Banbury is a growing market town and civil parish, which is a fascinating mixture of old and new. Located on banks of the River Cherwell, Banbury is in the very north of Oxfordshire and on the edge of the Cotswold’s. Banbury is at the centre of Banburyshire, the network of local village communities. Based on the 2011 census the population of Banbury is 46,853.
In Banbury town itself, is the famous Banbury Cross of the nursery rhyme and St Mary’s Church which is the fine Georgian church and churchyard that inspired the novel Gulliver’s Travels. Tooley’s Boatyard, situated in the heart of Banbury on the South Oxford Canal, is the oldest working dry dock on the Inland Waterways, having been in continuous use since 1790. Or you could go for a pint in The Old Reindeer in the magnificently panelled Globe Room which was used by Oliver Cromwell while laying siege to the now destroyed Banbury Castle and as a courtroom to try many Royalists during the civil war.
Banbury is well placed for travelling to many destinations given that the M40 was built by 1991 with a junction close to the town. It is 64 miles (103 km) northwest of London, 38 miles (61 km) southeast of Birmingham, 27 miles (43 km) south of Coventry and 21 miles (34 km) north northwest of the City of Oxford. The town of Banbury sits on the edge of the Cotswolds. Oxford, Stratford, Leamington Spa, Chipping Norton, Silverstone and Milton Keynes are all easily reached by a short car journey.
Markets and Shopping
Banbury has regular markets twice a week on a Thursday and Saturday and is home to the Castle Quay Shopping Centre (www.castlequay.co.uk) as well as the Old Town streets. Banbury Cross Retail Park just outside the town centre is next to a supermarket superstore. Banbury Gateway Shopping Park (just off the M40) is due to open soon and is currently being built. See our shopping page for a comprehensive list of shops.
Although in a predominantly rural area, Banbury is a significant commercial and retail centre for the surrounding area. Well known businesses include Prodrive Motorsport, Jacobs Douwe Egberts (Kenco Coffee, formerly General Foods, Craft and Mondelez, Kärcher and the Haas F1 Team.
Culture, Education & Arts
For culture lovers the Mill Arts Centre, is a delightful family-friendly, canal-side venue based in a converted heritage water mill. The Mill hosts a jam-packed programme of live performances such as theatre, comedy, music and art in its 200 seat theatre, plus a varied workshop programme of arts, crafts, dance and music. Also on the canal-side is the iconic modern building of Banbury Museum which displays local history collections and host every changing touring exhibitions.Admission is free of charge. Stories related to Banbury are illustrated and exhibits vary. It also serves the town’s children by hosting interactive workshops during the holidays. The museum has a café, shop and has tourist information available.
The Oxford Canal is a 78 mile stretch of water that connects Oxford to Coventry running through Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire and through the heart of Banbury. Each year Banbury celebrates Canal Day with an event hosted by Banbury Town Council Events. See our events page for upcoming events in the area.
Banbury can also boast to having the oldest working dry dock in Britain in Tooley’s Boatyard which has been working on narrowboats since 1790. There is a lovely 4 mile walk from the canal in the centre of Banbury to the delightful village of Cropredy which is north of the town.
Other transport links include by road travelling on the M40, accessing at Junction 11. It leads north to Gayden, Warwick and Birmingham and south to Oxford and London.
Banbury train station is managed by Chiltern Railways and is on the line from London Marylebone to Birmingham and Statford-upon-Avon to Kidderminster as well as having a local service to Oxford. Trains operated by National Rail and Chiltern Railway.
The town is served by a local bus network and services to other towns including Oxford. Banbury bus station is located on Bridge Street next to the Castle Quay Centre (just outside Debenhams).
The People’s Park lies next to the town centre and can be accessed from several points including Horsefair and the Warwick Road. It was given to the people of Banbury by George Frederick Ball (who owned it) as part of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in 1897 and opened in 1910. It boasts open space, a play area, tennis courts, bowling green, aviary, community garden and rose garden. The Town Mayor’s Sunday (incorporating the Hobby Horse festival) takes place every year in the People’s Park and can be enjoyed by the entire community.
Over the bridge from the Castle Quay Centre is also Banbury’s Spiceball Park which is the largest is the town. It comprises large fields (popular with dog walkers and runners), a children’s area and a skateboard park. Adjacent to it is the newly developed Spiceball Leisure Centre which opened in 2010 and houses a swimming pool, courts (used by many groups), a gym and a café (www.leisurecentre.com/spiceball-leisure-centre).
Banbury is well served by many other local parks as well as play areas in surrounding villages.
The town football team is Banbury United who are know as the Puritans (due to the towns link with Oliver Cromwell) and they play at the Spencer Stadium.
- The local league 2 football team is Oxford United.
- The local rugby club is Banbury RUFC who are based at Bodicote Park.
Banbury also boasts many other sporting clubs including:
- Banbury Cricket Club
- Banbury Cross Sailing Club
- Banbury Tennis Club
- Banbury Harriers Athletics Club
- Banbury Cross Archers