London? Want to know the traditional foods to try? If you have an Oxfordshire-specific query, you might find the answer here. For everything else, visit our general FAQs.

How far is Oxfordshire from London?

Oxfordshire’s largest city is Oxford, just an hour outside of London by train. By car, the journey can vary depending on traffic but, at just 60 miles away, generally takes around 15 to 30 minutes longer. Oxfordshire is popular with day trippers from the capital, taking a break from the rat race in historic Oxford, the peaceful Cotswolds, or for sundowners on rowing boats in yachty Henley-on-Thames.

Is Oxford a walking city?

Many say the only way to see Oxford is to do it on foot. There are grand university buildings and tiny tearooms to explore, tangled waterways, and wide, open parkland for lunchtime picnics; the city is awash with history, from its industrial working past to the ruined, mediaeval wall built in 1226 that still surrounds the city today. Your comfiest pair of walking shoes are a must here, for a short amble soon turns into a day spent meandering from one marvellous boutique to the next, or from one museum to the other.

Are the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire?

Partly, yes. While some parts of the Cotswolds can be found in Gloucestershire, some of the most popular towns and villages sit within Oxfordshire. Caramel cottages line the high street in Burford, locals sup pints of Old Hooky in Chipping Norton’s thatched pubs, and Witney, home to former Prime Minister David Cameron, charms all those who wander its twisting lanes. Whether you cosy up in a cob cottage for two or a country house for more, The Cotswolds are never too far and always worth the short trip for tea, cake and country walks.

What food is Oxfordshire known for?

Harking back to the 16th century, Banbury Cakes are a local favourite. With currants steeped in a nutmeg and cinnamon mixture, you’ll find these crumbly pastry cakes in bakeries across the county, often enjoyed as part of an afternoon tea. Pick up a half dozen, brew a fresh pot of Earl Grey, and pick up your favourite book whilst the wind howls outside in the winter. Other local favourites include Hollygog Pudding, a sticky, golden syrup roly poly baked in milk, and Oxford Blue Cheese, made in honey-hued Burford.

What canal runs through The Cotswolds?

Abandoned somewhere between the 1920s and the 1950s, there are two wonderful canals that run through The Cotswolds; The Stroudwater Canal and the Thames & Severn Canal. This 37-mile link was used to connect The River Severn to the River Thames at Lechlade in Gloucestershire. Though six miles have been restored, it’s rare to see any boat traffic still using this old transport network. Nowadays, it serves as a serene backdrop for lazy walks along the water’s edge, passing listed lock cottages and river reeds that sway in the breeze.

Own a property in Oxfordshire?

Are you the keeper of a collegial townhouse? Or the custodian of a storybook thatch? From Henley-on-Thames to the ´Wolds to pretty Burford, we´re seeking Oxfordshire´s most unique homes to join our growing portfolio.

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