Looking to explore some of the beautiful parks in Oxford? Let me give you a head’s up – you’ll struggle to choose just one to visit.
I may be biased, but Oxford is notoriously pretty and you don’t need to travel very far to find a green space that makes it feel like you’ve escaped to the countryside.
Whether you want to embark on one of these gorgeous Oxford walks (many of which happen to be at these parks) or if deer-spotting besides historic buildings sounds fun, there’s bound to be a park in Oxford that takes your fancy.
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. Here’s a round-up of my favourites.
Beautiful Parks in Oxford
Christ Church Meadow
As the most iconic and undeniably breathtaking park in Oxford, Christ Church Meadow offers all the peace and tranquillity you could possibly ask for, but is located just five minutes away from the very centre of the city.
There’s so much to do here, but the main draw to the park is The War Memorial and Rose Garden (which, funnily enough, only contains one rose). Despite that, many people simply enjoy taking a walk along the grassy paths and admiring the longhorn cattle that graze nearby.
The early 19th-century Meadow building overlooks the park, and the Thames and Cherwell rivers run adjacent to either side of the garden, providing the most stunning backdrop to a gentle wander through the park.
The visitor centre also has a charming little cafe where you can grab a coffee and snack to take away, as well as some classic Oxford literature merch to get your mitts on.
Address: The Meadow, Oxford OX1 4JF
In stark contrast to the historical Christ Church Meadow, Hinksey Park is a modern park in Oxford with a whole host of cool things to do.
Centred around Hinksey Lake, which stretches across one end of the park, this is a particularly gorgeous spot in the Autumn.
Aside from being a leafy haven when the weather cools, Hinksey Park is known for its sports facilities. Tennis courts, bowling greens, and even an outdoor swimming pool can be found here, so you’re not short of activities to keep any little ones entertained (or anyone who’s young-at-heart).
Address: Abingdon Rd, Oxford OX1 4PZ
Magdalen College Deer Park
Located on the grounds of Magdalen College is an area of the park known for the deer that live there.
As the only deer park Oxford has to offer (centrally, at least), it’s a popular spot with those looking to see these adorable creatures. You’ll find them just off the path as you make your way through the meadow, passing the beautiful college and chapel buildings.
Address: Oxford OX1 4AU
Oxford Botanic Gardens
Speaking of the Oxford Botanic Gardens, you just have to visit this stunning spot.
With over 400 years of interesting history, the Oxford Botanic Gardens are the oldest in the world. The garden is actually split into two areas: The Walled Garden and The Lower Garden, and you’ll be able to explore both when you visit.
The space boasts pretty landscaped areas, a herbarium, as well as many glasshouse, which allow you to view some rather exotic plants that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Address: Rose Ln, Oxford OX1 4AZ
Just behind Oxford’s Museum of Natural History lies vast acres of open space under the universally-adopted nickname of the Uni Parks.
The park was originally owned by Merton College, though Oxford University purchased the space in the 1850s, transforming it into a large ground for sports and recreation in 1864. And interestingly enough, you might even spot a game of Quidditch being played here by the University team.
Whether you fancy stretching your legs away from the hustle and bustle of central Oxford or want to check out the Genetic Garden dedicated to Professor Cyril Dean Darlington, there’s something for everyone here.
Address: S Parks Rd, Oxford OX1 3RF
Cutteslowe and Sunnymead Park
Boasting a prestigious Green Flag Award, Cutteslowe and Sunnymead Park is actually the largest park in Oxford, measuring a whopping 103 acres.
The park was founded in 1936 after the council bought the land of Cutteslowe Manor Farm, the house of which still sits in the centre of the park.
Today the park has a semi-natural wildlife area and community woodland that you can explore, as well as plenty of manicured gardens and grassy space for you to chill out.
There are also a couple of children’s play areas, sports courts, and even a mini golf course.
Address: Elsfield Way, Oxford OX2 8NP
Port Meadow is an ancient meadowland situated just 15 minutes from the historic centre of Oxford.
With the Thames running all the way along its left side, Port Meadow is a verdant green space and home to plenty of animals – including ponies and cows who can be found grazing on their pasture.
It’s also a lovely place to fish (if you’ve got a license!), or if you’re feeling brave, opt for some wild swimming in the water.
Address: Walton Well Rd, Oxford OX2 6ED
Milham Ford Nature Park
Previously a school field but now a trendy hangout spot, Milham Ford Nature Park is a leafy green space with a pond, sculptures, and plenty of benches where you can appreciate the beauty in front of you.
At any time of the year, Milham Ford Park is impressive. In spring, the park is filled with bright blooms – particularly daffodils and crocuses that bring a splash of colour to the otherwise grassy park.
The colder months see a frosty blanket settle on the grass, and the trees turn a beautiful orange hue.
Address: Marston Rd, Headington, Oxford OX3 0DJ
Shotover Country Park
Shotover Country Park is another Headington gem. This park near Oxford is home to some seriously impressive woodland and hidden valleys that take you back to the rough and tumble of being a kid. Or maybe it’s just me that wants to climb trees and explore everything.
Because the site is filled with important wildlife, most of the park has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
You’ll be able to spot blackbirds, white admiral butterflies, and green woodpeckers, amongst plenty of other creatures.
Address: Old Rd, Headington OX3 8TA
Flo’s Park is an all-rounder! You’ve got a stunning tree-lined promenade and flower beds, mini golf and sports courts, a quaint cafe, and rustic walking trails.
On a hot day (we can dream, right?) this park becomes a haven filled with locals drinking and relaxing, though it never feels too cramped due to its huge size.
Got kids? You’ll be glad to know that this is a brilliant spot to bring the children to – there’s a playground and a mini beach (don’t get too excited, it’s basically just a large sandpit) to keep them occupied, so you can whip out a book and get some respite.
Oh, and the park is just off Cowley Road, so it’s pretty easy to get to.
Address: Florence Park, 94 Cornwallis Rd, Oxford OX4 3PW
Located between Botley and North Hinksley, Raleigh Park is one of the best parks near Oxford. Don’t be put off because this park is just outside of the centre; it offers incredible views of the Oxford spires that are worth making the small detour.
Other than striking views, Raleigh Park has a stream running through the grounds, with a pretty waterfall and pond the perfect place to reflect.
The land previously belonged to Raymond Ffennel, who owned Wytham Abbey. He actually decided to give the land to the City of Oxford to use as a park, and it was named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who lived nearby.
Address: Oxford OX2 9AS
Bury Knowle Park
Another of Oxford’s Green Flag-awarded parks is Bury Knowle Park. This one is located just to the east, in Headington.
While the other parks in the city are beautiful, this one is also really unique. Narnia-themed sculptures and a play area completely transport you (and any little ones you might bring along) into a world of literary treasures.
The Wheel of Hope and The Story Book Tree are just two of the sculptures here based on the work of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien – there’s also a literal library in the park, just in case you’re left feeling motivated to read.
Address: 178 London Rd, Headington, Oxford OX3 9ED
CS Lewis Nature Reserve
While you could argue that it’s technically not a park, the CS Lewis Nature Reserve offers plenty of natural open space for you to wander through – so I think it counts.
The woodland area in the reserve centres around a large pond, known for harbouring lots of frog’s spawn and cultivating other pretty plant species. And the nature trail that circles around the park is the perfect place for a dog walk, or even an early morning run.
If you’re wondering why the area is named after the literary great, he used to own the land that the reserve sits on. You’re literally following in his footsteps – let’s hope you leave inspired.
Address: 5 Lewis Cl, Headington, Oxford OX3 8JD