Banbury

What to do in Banbury

Banbury is a market town on the River Cherwell in northern Oxfordshire. The town is a bustling commercial and retail centre at the edge of the Cotswolds, with a primarily rural surrounding.

Banbury is set amidst the gentle rolling hills in the north of the district.  An impressive bronze statue of the “Fine Lady” from the famous “Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross” rhyme is set close to the Banbury Cross at the meeting point of the roads from Oxford, Warwick and Shipston-on-Stour.  Other points of interest include the Market Place, the St Mary’s parish church, the atmospheric lanes and streets of the Old Town and the Castle Quay shopping mall with the town’s Museum set directly beside the Oxford Canal.  The Museum connects to the 18th century Tooley’s Boatyard, where you can take a guided tour of the narrow boat workshop and dry-dock.

Things to do in Banbury

A visit to Banbury should also include a visit to the Reindeer Inn on Parson Street, which played an important role in the English Civil War. In the Globe Room, situated in the Reindeer Inn, Oliver Cromwell has supposedly planned the Battle of Edge Hill. Foodies should also try a piece of the delicious ‘Banbury Cake’, a special fruit and pastry cake.

In the surrounding area, if you want more than just things to do in Banbury, you will also find the moated manor house of Broughton Castle, built of Hornton stone in the 14th century, and used as a film set for both “Shakespeare in Love” and “The Madness of King George”.  There is more history to discover at nearby Edgehill, the scene of the first Civil War battle of 1642, and at the 17th century Upton House, a National Trust property famous for its art collection and 1930s style gardens.

Looking to venture out and experience some of the walking routes in this area? Here are 10 great walks in and around Banbury.

Places to visit in Banbury

Whether you’re visiting Banbury for a day or more, there are many interesting places to visit to immerse yourself in the history and heritage of the town.

Located 3 miles southwest of Banbury, Broughton Castle is definitely a must-see. This historic ironstone manor house is a family home lived in by the 21st Lord and Lady Saye and Sele and their family, a beautiful place to visit anytime of the year.

Another great place to discover is Upton House, situated 7 miles northwest of Banbury and home to one of the National Trust’s most important art collections. You can enjoy their beautiful gardens and take a relaxing walk around the lawns, terraces, orchard, and herbaceous borders, and discover the ornamental pools and National Collection of Asters.

Open from April to September, Sulgrave Manor was built by the ancestors of George Washington and is a delightful place to visit. You can either choose to discover the unique history of the place or you can simply relax in the garden with friends and family – or both!

If you’re interested in learning about the history of Banbury, visit Banbury Museum for free and enjoy exhibitions of work by local artists. The museum is located in the town centre, next to the idyllic canal side and is open every day.

Things to do in Banbury with kids

Banbury and its surrounding area have many fun activities and places to see for all the family.

Broughton Castle, as well as Upton House & Gardens, are a great way to spend a fun afternoon – their gardens are the perfect places to spend time together outdoors and create memories while discovering all the different species of plants.

For a fun and memorable experience, visit Fir Tree Falconry and discover their impressive collection of birds of prey which will captivate adults and children. They offer a great variety of experience days for everyone – from mystical owl evenings to a 1-hour bird of prey experience – and it is also possible to book educational visits, falconry talks and much more.

Who said children didn’t like going to the museum? Banbury Museum is a family-friendly museum, with an exciting all-year programme of events and exhibitions for everyone.

Another great thing to do near Banbury with kids is to visit Waterflow Sanctuary and Children’s Farm. From rabbits and gerbils to emus and goats, you can meet all their amazing animals, feed them, and even handle and cuddle animal babies in the ‘Cuddle Corner’. They also have a large playground with a tractor, swings, Wendy house and lots of other things!

Where is Banbury?

Banbury is a historic market town located in the Cherwell valley in Northern Oxfordshire in England. Banbury is situated 64 miles northwest of London, 37 miles southeast of Birmingham, 27 miles southeast of Coventry and 22 miles northwest of Oxford. The postcode area is OX16. It is surrounded by other towns such as Drayton, Chacombe, Bloxham and Adderbury. The town is also on the edge of the famous Oxfordshire Cotswolds.

Where is Banbury?

How to get to Banbury

  • S4: Oxford to Banbury

    The S4 service connects Oxford and Banbury via Summertown, Kidlington, Shipton- on-Cherwell, Tackley, Steeple Aston, Deddington, West Adderbury, Twyford, Calthorpe and Banbury. Buses depart every 30 minutes.

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Things to do in Banbury

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December 2021

December 1, 2021 - July 4, 2022

Gruffalo Spotters trail at Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8QS
Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8QS United Kingdom

Taking family forest walks to new heights, The Gruffalo is returning Westonbirt, the National Arboretum on Friday 30 April in the latest exciting partnership between Forestry England and Magic Light…

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December 1, 2021 - November 1, 2022

The Stables Exhibition

Blenheim Palace, Blenheim Palace
Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1UL United Kingdom

We have created an immersive and interactive experience in the Palace’s historic stable block showcasing the importance of horses at Blenheim through the centuries. We have restored the original tack…

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December 1, 2021 @ 8:00 am - March 15, 2022 @ 5:00 pm

Anish Kapoor: Painting

Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke Street
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 1BP United Kingdom

A unique exhibition of paintings by Anish Kapoor (b. 1954, Mumbai, India – lives and works in London, UK). Curated with the internationally celebrated artist, this show explores the paintings…

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