10 things to do in Banbury
23 April 2018
Banbury is a historic market town on the River Cherwell in Oxfordshire, England. By road, the town is situated 74 miles northwest of London and 23 miles north-by-northwest of the county town of Oxford.
There are some interesting things to do both in town and in the surrounding areas. You will be sure to find something suitable for all ages.
1. Broughton Castle
Broughton Castle is a moated fortified manor house, about 2 miles west of Banbury. It was built in 1300 and then later added to in 1550, the Castle was a centre of opposition to Charles I and was besieged and damaged after the Battle of Edgehill in 1642.
Today the castle is still a family home and is lived in by Lord & Lady Saye & Sele of the Fiennes family. The ownership of the Castle has remained in the same family since 1447. The castle boasts beautiful formal gardens and a park. It is particularly pleasant during the summer months.
The house, garden and tearoom are open on Wednesdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from 1st April until 30th September from 2-5pm with the last admission at 4.30pm.
2. Upton House
National Trust’s Upton House and Gardens, Warwickshire, is a country mansion and home to an extensive private art collection. The country home is situated in the English county of Warwickshire, about 7 miles northwest of Banbury.
It’s main USP lies principally in its art collection. The house is presented more as an art gallery than as a private home, although care has been taken to restore the house to how it looked in the 1930s. It contains a unique art deco bathroom and a collection of early Shell advertising posters, together with some of their original artwork, by such artists as Rex Whistler.
Timed entry tickets for the house operate daily, there is a short welcome and then you can explore at your own pace. From November to March, the gardens are open using the circular winter walk only. From 10th February to 28th October there are themed tours each day from 11am-1pm, timed tickets available on arrival.
3. Avon Dassett
Avon Dassett is a village and civil parish in the Stratford district of Warwickshire, England, nestling among the Burton Dassett Hills about seven miles north of Banbury in Oxfordshire.
It offers a beautiful hilltop view of the surrounding countryside and is a lovely place for a picnic on a summers day. The little round building on top of the hill is affectionately known by some as the ‘Pork Pie’. It’s elevated position makes it a popular spot for kite flyers and many Banbury residents travel here on a regular basis to enjoy the great outdoors.
4. Banbury Lido
Banbury residents are lucky enough to have the use of a 50m outdoor pool between May and September.
Opened on 23 May 1939, it originally cost £7,900 to build which included its surrounding complex. The original build project involved 23 contractors and subcontractors, using firms such as the London Brick Company and regional bodies such as Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire Power Company.
Sadly the lido was closed in 2002 after various problems including failure of the pool’s lining. Despite local campaigners best efforts, it remained closed and unused for many years.
In 2008 Cherwell District Council agreed to a contract for refurbishment costing £1.4 million. The pool was reopened in 2009 much to the delight of local residents. Parkwood Community Leisure, which operates other Leisure Centres on behalf of Cherwell District Council in Banbury, now manages the Woodgreen Leisure Centre.
I love the outdoor pool and visit more than once a week when it is open during the summer months. I highly recommend a visit as it’s fun for all the family.
5. Banbury Museum
Banbury Museum is a family-friendly place to visit located in Banbury’s town centre, next to the idyllic canal side. The Civil War, plush manufacturing, the Victorian market town, costume from the 17th century to the present day, Tooley’s Boatyard and the Oxford Canal, are just some of the stories illustrated in the museum. There are also regularly changing exhibitions and activities to ensure that there is always something new to see and do.
The museum offers lots to do for children with regular workshops and other educational events taking place there.
Entry to the museum and permanent exhibitions is free of charge. The museum’s galleries are open Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
6. Deddington Farmers Market
Deddington is a civil parish and small town in Oxfordshire about 6 miles south of Banbury.
Deddington Farmers’ Market is one of the most successful and well-loved farmers’ markets in the UK. It has 40+ carefully selected food producers selling foods that have been grown or produced within 30 miles of the pretty ironstone village. The stallholders are happy to talk to you about the provenance of their foods and answer your questions. There is also a craft market in the church on market days.
The market is held on the 4th Saturday of the month.
7. Banbury Parkrun
Banbury Parkrun is a FREE weekly 5km event for runners of all standards, which takes place every Saturday at 9:00 am in Spiceball Park, Banbury, Oxfordshire. It is not a race against other runners, but a 5k timed run (or walk). Many people take part for fun whilst others (like me) use it as part of a training plan.
It offers an opportunity for all the local community, male or female, young or old, to come together on a regular basis to enjoy one of Banbury’s beautiful parks and get physically active.
Taking part is easy – just register before you come along to your first Parkrun. You only ever need to do this once. After that set your alarm for Saturday morning and get involved.
8. St. Mary’s Church
St Mary’s Church is a striking Georgian building located in the heart of Banbury – just two minutes walk from the famous Banbury Cross and the Fine Lady statue.
The church provides a place of prayer and worship. It is home to a wide range of activities and groups for the local community. They welcome everyone who would like to find out more or become involved in any of our activities so you can pop in at any time.
9. Peoples Park
The People’s Park in Banbury is an attractive and well-maintained park situated in the heart of the town centre. With three hectares of land and formerly owned by George Frederick Ball, the park was given to the people of Banbury as part of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in 1897.
The Park has some interesting features such as community garden, sensory garden, bowling green, rose garden, aviary, war memorial, tennis/multi-use courts, fitness area and children’s play area.
The park is popular with the local community and really comes to life on beautiful sunny days.
10. Fair Lady
A trip to Banbury isn’t complete without a visit to the statue of the ‘Fine Lady’ which is situated near Banbury Cross. The statue is associated with the popular nursery rhyme Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross.
The modern version of the rhyme goes like this:
Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And she shall have music wherever she goes.