A visitor’s guide to Kidlington

PUBLISHED: 09:40 02 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:40 02 April 2020

Kidlington

Kidlington

Archant

We’ve assembled a brief guide to help you to get the most from your visit to Kidlington, sponsored by Yarnton Home & Garden

Population: 15,800

Move here for… £950,000

And get: A newly built detached house on a tucked away site, with five bedrooms, two en-suite, a downstairs study and a south-facing garden.

Eat at: The Royal Sun, Begbroke (01865 374718)

Why? Head west of Kidlington to this ancient coaching inn for a classics-fusion menu.

Drink at: The Boat Inn (01865 374279)

Why? Voted best canalside pub in Oxfordshire, and most friendly country pub 2019, this hostelry in Thrupp is the perfect stop-off for walkers, boaters and Inspector Morse fans.

Stay at: Oxford Studios B&B (07487 520271)

Why? These smart studio-style rooms on Blenheim Road in Kidlington include a private kitchen area and help yourself breakfasts.

Sandwiched between Oxford and Woodstock, Kidlington used to be known as Kidlington on the Green. The village celebrates its 800th year in 2020 with a series of talks and exhibitions, a village fete honouring the Olympics in June, an operatic evening concert in July and a music festival in October. The old village centred around St Mary’s church and it’s here you’ll find fine, old and quaint buildings, including almshouses, Grove House, the Old Rectory, and a circular dovecote, the records for which date back to 1290. A former farmhouse, Burnt Oak, was reputedly used to imprison French captives in the Napoleonic Wars. Most of the village now lies south west of its origins, since as Oxford grew, Kidlington spread too. It’s now one of England’s largest villages, close to Oxford airport and the newly opened Oxford Parkway railway station and an easy commute to and from London, Bicester or Banbury. That said, Kidlington is a lively village in its own right, with plenty of services and amenities, including a sports centre, independent shops, larger supermarkets and a small market held on the High Street on Fridays and Saturdays.

Most noted for… our lady’s needle, the slender spire on the church of St Mary the Virgin, which can be seen for miles around.

While you’re here… seek out the old moat. Its remains can be found behind the parish church along with a causeway dating back to Roman times.

But try not to… confuse Kidlington with nearby Kirtlington or Cassington!

Who’s who

The man charged with designing nearby Blenheim Palace, Sir John Vanbrugh, stayed at Hampden Manor in Mill Street as building work progressed. Thomas Beecham, of ‘flu powders and pills fame, lived in a cottage close to Kidlington. Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire behind the Virgin empire, and Emma-Jane Woodhams, of tv programme Love Island, also have Kidlington connections.

St Mary the Virgin church

There’s been a church on this site for 900 years but the original structure was rebuilt, and centuries of expansion, extension and improvement followed. The church is topped by a distinctive slender spire and has peal of eight bells, so you’d be forgiven for thinking the best of it can be seen and heard from outside. Step inside and you’ll find the remains of 15th century wall paintings, and both Victorian and medieval stained glass windows. The east window was skilfully redone in the 1950s, excising Victorian additions and preserving the fine original medieval glass seen today. A play on Kidlington’s name is carved on rebuses in the church. Spot the kid (a young goat), a ling (fish), and a ton of wool on one, and a kid (a basket of wool), ling (another name for heather) and a tun (a beer measure) on another. The parish crest has a similar theme.

Watery walking

Bring your wellies and get walking across the picturesque floodplains at the rear of St Mary’s church. The River Cherwell and water meadows are a stone’s throw away, past the woodland nature reserve and over a footbridge.

Creepy, crawly and curious

If you’re curious about the case of a frog in the night-time, step into Evolution Reptiles and the staff can tell you how to care for, feed and house all manner of lizards, snakes, amphibians and spiders. They sell creepy crawlies too! (evolutionreptiles.co.uk)

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