Last month, I got a TwoTogether Railcard with my husband so we could make daytrips by train and get 30% off the train ticket price. Tyler still goes free as he is under 5. The first place we visited with our new railcard was Oxford. It’s 40 minutes on the fast train from Slough and cost us £10 each for a return ticket.
Now I had been last year, just me and Tyler. It was quite busy and touristy. So this time as a family, I knew where to go. These are my top tips for a daytrip to Oxford avoiding the crowds.
1) When you come out of Oxford train station, turn right and walk down Botley Rd/Park End St. This is the less busy route towards the town centre. We stopped for a waterside tapas lunch at Las Iguanas, by Castle Mill Stream. They have outdoor seating by the stream and as you’re not quite in the centre of town, it’s not so packed. We had the outdoors all to ourselves which was lovely, especially with the sun shining. Tyler was taking a nap so it was like my husband and I were on a date 🙂
2) Walk down Lower Fisher Row (basically the road behind Las Iguanas), and you’ll find lots of character houses and a view of Oxford Castle. There an interesting history to this area, detailed on a signpost, including a mill that existed here in the olden days.
3) Walk to the left, down St Thomas St, and you’ll end up at the Oxford Castle Quarter. It’s a new and modern area, with loads of bars and restaurants, but the main bit is the Oxford Castle Unlocked which is a spooky visitor attraction. We didn’t go in, but just looking at it from the outside sent shivers down my spine!
4) Walk down Castle St and you’ll end up at the Westgate Shopping Centre. It’s very retro with it’s gold light fittings, but it’s having a major refurb, with work already started. For now, they have a huge Primark inside – yes a Primark in Oxford! I had to have a little browse 😉
5) When you come out of Westgate, you’ll end up on Queen St which leads to the centre of town and the university and museums. It is very crowded and touristy! You just have to be patient and walk very slowly! We had a wander through the ‘Covered Market’ and then walked slowly down the High Street. Here is a very old fashioned post box we saw!
And the High Street is full of beautiful, colourful buildings!
6) About a 10/15 minute walk down the High St, you’ll end up at the River Cherwell, where you can go punting. Tyler really enjoyed watching the boats. There is nowhere to sit here though, so we went inside the neighbouring Botanic Gardens. It’s £5 per adult to get in, which we thought was a bit much. But it was so worth it! Once inside, you are away from the crowds and it’s so peaceful! You can walk along the river and walk into the gardens which are landscaped beautifully. I really recommend a visit.
There is a little water fountain in the centre, where Tyler spent ages running round it and chatting to the resident duck. I didn’t mind, we got to have a sit down on the bench.
They have a glasshouse where fruit trees grow, it really is lovely inside.
They even grow grapefruit!
7) Walk back up the High St and turn right down Castle St. This takes you through the famous university buildings, such as Radciffe Camera, the Bodleian Library and the Bridge of Sighs. You can feel the history of the area, walking through here.
8) Walk down Broad St and then George St and this brings you back to Oxford Station.
And that concludes my tips on where to go on a daytrip in Oxford.
Next week is my final post of the Toddler Trips series – 12 weeks really has gone quickly! I hope you have enjoyed the series. The last post will be about a daytrip to Newbury. Until then, have a great week!