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Oxfordshire conjures up images of ethereal "dreaming spires", scholarly pursuits and thatched roofs, but there is much more to the county than one of the world's oldest and most famous universities. The landscape is varied, with the charming villages of the Cotswolds to the north and the rolling vistas of the Chilterns to the south. So plenty of the best places to stay in Oxfordshire aren't in fact near the famous county town at all.
Oxfordshire's scenery is well seen on foot or two wheels - if you're up for a more active Oxfordshire odyssey try the Green Belt Way, a fifty mile circular path around the city of Oxford itself, or the Oxfordshire Way, which stretches from Henley to Bourton on the Water. Even Oxford itself is very cyclist friendly - think of all those cyclists in gowns you see on "Inspector Morse".
If you're here to lap up the history and culture, you'll of course find plenty of that in Oxford, with its graceful architecture. Well-heeled Henley is also worth a look, an elegant, riverside town known for its regatta.
What Not To Miss
- A trip to Oxford wouldn't be complete without visiting the Bodleian Library, Oxford University's main library. Established in 1602 and home to over 12 million items, this is Britain's second-largest library and definitely one of the most beautiful. With stunning interiors and breathtaking architecture, this is a tremendously atmospheric spot.
- Take the whole family on a day out to the Cotswold Wildlife Park, a 160-acre area of parkland boasting more than 260 animal species. Filled with giraffes, zebras, lemurs, lions and more, you can watch the penguins being fed and pet the goats in the farmyard. What's more, there's an adventure playground to help the kids let off some steam.
- Be sure to visit Broughton Castle and enjoy a picnic afterwards in the lovely gardens. This moated and fortified manor house, whose core was built as early as 1306, boasts wonderfully historic interiors as well as a tearoom in which to relax after a tour.
- Wander around Oxford's Covered Market, an indoor bazaar dating back to the 1770's and home to a number of artisan grocers, boutique shops and bustling cafés.
The best places to stay in Oxfordshire provide a good base from which to explore, and don't forget to make sure that Blenheim Palace in Woodstock is on your radar with its beautiful gardens by Capability Brown or Wallingford Castle dating back to the medieval period.
The Best Places to Stay in Oxfordshire
- The Randolph is an Oxford institution. The building, in the centre of town, is Gothic revival, but with a fashionable vibe, and the baronial restaurant is a 'place to go' for locals as well as visitors. It has a spa, antiques, family suites, free wifi and a great wine list. Plus, it's the best (and only) place to stay in Oxford if you're looking for five stars.
- Clad gracefully in wisteria, The Old Parsonage looks like a country house that has been deposited bang in the centre of Oxford. It offers elegant rooms and great food.
- Malmaison Oxford has become well-known for the previous inhabitants of the building - prisoners. Yes, this now quirky and contemporary hotel was once a castle and a prison; it still has the heavy doors, with their telltale dents, and barred windows to prove it.
- If you're happy with spires and traditional sandstone outside contasting with something a bit more contemporary inside, book a room at the Old Bank Hotel.
In The Cotswolds
Oxfordshire is a great base for exploring the Cotswolds - here's our pick of the best spots:
- Located in the picturesque Burford, The Lamb Inn is a charming 14th century inn with a 2 AA Rosette restaurant and Michelin recommended bar. The seventeen rooms are all individually decorated with traditional colours, often complemented by antique furniture.
- Burford House occupies a 17th century building in the heart of Burford with comfortable, elegant interiors and a good restaurant specialising in locally sourced produce.
- Or you could check out the Old Swan and Minster Mill, an excellent gastropub with simple but luxurious accommodation.
- Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons is Raymond Blanc's famous and fabulous establishment where the rooms are as elegant and pleasing as the two Michelin-starred food. Give yourself the ultimate treat and book a cookery course on site.
- The Feathers is within spitting distance of Blenheim Palace. Come here for the delicious award-winning food served in the restaurant where the emphasis is on modern English cuisine from locally sourced produce.
For a Country Escape
- The Bell is an intimate 9 room property in the village of Hampton Poyle. Offering tasteful accommodation with plenty of egyptian cotton and monsoon showers, it's also wonderfully located to enjoy some of the best walks and bike rides in the region.
