5 of the best day trips from Oxfordshire to try this weekend
The UK has a wealth of history and culture, with plenty of great days out for you and your family.
From castles and stately homes to safari parks and museums, if you’re looking for UK day trips from the Oxfordshire area this autumn, look no further.
Whether for the weekend or half-term (local lockdowns notwithstanding), here’s your guide to five great places to visit.
1. Warwick Castle, Warwick
Currently open 10 am to 4 pm, and just over an hour outside Oxford, Warwick Castle is a wonderful day out for parties of all ages.
Set within 64 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, the castle reopened to visitors on 6 June. Its phased approach to reopening and adherence to updated government regulations mean you can be secure in the knowledge that your safety is paramount.
Pre-book tickets online (for around £20 for full admission) and be sure to adhere to the current rule of six.
Also, check out the live shows. The Bowman Zone – showcasing the skills of the castle’s resident archers – has moved to the castle entrance but the Falconer’s Quest continues to run twice daily.
Watch the UK’s largest bird of prey show, including Barty the bearded vulture, Ernie the eagle owl, and Henry the bald eagle.
Warwick Castle also includes the always-useful ‘rainy day promise.’ If the Great British weather spoils your experience, visit again for free. Second visits must be within 60 days (and are currently subject to availability during limited visitor opening).
2. Beaulieu National Motor Museum, Hampshire
Home to more than 280 vehicles, the Beaulieu National Motor Museum near Southampton, is a fascinating insight into the history of motorised transport.
From an 1890s Karl Benz Velo to Damon Hill’s 1996 Formula 1 test car, the collection represents over a century of innovation.
Elsewhere in the museum, you’ll find ‘Motoring in miniature – The toys of your childhood’ and be able to explore a rustic 1930s garage complete with artefacts and ephemera from the age. If you prefer your motorised transport with two wheels, uncover the cultural history of the motorcycle.
Open from 10 am daily, and only an hour and a half south of Oxford, you’ll currently need to pre-book. This helps the venue to monitor visitor numbers and ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Family tickets are £53.00 if bought in advance. An adult ticket will cost around £20.
You’ll also need to be certain of the date you intend to visit as once booked, tickets cannot be refunded, exchanged, or moved to a different date.
3. SS Great Britain, Bristol
Built in Bristol’s dry dock and launched from it in 1843, Brunel’s SS Great Britain was a revolutionary vessel, once referred to as ‘the greatest experiment since the Creation’.
Larger – both in size and power – than any passenger vessel of the time, not only did Brunel opt to build its vast hull from iron, he also gave it a screw propeller in place of the conventional paddle wheel.
127 years after its initial launch, the SS Great Britain returned to Bristol and it is now a floating museum. There’s plenty to see and do.
From the dockyard museum, you can head aboard the SS Great Britain itself. Also, be sure to head under the glass sea. The ship’s iron hull is so vulnerable to corrosion that a glass ceiling spans the dry dock along its ‘water-line’. Travel into the dock itself for a truly unique view.
Now reopen after lockdown closures, you’ll need to book tickets online. An average visit is said to last around three hours, leaving plenty of time to explore the rest of the historic city.
4. Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, Wiltshire
Opening in 1966 as the first drive-through safari park outside Africa, Longleat is also home to the BBC’s long-running, Animal Park series.
Having reopened in June after closing for lockdown earlier in the year, Longleat is now open and operating with limited capacity and some Covid-secure restrictions in place.
Wind up your windows and brave the big cats of Tiger Territory, