Experience Oxfordshire For Family Fun
With so much to explore, Oxfordshire is a great destination for a family visit. Home to excellent family-friendly attractions, exciting museums and acres of outdoor space, Oxfordshire has everything you need to ensure that the whole family has a great time. In this 3 day family itinerary, spend time exploring historic Oxford, before heading to some of the best family attractions in the UK.
Day 1 – Oxford
Start your day by exploring Oxford city centre. A city steeped in history, there is so much to explore in Oxford. Get your bearings by pre-booking an Oxford Official Walking Tour for a family-friendly guided walking tour around more of Oxford’s iconic sites and locations. Tours are led by accredited guides and usually include entry into one of the University of Oxford’s 39 colleges.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to walk, the City Sightseeing open top bus tour is a great way to see Oxford. Listen to your guide as you are driven around, with the option to hop-on and hop-off at 20 different stops across the city.
Once you’ve had a good look around Oxford, head to The Story Museum – a most unusual museum located in the heart of Oxford celebrating the power of stories to teach and delight. The family-friendly museum has lots of gallery and activity spaces designed to encourage visitors to lose themselves in their imagination. Highlights include the Whispering Wood – a mysterious forest echoing with audio stories – and the Enchanted Library – an immersive gallery that invites visitors to step inside scenes from eight selected children’s stories.
Treat the family to an Alice-in-Wonderland-themed afternoon tea at Café Loco after a trip to The Story Museum. Located opposite Christ Church College, Café Loco serves whimsical Alice-themed lunches, recreating the atmosphere of the tea party from Alice in Wonderland.
After lunch, take a family-friendly guided tour of Oxford Castle & Prison and discover the fascinating stories of the building’s 1,000-year history. Step back in time with their costumed guided tours and see fascinating stories come to life. Explore the Saxon St George’s Tower and descend deep underground to the 900-year-old crypt. After your guided tour, you can climb the mound, the remains of a motte and bailey castle. Explore the attraction at your own leisure and dress up like a prisoner in the Castle’s exhibition space. Sit down with a nice cup of coffee in their café, spread out your map and plan where to go next in Oxford.
Day 2 – South Oxfordshire
If you’ve had your fill of Oxford, head south from the city to Harcourt Arboretum. Explore 140 acres of tranquil British woodland, open wildflower meadows and trees from around the world. The giant redwoods are some of the oldest in the UK, having arrived from California in the late 1850s. Visitors can also meet their pigs, peacocks and sheep or catch a glimpse of deer, hare or red kites. A great opportunity for kids to stretch their legs and explore nature.
Travel back in time to the golden age of the Great Western Railway at Didcot Railway Centre. Savour the sights, sounds and smells of steam as you explore this 25-acre living museum with trains dating from Victorian times to the 1960s. Take unlimited rides on steaming days, explore the original 1932 engine shed and see magnificent preserved locomotives. Children can let off steam in the outdoor play area, make tracks to the indoor toy train sets or dress up as a Station Master. You can relax over lunch or enjoy a snack in the refreshment rooms and don’t forget to pick up a souvenir in the gift shop!
Day 3 – West Oxfordshire
If you head out to West Oxfordshire, gateway to the Cotswolds, a wealth of family-friendly countryside attractions await you. We have pulled together four must-visit attractions that the whole family will enjoy – choose one to visit on the third day of your itinerary, or mix and match all four if you plan to stay for longer!
Mixing classic fairy tales, animals, and adventure play, young children will love Fairytale Farm. With their exciting adventure playground, an enchanted walk with a surprise around every corner and a chance to meet their amazing animals, there is so much to see and do. Visit their Wilderness Walk area which includes a range of plants and wildlife habitats, including bird, bat and hedgehog boxes, log-piles, mini-beast hotel and worm-world, seed and nectar bar, bird feeding station and hibernation boxes.
Spend an afternoon in the beautiful Oxfordshire Cotswolds, visiting the historic grounds at Cogges Manor Farm. With over 1,000 years of history, Cogges is a 13th century manor house and farm with over 15 acres of grounds, walled garden, picnic orchard and moated islands. Children love to feed the farm animals, and there is also an adventure play island, sandpit and soft play area.
Enjoy a great day out at Crocodiles of the World – the UK’s only crocodile zoo – near Witney in West Oxfordshire with plenty of photo opportunities, feeding displays, crocodile talks and much more. Not to mention meeting all the amazing crocodiles, alligators, caimans, lizards, snakes, meerkats and even a Komodo Dragon! There are even underwater viewing enclosures for eye-to-eye encounters!
Stroll around Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens, enjoying uninterrupted views of the animals, so it feels as though you are in a wild setting. Watch Rhinos graze on the lawns in front of the Gothic Manor House. Walk up the Giraffe walkway and get eye-to-eye with these amazing creatures or explore the Old Walled Garden’s Tropical House with free-roaming sloths, birds and bats. Watch the Penguin’s being fed (daily at 11 am & 3 pm) and walk with Lemurs in their free-roaming Madagascar Exhibit. Take a ride on Bella the Train or explore the large adventure playground, with treehouses and slides.
Day 4 – Cotswolds
An optional bolt-on to your itinerary is to explore the family-friendly attractions in the Cotswolds. Continue your stay in West Oxfordshire, and drive west into the rolling hills of the Cotswolds to explore this area of stunning countryside.
Wander through 56 acres of wild gardens, paths and streams and marvel at stunning views across the Evenlode Valley and beyond at Batsford Arboretum. Enjoy colourful seasonal flowers, escape the heat under the tree canopy in summer, and browse the Garden Centre to pick up expert gardening tips. You’ll even find fabulous lunches, afternoon teas and cakes in the Garden Terrace Café.
Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park is the perfect place to discover countryside farming. Feed the farm animals, spot new-born piglets, donkeys, calves and goats in the Animal Barn, and discover wonderful wildlife on the Wildlife Walk. Say hello to smaller animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, chicks, ducklings, piglets, lambs and goat kids in the Discovery Barn! There’s also a variety of outdoor play equipment at the Park, including castles, tire swings and assault courses!