- The Trout At Tadpole Bridge boasts an intimate atmosphere in a secluded setting, backing onto the River Thames. This classic country inn features 6 smartly decorated rooms and an AA rosette winning restaurant - what more could you ask for?
- Set in an historic country house with an ivy-clad exterior façade, The Manor, Oxfordshire is a dreamy spot. Come here for elegant rooms with traditional interiors and roaring log fires in common areas. With lovely gardens and a fine dining restaurant, it's the ideal country retreat.
The Best Value Places to Stay in Oxfordshire
- Miller of Mansfield in Goring on Thames is a traditional, ivy-covered inn in a charming village setting. The restaurant and bar have won awards, the 15 rooms and suites suites have been individually designed and it overlooks the river. What's more, rooms start from just £80 per night.
For something else!
- The Crazy Bear Hotel is a total one-off. Eclectic and eccentric, this converted coaching inn just outside Oxford is ideal for a surprise weekend away.
Prefer An Apartment Or Cottage?
- If you think a self-catering option would best suit your needs then check out the wide variety available online with our partner, booking.com.
- With a temperate maritime climate year round, there's never exactly a bad time to visit Oxfordshire. The weather's at its nicest however during the summer, with the average temperature reaching 16°C in July and August.
- That said, this is peak season and so expect Oxford itself to be mobbed with tourists and prices to be higher. So, it may be a good option to visit later on in the Autumn; when the surrounding countryside turns a series of beautiful colours and there's a quieter atmosphere.
- International visitors should either fly into London Heathrow or Birmingham Airport. From Heathrow you can take the train, which serves a number of destinations in Oxfordshire, whilst Birmingham Airport also has its own train station.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
Still not sure which to book?
- Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Oxfordshire.
- Expand your search to look through the best places to stay in neighbouring Gloucestershire or Wiltshire.
- Or, contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Oxfordshire
Artist Residence Oxfordshire 5 rooms from £140South Leigh, Oxfordshire
The newest offering from the quirky and chic Artist Residence brand offers more of its trademark interiors. Five lovely rooms tucked in the eaves & the outside Barn Suite, this Inn with rooms is the perfect romantic or weekend bolthole. Just 15 mins from Oxford and easy access to the Cotswolds.Local exploring - You're ideally located both for Oxford and the The Cotswolds.Sights nearby - Oxford is just a 15 minute drive awayGreat walks - Good for walkers.Full of character
Eynsham Hall 99 rooms from £45Oxfordshire
An impressive Grade II-listed Country House set in beautifully manicured gardens. Traditionally dressed rooms vary in size but all are light and characterful. The Brasserie restaurant offers contemporary British fare. Well located for access to the Cotswolds and Oxford.Country Escape - A grand house set in beautiful grounds with easy access to the Cotswolds.Great walks - Explore 2,000 acres of "Capability" Brown landscaped park at Blenheim Palace.Sights nearby - Take a tour of the fascinating Oxford Castle.Swimming Pool - Indoor pool
The Lion at Wendlebury 13 rooms from £68Oxfordshire
A charming 18th-century inn set in an Oxfordshire village. Expect traditional rustic style with exposed beams, tilting ceilings and open fires combined. Stylish rooms have elegantly designed fabrics, cosy bed-throws and sink-into beds. Serving very good classic pub fare. Countryside perfection.Country Escape - Lovely traditional village inn, ideal for those seeking cosy weekends away and long countryside walksSights nearby - Head to the quaint Iffley Village for a pleasant day out, or nearby Oxford for its many colleges and cultural attractionsSecluded setting - For escaping.Romantic - Good for couples.
The Swan Inn 8 rooms from £89Oxfordshire, Shipton under Wychwood, Oxfordshire
An elegant country inn offering unique designer rooms in the heart of the Cotswolds. A former 17th century coaching inn; ideal for enjoying long country walks on the Oxfordshire Way. Featuring a restaurant, a courtyard garden and a family-sized cottage for up to six people.Sights nearby - Spend a day at majestic Blenheim Palace.Great walks - The Oxfordshire Way passes nearby.Views - Great views from hotelRemote - Off the beaten track.
