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Holidays in Banbury

Historic Oxfordshire market town made famous by an old nursery rhyme

UK | South West | Cotswolds | Banbury
Beautiful Banbury wisteria

Banbury is North Oxfordshire’s largest town and boasts a good selection of independent and chain shops. It is perhaps best known for nursery rhyme, ‘Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross’. It is located within good proximity of the national road network, so it is well connected by the M40 to Oxford, Birmingham and London.

At the centre of the town is Banbury Cross. Found at the centre of a small roundabout in Horsefair, the actual edifice is a mid-19th century replacement for the original, which was smashed by the Puritans sometime in the 1600s.

The town grew from a village due to its prosperity due from the wool trade. However, many of the towns buildings from earlier than 1630 no longer exist because of a fire that ravaged much of Banbury. The opening of the Oxford Canal in 1790 renewed the towns fortunes, bringing new industry, which continued apace throughout the arrival of steam trains.

Today, Banbury is still a business centre, but like in many towns, most of the pockets of industry are hidden on the fringes of the town. The centre is now full of brand leader shops and independents. There are several good eateries on hand whether you fancy traditional English fare, or something a bit more exotic there is no shortage of choice. Evening entertainment is easily covered by the number of pleasant pubs, a two-screen cinema, and a theatre/music venue, The Mill Arts Centre.

Banbury architecture

Coincide your visit with one of the longest running live music festivals in the UK, the very popular Fairport’s Cropredy Convention. If you like folk music, then this is the place to head to, it always manages to draw in some of the biggest names, whilst managing to secure the odd ‘wildcard’.

Cropredy is an otherwise sleepy village a few miles outside Banbury, for the rest of the year. The Oxford Canal bisects the village, so it provides a very pleasant waterside stroll.

"Banbury Cross in Horsefair at the centre of the town…"

In the wider area, day trips to Stratford-upon-Avon, Leamington Spa, and Oxford are all worth your while. For the ultimate shopping experience, Milton Keynes is within reasonable driving distance. Oxford is full of interesting museums like the Ashmolean, and Pitts River. With its heritage, meadow walks, waterside trails, architecture, culture, eateries and shops, you’ll hard pressed to find a better day out in the region.

Stratford-upon-Avon gives Oxford a run for its money, devoted to all things ‘Shakespearean’. The birthplace of the world’s most famous playwright William Shakespeare, he also lived here, and one of his former homes is a museum. The RSC is the best place to see one of his plays outside of London.

Banbury is also at the edge of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, an AONB characterised by beautiful rolling countryside and sandstone coloured villages.

We have some lovely cottages in and around Banbury. Why not take a look at our collection of holiday cottages to feel inspired?

While you’re there

Cropredy

Take a stroll along the Oxford Canal to get the most out of the local countryside.

The Mill Arts Centre

Plan ahead, and buy tickets for a live event at Banbury’s main performance venue.

Banbury Cross

Learn the history of Banbury’s most famous cross and lookout for a bakery selling Banbury Cakes.

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