Oxfordshire isn’t just for university students! This ancient and rural county in the South-East of England offers a rich culture and heritage, and sees many families with young children returning time and time again for fun-filled days out. So whether you live in Oxfordshire, a neighbouring country/town, or are traveling from a little further afield, keep reading to see some great activities for all the family that are a little off the beaten track…
The rolling countryside of Oxfordshire is full of ‘Pick-Your-Own’ style farms. They provide a great opportunity to teach children about how fruit is grown and harvested while having fun and stuffing your faces with tasty treats.
Rectory Farm offers great value for money and a wide range of crops to choose from. There’s also a free bouncy castle, sandpit and other activities for when the little ones want a change of scene.
Millets Farm Centre offers a great breadth of activities for the children to get stuck into, including a farm shop with yummy locally produced food and a craft centre to get those creative juices flowing.
Peachcroft Farm in Abingdon is a little quieter if you’re looking for somewhere more remote. This option is also great if you’re coming at a specifically seasonal time of year, e.g. pumpkins are available to pick through September and October for Halloween and strawberries throughout the summer.
Arts and Crafts:
Oxfordshire has loads of great options for kids to express their creativity.
The Pottery Place, Witney: This is Oxfordshire’s original and best place to paint your own pottery. The three main activities on offer are pottery painting, decopatch and mosaics, so there’s plenty to choose from. They even have workshops over the school holidays to give you a bit of time off when you need it.
Unique Creation, Summertown: Kids can create clay imprints or plates – perfect as a gift for grandparents!
The Busy Brush Café – This quirky ‘paint-your-own’ pottery cafe is reasonably priced and well located in Wallingford. It offers workshops specially created for children where they can paint their own mug or decopatch pretty much anything. If you’re not feeling too creative, you can just chill out with their tasty cakes and bakes!
Walks and trails:
Explore the city from a different angle on the Oxford Spy Mission Treasure Tail: an alternative self-guided tour for all the family from Treasure Trails. Test your brain by answering questions to give you clues to get one step closer to saving the world!
Explore South Oxfordshire’s 12th-century town Henley-On-Thames with the Curious-about-Henley-on-Thames Trail. The beginning of the walk route is accessible by bus and passes by a number of cafés, restaurants and shops so you’re never too far from somewhere to grab a snack if the kids get hungry!
A Day At The Pictures:
Nothing beats a good old film to keep the little ones entertained! If you’ve had your fill of chain cinemas, give The Picture Palace a try. Many cinemas these days offer parent-baby sessions where you can catch a new release in a welcoming environment. The Picture Palace has a dedicated ‘baby club’: no baby, no entry!
The Phoenix Cinema: Big Scream is another event exclusively for parents with children under 1. Toddler Time is an event for preschool children and parents go free with a £3 child’s ticket. For children that are a little older, try Kids Club for those aged 3-12.
The Odeon on George Street is the main event if you’re looking for the most current blockbusters. They offer a ‘Newbies Parents and Baby’ session where parents/guardians are encouraged to take some time out without worrying about disturbing other cinema-goers.
No day out is complete without a hearty meal to round things off!
The Victoria Arms, Wadworth is nestled away on the Cherwell river. It enjoys a beautiful riverside garden view and has many child-friendly spaces to play. Children are very welcome here: high chairs are provided if needed and there is a great selection of food for the pickiest of eaters.
The Isis Farmhouse is located right on the River Thames and is only accessible by foot, bike or boat. With its amazing selection of home-made lunches and cakes, and a large number of outdoor tables, it’s perfect for families.
The Flowing Well is situated between Oxford and Abingdon in the beautiful village of Sunningwell. This hidden gem is well worth a visit and welcomes babies and children with open arms.
The Cherwell Boathouse does amazing food, but what makes this place really special is that you can hire punts to make a day of it (note: only for kids 7+).
By Chrissie, mum of 1, and Local Editor for Oxfordshire.
A born-and-bred resident of Oxfordshire, I’m wife to Andy and mum to our one-year-old daughter. Having grown up in Oxfordshire, I love introducing my daughter to the many wonderful sights and activities the county has to offer, as well as discovering all the new fab things we can experience for the first time together! In my spare time I play drums in a covers band and love going to gigs. I also enjoy swimming, writing, theatre and getting stuck into a good book.