Holmby House 9 rooms from £90Banbury, Oxfordshire
Set in the gorgeous Oxfordshire countryside with towns and villages within easy reach, this recently restored Victorian house offers pretty, spacious bedrooms with fantastic views. The garden has a tennis court, heated pool and croquet lawn for active guests. A perfectly located country escape.Country Escape - Situated in a pretty village in the heart of beautiful Oxfordshire.VillageSights nearby - Located near the village of Sibford and within easy reach of Oxford, Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon.Great walks - There are many walking routes straight from the village.
Miller of Mansfield 15 rooms from £90Goring on Thames, Oxfordshire
Traditional ivy-covered inn in village setting. Acclaimed restaurant, bar, individually designed suites, Overlooking the river.Romantic - Good for couples.TraditionalGreat walks - Good for walkers.Recommended by - I Escape, Sawdays
The Greyhound Inn 8 rooms from £90Wantage, Oxfordshire
A perfect example of a village pub offering exemplary cooking, a warm welcome and fabulous selection of ales. The rooms do not disappoint either with walls painted soft grey, beamed ceilings and pops of colour coming from the soft furnishings. There's plenty to explore in the region too.Country Escape - Set in an area of beautiful walking country and offering exemplary food and a cosy stay.Sights nearby - Visit The Ridgeway, Britain's oldest road or the National Trust’s White Horse Hill, a bronze age hill figure on the chalk downs.Great walks - Discover picturesque walking trails running through the surrounding countryside and on the Thames PathRomantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - Sawdays
The Star Inn 8 rooms from £95Wantage, Oxfordshire
A charming Inn set on the outskirts of the historic town of Wantage overlooking picturesque countryside. Light and airy rooms are cosy and traditional with white-washed walls, exposed beams and sink-into beds. Superlative pub fare is served in the restaurant using the best local produce.Local exploring - Ideally located to explore the historic market town of Wantage and surrounding countryside.Great walks - Embark on long walks through the picturesque countryside surrounding the town.Local markets - Sample local produce at the Wantage market - Wednesday and Saturday.Full of character
The Shaven Crown 7 rooms from £95Oxfordshire
An impressive medieval property beautifully renovated into a luxurious hotel. Original features throughout (think beamed ceilings, flagstone floors, exposed stone) give a sense of real old-world charm. Set in stunning Cotswold countryside, this is a hard one to beat.Great walks - The picture perfect Cotswolds make ideal walking country.Sights nearby - Spend a day exploring the impressive Blenheim Palace.Secluded setting - For escaping.Romantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - Sawdays
Home Farmhouse 3 rooms from £98Banbury, Oxfordshire
This 500 year old antique-filled farmhouse, with traditional fireplaces, beams, winding staircases and three en suite bedrooms, is the perfect country escape. Enjoy a classic homemade English breakfast, relax in the drawing room, or on warmer days, stroll amid the picturesque walled gardens.Great walks - Guests may walk through numerous famous gardens nearby, including Hidcote Manor, Waterperry, and Kiftsgate CourtSights nearby - There are numerous historic sights nearby such as Blenheim Palace, Warwick Castle and Waddesdon ManorSecluded setting - For escaping.Remote - Off the beaten track.
The HIghway Inn 10 rooms from £105Burford
An atmospheric Inn set in a bustling and picturesque Cotswold village. Simply designed rooms feature beamed ceilings, crisp white linen and antique furniture. The restaurant offers modern hearty pub food alongside a choice selection of ales, ideal after spending a day exploring the region.Country Escape - A cosy pub located in an idyllic village within the Cotswold countryside.Great walks - Explore the picturesque villages and countryside of the Cotswold's on long rambles.Sights nearby - Visit the stately home Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.Traditional
The Bull Inn 4 rooms from £109Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire
A wonderfully chic pub within striking distance of London. Impeccably styled rooms feature contemporary artwork, bold patterned fabrics and the best has a clawfoot bathtub. An atmospheric restaurant and bar churns out good classically British fare. Ideal for a rural weekend away.Country Escape - A chic rural property with easy access to the charming Cotswold countryside.Great walks - Get out into the countryside and take long walks through the picture perfect landscape.Sights nearby - Take a tour of the stately home, Blenheim Palace.Romantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - Sawdays
Uplands House 3 rooms from £110Banbury, Oxfordshire
Tucked into the Cotswolds, Uplands House is a lovely B&B near Banbury exuding a homely, relaxed feel. Uplands features delightful rooms and an excellent dining option. A great launchpad for exploring the Cotswolds.Sights nearby - Take a day trip to Stratford Upon Avon and explore the home of Shakespeare.Great walks - The surrrounding area is full of beautiful walking trails.Full of characterRomantic - Good for couples.
