15 Brilliant Day Trips from Oxford
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Are you looking for fantastic ideas for day trips from Oxford? We’ve chosen 15 brilliant destinations you should have on your list.
So, you’ve spent a few days marvelling in Oxford and now you’re wondering what else lies beyond this city? Day trips out of Oxford are relatively easy and plenty enjoyable.
With so many options, it can be hard to choose the best destination. That’s why we’ve created this practical guide – the best day trips and tours from Oxford.
The Best Day Trips From Oxford
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bath is well known for its all-around magnificent Roman architecture – explained by the fact that it was established around 1 AD.
Explore the Roman baths after which the city was named or visit the Thermae Bath Spa for a lovely dip in the heated pool. Check out Bath’s Abbey Towers too.
Unfortunately, there are no direct trains between Oxford and Bath. There is one changeover at Didcot Parkway – but it is an easy journey that’s quite quick if the connections are good.
The train departs from Oxford and arrives at Bath Spa Station.
Average journey duration: 1h 4min
Hassle-free option: Book this Bath City Walking Tour (transport to bath not included).
Built about 5000 years ago, Stonehenge is a fascinating structure that still begs the question – why was it built?
Although we know that Stonehenge took around 1000 years to be built and that different civilizations managed to maintain this structure, no one really understands how.
At Stonehenge, travellers can check out the visitor centre, get a few gifts at the shop, see the special exhibition and trod along around the Stone Circle. Grab a ticket in advance to avoid spending time waiting in line.
The trip from Oxford to Stonehenge is quite long—it’s over 3 hours long by train! The train departs from Oxford Station and arrives at Stonehenge, Salisbury.
Average journey duration: 3h 27min
Hassle-free option: Buy this Stonehenge skip-the-line admission ticket (transport not included)
Pro-tip: Most people prefer to visit Stonehenge and Bath in one fell swoop. Book this all-inclusive Bath and Stonehenge tour to experience it all.
A day trip from Oxford to the Cotswolds is an easy one – seeing as The Cotswolds are right on the city’s doorstep. There are so many popular towns in the Cotswolds, the biggest difficulty is narrowing it down to which ones to see in a day.
Places like Burford, Bourton-on-the-Water as well as quaint villages like Taynton and Barringtons are easily accessible throughout the journey.
Transportation options will depend on where you’re going but the easiest option is to book a half-day tour or a full-day tour, depending on how much time you have to spare. These tours take out all the planning and travel stress of renting a car.
The train departs from Oxford and arrives at Kemble Station.
Average journey duration: 4h 44min
Hassle-free option: Book this full-day tour to the Cotswolds.
Why take a jaunt to the birthplace of William Shakespeare?
With culturally significant sites like Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, The Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon is a throwback into the 16th century.
Or, hop on a City Sightseeing bus and tour the Stratford Butterfly Farm, the MAD Museum, the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal, Holy Trinity Church and so much more!
The journey to Stratford-upon-Avon is manageable via train. There’s no direct train but you can do the 36-mile journey with one changeover. Be sure to double-check the times.
The train departs from Oxford station to Stratford-upon-Avon station.
Average journey duration: 1h 25min
Hassle-free option: Book this Stratford-upon-Avon tour from Oxford.
Tucked away in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, Blenheim Palace is the only non-royal and non-episcopal palace of this size in all of England. With around 2000 acres of land, there’s plenty to explore.
The palace was built in the early 18th century and has been the seat of the Duke of Marlborough ever since. It was also William Churchill’s family home—the former Prime Minister was born there in 1874.
There is also an opportunity to check out the Column of Victory, multiple gardens and of course, hire a rowing boat to cruise down the canal. Book a guided tour so that you miss nothing.
If you are intrigued by iconic filming locations, you’ll be interested to learn that the famous Harry Potter tree exists here. You know, the one where Snape’s worst memory takes place in The Order of the Phoenix.
Travel from Oxford to Woodstock’s Blenheim Palace by bus or train, with only a 30-minute transit. Since sustainable travel is encouraged, book the journey through their website for a 30% discount as well.
The bus departs from Oxford Parkway to Blenheim.
Average journey duration: 30 min
Hassle-free option: Book a Blenheim Palace Guided Tour.
Highclere Castle is the perfect day trip from Oxford for many reasons. How does a trip to a stunning country house in the middle of Berkshire sound? Thought so.
This 5-acre estate is the home of the Earl of Carnarvon, and, most famously is the very location where Downton Abbey was filmed.
The train departs from Oxford and arrives at Newbury with a stop in Reading.
Average journey duration: 1h 6min
Hassle-free option: Book this tour from Oxford to Downton Abbey and Cotswold.
Don’t let the long-standing rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge deter you from taking a trip to England’s other famous university city. Cambridge is a wonderful place to visit that’s packed with gorgeous architecture and cultural experiences.
Discover the wide assortment of museums, literature and art. Alternatively, try your hand at punting, visit the botanic gardens or take a tour of some of the university’s most famous colleges. Either way, a day trip from Oxford to Cambridge is a near-perfect tour.
