The pretty villages of Oxfordshire
PUBLISHED: 17:08 26 August 2016 | UPDATED: 12:33 30 August 2016
Nestled in the heart of England, Oxfordshire Cotswolds is steeped in history, culture and beauty. The picture-perfect towns and villages, just a short while away from the hustle and bustle of the Oxford city centre, are wonderful to explore. Immerse yourself in the stunning scenery of these six pretty towns and villages
The village of Aston is your quintessential English village with the locals’ main amenities centred around the village square. The village is home to the popular Aston Pottery and the Chimney Meadows – a 250-hectare nature reserve, rich in wildlife, along the banks of the Thames. Lose yourself in the scenic surroundings along the Thames National Trail path, covered in elegant plants, including meadow foxtail, adder’s tongue-fern and green-winged orchid.
For foodies, make a trip to Kingham where you’ll find the award-winning pubs, The Wild Rabbit and Kingham Plough, ideal destinations for locally sourced, seasonal fare and delicious local ales, with both providing a welcoming atmosphere and accommodation if needed. Once you’ve had your fill, stroll round the village to see the beautiful limestone cottages set upon rolling green lawns the village is known for.
Cast your eyes upon the grand stone houses and honey-coloured cottages which sit upon the River Windrush running through Swinbrook. Apparently untouched for generations, it is the typical English village with its stone walls, pretty church with a wooden pavilion and an idyllic Cotswold pub, The Swan Inn, which sits next to the old stone bridge across the river. The Swan Inn is steeped in history, and you’ll find photographs and monuments nodding to the connections the gastropub had with the famous Mitford sisters. Make a stop at the tiny parish church where striking 17th-century Fettiplace monuments can be found.
Set high on the hill, with panoramic views across the valley, enjoy a walk round this pretty village with charming period cottages. Between Great Rollright and its neighbouring village, Little Rollright, you can find the enigmatic Rollright Stones. The magical prehistoric stone circle is a wonder to see.
Described as “heaven on earth” by William Morris, Kelmscott is a beautifully charming village sitting just before the Thames towpath. William Morris’ summer house, Kelmscott Manor, boasts stunning gardens, barns, a dovecote, a peaceful meadow and babbling stream; its beauty providing constant inspiration to his writing. The summer house holds an outstanding collection of his works and possessions for you to have a peek at. After taking in the culture, enjoy tea and cake in the manor’s tearooms or head to The Plough nearby, with a picturesque pub garden for al fresco dining or roaring log fires in the winter for a warming bite to eat.
With its medieval bridge, old stone houses and attractive Tudor and Georgian frontages, Burford is arguably one of the most picturesque towns in England. For history lovers, make a stop at the Tolsey Museum to discover plenty about the town’s social and working culture. There’s also plenty of independent shops, boutiques and numerous eateries to visit; we recommend the Royal Oak for mouth-watering homemade pie and chips.
Known as the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’, Oxford is one of those English anomalies, a bustling tourist hotspot where crowds are keen to immerse themselves in the grand architecture and the rich history of the city, while a few feet away the din disappears and you’ll find yourself in a pocket of peacefulness.
There’s plenty to see and do, from the diverse architectural wonders of the city’s 38 university buildings, world-famous museums like the Ashmolean, the grand Bodleian libraries and the glorious walk along the sleepy Cherwell, you’ll be spoilt for choice for how to spend your visit to Oxford.