The Killingworth Castle 10 rooms from £110Woodstock (Oxfordshire)
A fabulous country pub in the picturesque Cotswolds. Charming rooms are simply dressed and traditional in style. A buzzy restaurant and bar feels like a community spot with friendly staff, fantastic ales, homemade beer and hearty pub fare.Country Escape - Charming, cosy and offering fabulous food all set in the picturesque Cotswolds.Sights nearby - Visit Blenheim Palace the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and now a world class UNESCO World Heritage Site.Great walks - Take long rambles through the quintessentially British countryside of the Cotswolds.Cooking classes - Sign up for a cookery class at the fantastic Daylesford Cookery School.Recommended by - Sawdays
Sudbury House 57 rooms from £114Faringdon, Oxfordshire
A Country House comprising of an original Grade II listed building and a large contemporary new wing. Rooms uniformly are spacious, featuring large windows and soft hues. The ones in the new wing have a more modern flare. Boasting a fantastic fine-dining restaurant and a relaxed brasserie.Foodies - Housing Restaurant 56, widely regarded as Oxfordshire's best restaurant, serving British classics with a twist.Great walks - Head into the Cotswolds and take long walks through some of Britain's most picturesque countryside.Secluded setting - For escaping.Romantic - Good for couples.
The Tower House 8 rooms from £120Oxford
A charming boutique hotel and social enterprise in the heart of the historic city. Light and airy individually styled rooms feature reclaimed or antique furniture and a fresh palette. The best has a roll top bath. An indulgent breakfast is included in the cost in neighbouring Turl Street Kitchen.Local exploring - Perfectly located in the heart of the city.Sights nearby - Walking distance from the Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera.Great walks - Take a stroll through the pretty Christ Church Meadows.Full of character
Blue Boar 16 rooms from £120WITNEY, Oxfordshire
A charming spot with all the trappings of a typical British inn yet with a distinctly modern flavour. Rooms are individually styled with white-washed walls, exposed beams and contemporary furniture. Downstairs the restaurant offer superb Mediterranean fare alongside a choice selection of ales.Short fly break - A quintessentially British inn ideal for a weekend of hearty food, long walks and curling up with a good book.Great walks - Slowly ramble along the scenic Thames Path National Trail.Full of characterLively - Hip and happening.Recommended by - Sawdays
The Lamb Inn 17 rooms from £125Burford
This 18th century inn is more than just another Cotswolds B&B. Curl up with a book next to an open fire or explore the rose scented gardens. Rooms are spacious with antique oak furniture and colourful fabric. Bathrooms have original wood floors. An award winning restaurant serves seasonal cuisine.Great walks - Combine a walk through this typical Cotswolds town with a traditional cream tea.Sights nearby - The university town of Oxford is 20 miles away and well worth a visit.TraditionalFour poster beds - For romantics.Recommended by - Frommers, Good Hotel Guide
Crown and Thistle 18 rooms from £129Oxford (ABINGDON-ON-THAMES)
An historic and characterful pub in the heart of the ancient town of Abingdon and just a short distance from Oxford. Dark moody rooms are filled with heavy antiques, rich hues and boast indulgent bathrooms. A classic British pub takes care of a large appetite after a day spent exploring the region.Local exploring - A charming property set just 7 miles from Oxford.Sights nearby - Visit the Abingdon Abbey ruins and surrounding gardens.Romantic - Good for couples.Full of character
The Bell 9 rooms from £130Oxfordshire
Set in the pretty rural village of Hampton Poyle a boutique hotel, pub and restaurant. The nine rooms offer egyptian cotton bed linen, large beds, luxury toiletries and bathrooms with monsoon showers or roll-top baths. The restaurant specialises in pizza and fish. A great country escape.Great walks - Walking in the Cotswolds provides a wealth of choices with gentle strolls, hilly hikes and a variety of circular walksSights nearby - Visit the historic UNESCO world heritage Blenheim PalaceTraditionalFull of characterRecommended by - Good Hotel Guide
The Trout at Tadpole Bridge 6 rooms from £130Faringdon, Oxfordshire
