Banbury – Centrally Located
Banbury is uniquely placed on the border of three counties – Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, and very near to Buckinghamshire. It is also conveniently located almost half way between between London and Birmingham. The town of Banbury itself sits on the edge of the Cotswolds. Oxford, Stratford, Leamington Spa, Chipping Norton, Silverstone and Milton Keynes are all easily reached by car and there are good train links– this area is referred to locally as Banburyshire, although no such place officially exists.
Banbury’s central location at J11 on the M40 makes getting further afield easy, but there is a lot closer to home as well; popular tourist attractions, places of interest, historical sites and beautiful countryside – we hope we give a visitors or people new to area a feel for what’s around below.
The Universities of Oxford.
Banbury, centrally located on the M40 almost halfway between London and Birmingham.
Cities, Towns and Villages
Inspiring cities, bustling towns and quaint, quiet villages surround Banbury; places steeped in history and tradition. Towns such as Leamington Spa, Warwick, Oxford and Milton Keynes are relatively quick to get to and have range of retail parks, boutique shopping restaurants, cinemas and other entertainment venues. Bicester is home to Bicester Village an extremely popular designer shopping outlet. The smaller villages have their own special charm, with fine ales and delicious, sometimes award-winning food being served at many of the local pubs. Hook Norton Brewery, in the village of Hook Norton, runs brewery tours and is worth a visit as is Hook Norton Pottery which has a small café and gift shop.
A short drive south from Banbury takes you to Woodstock and Blenheim Palace, home of the Duke of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Palace. Continuing on from there is Oxford, the city of the dreaming spires – a must see. Here you will find the colleges of Oxford University. You can also visit a range museums and collections including the the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Pitt Rivers Museum and the Ashmolean Museum, all with free entry. It is also home to the New Theatre Oxford and the Oxford Playhouse. The University parks are worth a stroll or you could hire a punt and glide along the River Cherwell.
West of Oxford lies Burford, one of the many beautiful and popular Cotswold villages, quintessentially English, with tea rooms and a unique shopping experience. Burford is Garden Centre is popular with locals and is also near to the Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens. Cheltenham has the Cotswold Farm Park. Other Cotswold must-sees are Cheltenham Spa, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Norton, the Slaughters with many attractions inbetween.
North of Banbury, into Warwickshire, you will find Warwick Castle – Britain’s oldest medieval castle – not far from here is Shakespeare’s Stratford, home to the Royal Shakespeare Company. Even if you don’t go to see a play this isa lovely place to visit and stroll along the river.
Hook Norton Brewery.
Burford Garden Centre.
Cotswold Wildlife Park.
The Spires of Oxford.
The Cotswolds to the east of Banbury welcome visitors from around the globe who come to soak up the natural surroundings and visit the towns. The landscape itself boasts rolling hills and grassland which harbour thatched medieval villages, churches and stately homes built of distinctive local yellow limestone. The 102-mile Cotswold Way walking trail follows the Cotswold Edge escarpment from Bath in the south to Chipping Campden in the north.
To the north of Banbury, just into Warwickshire is Burton Dassett Hills Country Park. A great place for families, sky watchers and just those who love the outdoors. Whether you are walking, flying a kite or just sitting in your car, the magnificent views from these hills are breathtaking. The 100 acres contain a wealth of historical interest such as the prominent beacon, quarry remains and the nearby 12th Century All Saints Church. Another generally peaceful place to visit and with pleasant countryside views is The National Herb Centre. It’s a good family attraction, walking trails, a gift shop and a dazzling array of growing herbs and other plants for sale. The bistro sells a range of homemade cakes, lunches and drinks. They also run several events throughout the year.
Burton Dasset Hill Country Park.
The National Herb Centre.
Speed and Racing
The small village of Silverstone to the East of Banbury is the world famous Silverstone Circuit – home of British Formula 1 racing – for now anyway. The circuit is great place for speed freaks and an amazing venue. Banbury is at the heart of motorsport valley (Mercedes, Lotus/Renault, Manor, Force India, and Haas F1 teams are all based in the local area). Prodrive, a world leading motorsport and technology business have just built their new headquarters at Banbury. The Aston Martin Racing team is run by Prodrive and since 2004 has been competing in international sportscar series including Le Mans.
If you are a vintage car enthusiast there is always the Heritage Motor Museum at Gaydon.
Blenheim Horse Trials.
Prodrive Aston Martin.
Historic and Heritage Properties
If you have a passion for visiting heritage properties there are several National Trust, English Heritage and HHA properties within easy reach. Many allow tours of their properties and host a variety of events and attractions throughout the year.
Probably the most notable historic property in the vicinity is Blenheim Palace at Woodstock, home of the Duke of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Palace. Other places of interest include Sulgrave Manor, home of George Washington’s English ancestors, Stowe House and Gardens – the home of Stowe School and beautiful Broughton Castle, a moated and fortified manor house that was besieged by royalists in the Civil War. Broughton Castle was one of many fabulous locations used for BBC2’s Wolf Hall series starring Damien Lewis, Mark Rylance and Claire Foy. Compton Verney, at Warwick, was once a derelict Georgian home and is now an award winning art gallery of international standing, highly recommended for art lovers.
The grounds of Wroxton College (Wroxton Abbey) are always worth a visit fifty-six acres of lawns, lakes and woodlands with a 17th century Jacobean mansion as a centrepiece, which visitors are free to walk around.
Aproximately 12 miles south west of Banbury are the the Rollright Stones – an ancient site with stones positioned in a various formations. The complex consists of three main elements, The Kings Men stone circle, the King Stone, and the Whispering Knights. They span nearly 2,000 years of Neolithic and Bronze Age development.
For those with an interest in England’s history, The Castle at Edge Hill, a pub with a tower dating back to 1742, is a good place to stay or grab some refreshments. The location is ideal for looking down on the open fields between the villages of Radway and Kineton where the battle of Edgehill took place on Sunday 23rd October 1642, there the army of the Earl of Essex, the parliamentarian Lord General, and the King’s army clashed in the first major action of the Civil War in England.