The train departs from Oxford and arrives at Cambridge station.
Average journey duration: 2h
Hassle-free option: Book this Oxford and Cambridge tour from London
Bournemouth is a great location to discover as many beaches as possible. From Bournemouth Beach, Hengistbury Head Beach to Southbourne Beach, Alum Chine Beach and the Boscombe Pier.
After a day sunbathing at the beach, visitors also love to visit the oceanarium or the Lower Gardens.
The train departs from Oxford and arrives in Bournemouth with stops in Reading and Basingstoke.
Average journey duration: 1h 56min
The British capital offers so much to explore on a day trip from Oxford.
You’re never going to be able to see that much of London in a day, but you can give it a good try. Start with big landmarks like The London Eye and the Palace of Westminster before strolling down the South Bank to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
There are also pop culture excursions like Platform 9 and ¾ at King’s Cross Station for Harry Potter fans.
The train departs from Oxford to Paddington, London.
Average journey duration: 1h 8min
Hassle-free option: Check out the London Eye or enjoy a Sightseeing Cruise.
Home to the delectable Cadbury World, Bournville is a quick hop away from Birmingham and an easy escape into a famous chocolate factory.
This model village was home to the Cadbury factory employees and their families. The purpose of this beautifully charming turn of the 20th-century housing was to provide a safe haven for the employees, and has since been called ‘one of the best places to live in Britain’.
The best travel option here is Cross Country railways for most of the way, with a quick 15-minute ride with West Midlands Trains.
The train departs from Oxford to Birmingham, New Street.
Average journey duration: 1h 45min
Tired of the cold in England? Well, why not visit The Living Rainforest in Hampstead Norreys, Berkshire?
This indoor greenhouse is run by the Trust for Sustainable Living and is a brilliant place to visit for entertainment, education, and animal-themed enjoyment.
The Rainforest is home to several fascinating animals and spectacular plants. Check out the Asian mudskipper, two-toed sloth and every beautiful orchid imaginable. Or join a zookeeper experience and take a tour through the facility, which includes feeding some of the animal residents.
The best route to the rainforest is by car. But you can catch a private cab or catch the train if you plan carefully.
Average journey duration: 36 mins
Bicester Village is an up-and-coming market town with great opportunities for exclusive luxury shopping.
While the town itself has always been a market town, a designer outlet mall has recently been drumming up business with tourists coming from almost everywhere. Get your favourite boutique brands from Gucci, Balenciaga, Armani and Jo Malone.
Since you can shop here tax-free, this mall should help tick off everything on your Christmas list.
The train departs from Oxford and arrives at Bicester village (or Manorsfield Road from Magdalen Street).
Average journey duration: 20-30 min
Windsor Castle is where the real royals live. While you won’t be invited in for a cup of tea, you miiiiight spot a royal or two in the driveway.
Get the full experience with a tour around the precincts with guided audio by Prince Charles himself.
While the royals are the headliners, the opening act is surely the changing of guards ceremony. Check-in advance to get the timing just right, as this doesn’t happen every day.
Besides the castle, head out to tantalize the sweet tooth at Dr Choc’s Windsor chocolate factory or the Fudge Kitchen.
The train departs from Oxford and arrives at Windsor and Eton Central Station (with stops in Slough and Reading).
Average journey duration: 1h 16 min
Hassle-free option: Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour (doesn’t include transport to Windsor).
Why visit Leeds? The opportunities to discover the Leeds Grand Theatre for opera, Leeds Playhouse for theatre productions and ballet or head out to the Hyde Park Picture House for the last remaining gas-lit cinema for starters.
There’s the Belgrave Music Hall and sculpture exhibits at The Henry Moore Institute. Or, stroll down the arcades for an elaborate shopping spree.
While you’re in Leeds, you have to try a pub and beer tour, it’s a must.
The train departs from Oxford (stops at Birmingham New Street) and arrives in Leeds.
Average journey duration: 3h 22min
Hassle-free option: Street Food Guide Tour of Leeds (does not include transport to Leeds).
The Peak District National Park is in central England. Right at the heart of the UK, you can find hiking trails, cavern tours and Chatsworth house.
The Peak District is known for its profound beauty and ever-so-scenic hills and countryside trails. This is the perfect spot for anyone looking to reconnect with nature.
While most hassle-free tours begin in Manchester. A self-guided tour is just as promising as these parts are pretty self-explanatory. Or, you can spend a night in Manchester to get an early start to a pre-planned day trip adventure.
The train departs from Oxford to Dove Holes.
Average journey duration: 3h 41min
Hassle-free option: Book a day trip to Peak District National Park from Manchester.
Practical Tips for Easy Day Trips From Oxford
- Get a ticket early, if you’re travelling around by train, get a national railcard to score a few extra bucks while you’re on the go. If a car is available to you, driving will speed things up. But, there is no adventure lost by using public transportation.
- Be sure to line up all of your activities beforehand. Pre-planning allows you to make the most of your experience without having to rush to catch a train or a bus.
- Wherever you decide to go, double-check the opening and closing times for your favourite sites as well.