The Trout at Tadpole Bridge is a welcoming Inn, backing on to a rural section of the Thames with its own private mooring. Six comfortable rooms, "classic country" in style, located around a pretty courtyard away from the bustle. The AA rosette restaurant steals the show. A wonderful country treat.Great walks - For an afternoon stroll there is Buscot Park and Gardens; for serious ramblers the Thames Path is on your doorstep.Sights nearby - The famous Blenheim Palace and William Morris' Kelmscott Manor are both nearby.Sailing - The hotel has its own river and private mooring for guests.Views - Some of the rooms have lovely river viewsRecommended by - Sawdays, Good Hotel Guide
The Crown Inn 5 rooms from £150Woodstock
Located in Woodstock, The Crown Inn is set in an historic 18th century property. The rooms are gorgeously decorated - featuring boutique furnishings and en-suites. Tuck into lovely meals at the downstairs restaurant. A terrific retreat which is ideal for couples.Local exploring - Spend your days exploring the quaint town of WoodstockSights nearby - Blenheim Palace, Churchill's family home, is an absolute must-visit!Great walks - Wander around Oxford taking in all the magnificent architectureRomantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - I Escape
Old Swan and Minster Mill 16 rooms from £155Witney, The Cotswolds
Renovated old mill in 60 acres of woodland and orchards. Traditional charm, period features. Antiques and modern comfort. Dining room with gastro pub. Riverside gardens fishing.Traditional5* Luxury - Very high service standards.SpaGreat walks - Good for walkers.Recommended by - Sawdays, Michelin Travel
The Manor, Oxfordshire 25 rooms from £165Bicester, Oxfordshire
Elegant and historic country house hotel just a stone's throw from Bicester Village. Twenty five well appointed and elegant rooms feature stylish, traditional furnishings. Dinner is served in the stunning wood panelled Baron's Hall and the gardens are beautiful. Perfect for a romantic break.Sights nearby - Within easy reach of Oxford, Blenheim Palace and the Cotwolds villages.Swimming Pool - Outdoor heated pool, open during summer months.Traditional
Bay Tree Hotel 21 rooms from £165Burford
Winding your way along the Burford lanes, stumble across this 'chocolate box' property. Dating back to the 16th century it has traditional flagstone flooring, open fires and cosy rooms. The award winning restaurant serves lunch and dinner. A popular wedding venue and base to explore the Cotswolds.Sights nearby - Blenheim Palace, home to the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and birthplace of Winston Churchill is a must visitGreat walks - Walk the 'Cotswolds Way'Full of characterFour poster beds - For romantics.
The Glove House 3 rooms from £170Woodstock
A pretty Georgian townhouse, a former glove workshop, in the heart of the picturesque town of Woodstock. Housing just three spacious and immaculately designed rooms. The best has a free standing copper bath. Indulgent breakfasts are served and there's a beautiful wood panelled lounge to unwind in.Local exploring - Perfectly located with easy access to Oxford and the Cotswolds.Restrictions on children - Children can be accommodated if both rooms are booked together.Great walks - Take long walks through the pristine Cotswolds countryside.Sights nearby - Stroll down to the World Heritage Site of Blenheim Palace.Recommended by - Sawdays
Malmaison Oxford 95 rooms from £179Oxford (3 New Road)
Fantastically modern interiors and stunning atrium in this atmospheric castle and former prison. Sleep in converted cells with original fittings and Gothic colours. New, airier rooms are also available in the additional buildings. Good brasserie food and a smart neon-lit cocktail bar.City Style - Modern hotel in the heart of historic OxfordLocal markets - Oxford Covered MarketSights nearby - Bridge of SighsGreat walks - Good for walkers.Recommended by - Frommers, Good Hotel Guide, Kiwi Collection
The Porterhouse 7 rooms from £180Oxford
Just a short walk from Oxford city centre, The Porterhouse is a superb restaurant with excellent rooms. The seven stylishly decorated rooms are pretty, comfortable and spacious. A superb quality grill restaurant is a haven for meat lovers. Perfect for a weekend among the spires.Foodies - If you are a meat lover, this could be the perfect place to stay.Local exploring - A great base from which to explore Oxford.Sights nearby - With around forty colleges to choose from, it would be hard to come to Oxford without visiting at least one or two.Restrictions on children - Adult only.
