Nestled in the heart of England, Oxfordshire is a vibrant region complemented by its lush countryside and bustling town life.

Steeped in historical significance, this world-renowned location prides itself on its rich heritage, wealth of attractions, and grandeur architecture. Whether you're attracted to the picturesque villages dotted across the landscape or the vibrant and contemporary life in cities like Oxford, there is something for everyone in Oxfordshire. Our area guide will offer insights into the historical background, landmarks, top attractions, favourite residential areas, educational possibilities, and transportation in Oxfordshire, as well as the diverse range of properties available.

History of Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire's history is momentous and varied, with roots dating back to ancient times. Early human settlements in Oxfordshire date back to the Neolithic era, but the region truly came into its own during the Roman period. It gained prominence in the mid-12th century with the establishment of Oxford University, which is now recognised as one of the oldest and most prestigious universities worldwide. Key historical events, including the English Civil War in the 17th century, have left an indelible mark on the region, shaping its unique cultural and social character. Over time, Oxfordshire has transformed from a primarily agricultural county to a diversified economy driven by education, technology, and tourism.


Oxfordshire is home to an impressive array of landmarks, ranging from grandiose palaces to formidable castles and historic university buildings. The Bodleian Library, for instance, is a cornerstone of Oxford University, housing over 13 million printed items. Discover Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, set within acres of stunningly manicured gardens. Lastly, don't miss the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, an architectural gem filled with fascinating exhibits on natural history and archaeology.

Landmarks we love

  • Pitt Rivers Museum: Located within the University of Oxford, this museum hosts a vast collection of global archaeology and ethnography. The collection ranges from ancient weapons and tools to intricate art pieces from around the globe, making it a must-visit for culture enthusiasts.
  • River Thames Path: This riverside path spans a large part of Southern England, beginning in Gloucestershire and passing right through the heart of Oxford. It offers picturesque views and ample opportunities for walking, cycling, and exploring.
  • Uffington White Horse: This ancient hill figure, carved into the chalky hillside, is a mysterious and impressive relic from the Bronze Age. The site offers panoramic views of the Oxfordshire countryside.
  • Oxford Castle: The partly ruined Norman Castle is a historical gem, offering guided tours that delve into the rich heritage, from its time as a prison to an important administrative centre in Medieval times.
  • Christ Church College: Notable as being both a college and a cathedral, it has stood as a centre for learning for over 500 years. It's well worth a visit to glance into its stunning grounds, the great hall, and other historic features.

Top 10 things to do in Oxfordshire

  • Oxford Botanic Garden: The oldest botanic garden in the UK, boasting a variety of plants from all around the world. Its beauty, tranquillity, and wealth of plant life make it a must-visit for nature lovers.
  • Cotswold Wildlife Park: Home to a diverse collection of wildlife and picturesque grounds, this wildlife park is perfect for a family outing.
  • Port Meadow: This ancient grazing land offers a tranquil setting for a walk or picnic, with beautiful views of the River Thames.
  • Modern Art Oxford: A leading UK arts centre presenting exciting and diverse works from artists from all over the world.
  • Ashmolean Museum: Offering a comprehensive collection of art and archaeology, from Egyptian mummies to contemporary art, it's a must-visit for any culture vulture.
  • Bicester Village: For those who love shopping, this luxury destination offers an array of designer outlets and boutique stores.
  • Chiltern Hills: A designated area of natural beauty, providing ample opportunities for walking, cycling, wildlife spotting and admiring the beautiful countryside.
  • Blenheim Palace Grounds: Besides the palace itself, the grounds offer beautiful gardens, a butterfly house and a range of events throughout the year.
  • Turville Village: This quintessentially English village offers a peek into rural life in Oxfordshire, with charming houses, a historic church and a welcoming local pub.
  • River and Rowing Museum: Located in Henley, this unique museum explores the history of the River Thames, rowing and the town of Henley.

Our recommended areas to live in Oxfordshire

  • Oxford City Centre: At the heart of Oxfordshire, Oxford City Centre offers a vibrant urban lifestyle with access to a variety of cultural attractions, shopping centres, restaurants, night-life and world-class educational institutions.
  • Headington: A residential area in Oxford, popular for its open green spaces, range of amenities and access to notable schools. The world-renowned Oxford University Hospitals are also located here.
  • Abingdon: As one of the oldest towns in England, Abingdon is steeped in history and surrounded by natural beauty. It offers a quiet, village feel whilst still being close to the larger city centres.
  • Witney: Situated on the edge of the Cotswolds, Witney is a charming market town with a wealth of historic buildings, independent shops, and high-quality schools.
  • Henley-On-Thames: Offering riverside living, Henley is a lively town with a rich history, a thriving arts scene and is famous for its annual Royal Regatta.

Best schools in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire prides itself on providing high-quality education at every level. Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University dominate the higher education scene in the county. Oxford High School and The Dragon School have an excellent reputation for primary and secondary education.

Oxfordshire's schools are renowned for their strong academic standards, vast curricular and extracurricular activities, and their commitment to the holistic development of students. Special educational needs are catered for in specialist schools throughout the region.

The county's location also makes it an ideal place for families seeking international schools, as there are several highly-regarded establishments, including Chandlings School and Kingham Hill School, both offering the International Baccalaureate programme.

Transport links in Oxfordshire

Located in the heart of England, Oxfordshire benefits from exceptional transport links. Oxford and surrounding areas are well-connected by road, rail and air. The Oxford Ring Road provides easy access to various motorways including the M40, which leads towards London and Birmingham. The A34 runs through the county, connecting to other major roads and providing links to the North and South.

Several train stations ensure excellent rail connectivity to various parts of the UK. Oxford Railway Station provides direct trains to London Paddington with a travel time of just over an hour. In terms of air travel, Heathrow and Birmingham airports are within easy reach, ensuring national and international accessibility.

To summarise, Oxfordshire stands out as a region that combines rural charm with a vibrant cultural scene and a rich history. There are ample activities to engage visitors and residents alike, from visiting renowned landmarks, roaming through historic villages, exploring beautiful landscapes, to shopping in luxury shopping centres. With great schools, outstanding transport links, and a variety of residential options, it's an ideal place for families, professionals, and students. Whether you're looking for the active city life or a serene country setting, Oxfordshire offers the best of both.

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