Old Parsonage Hotel 35 rooms from £195Oxford
A luxury boutique hotel in a wonderfully old building. The rooms have simple contemporary design. Bathrooms are pleasingly indulgent. A small but well stocked library is awaiting academics. The restaurant is excellent. Highly recommended.Writing a novel - This recently refurbished masterpiece was once home to Oscar Wilde, sit in the luxurious library and draw inspiration.Great walks - Book a guided walking tours of the city and University Colleges.Sights nearby - Visit any one of the 38 University Colleges.Full of characterRecommended by - Tablet, Frommers, Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
Old Bank Hotel 42 rooms from £195Oxford
Sophisticated hotel with buzzing restaurant and bar. Tudor interiors updated with chic styling and large beds. Discreet and laid back luxury and perfectly positioned for sights. Contemporary art on the walls. An ideal city stay.Local exploring - Neighbouring some of the oldest Oxford colleges and within walking distance of shops, theatre and the city’s Botanical Gardens.City Style - Georgian alcoves, wood-paneled walls and large sash windows meet bold modern art and understated elegant interiors.Sights nearby - Plenty of sights to see nearby, the hotel is opposite St Mary’s Church, and neighbouring University and Merton.Great walks - Riverside and meadow walks from the hotel or walking tours with a guide.Recommended by - Tablet, Frommers, Good Hotel Guide
Crazy Bear Hotel 16 rooms from £199Stadhampton, Oxfordshire
Eclectic, eccentric – a one off converted coaching inn. Think padded leather walls, silver beds, copper free standing baths. A London red bus sits decoratively in the garden. The two restaurants serve traditional British or Thai food. Best for wacky weekends away.Romantic Break - In room freestanding baths and intimate dining areas make for a romatic weekend away.Fishing - Fly fishing is organised by the hotel both for events or just a day out.Great walks - Explore the 80 acres of parklands with rare bread farm and woods.Full of character
Vanbrugh House Hotel 22 rooms from £199Oxford
A chic boutique property in the heart of the city. Beautifully styled rooms perfectly merge the old and the new with bold printed fabrics standing out against white washed walls and ornate fireplaces contrasting with simple contemporary furniture. Comfortable and convenient, ideal for city breaks.City Style - A chic boutique property in the heart of the city.Sailing - Hire a punt and float down the river in true Oxbridge style.Romantic - Good for couples.TraditionalRecommended by - Good Hotel Guide
The Randolph 151 rooms from £206Oxford
Robustly elegant, quintessentially English and extremely comfortable, The Macdonald Randolph Hotel is perfectly situated on the corner of Beaumont Street and St Giles, within easy walking distance of enough historic sites to satiate the appetite of the most culturally hungry traveller.Great walks - Oxford's size makes it a wonderful city to explore on foot, wander the streets and soak up the history.SpaFour poster beds - For romantics.TraditionalRecommended by - Frommers, Good Hotel Guide
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons 32 rooms from £665Great Milton, Oxfordshire
World-class indulgence in the Oxfordshire countryside. Raymond Blanc's delightful fusion of hotel, acclaimed restaurant and gardens is luxurious, yet warm and charming. Thirty two rooms and suites are individually designed, the gardens are divine, and the food breathtaking! Simply stunning.Foodies - The hotel has retained its Michelin stars for the 35th year running. Dining here is unmissable!Garden - Le Manoir's stunning gardens provide most of the ingredients for Raymond Blanc's epic food.Cooking classes - Raymond Blanc's cookery schoolGourmetRecommended by - Tablet, Good Hotel Guide, Kiwi Collection, Relais & Chateaux, Michelin Travel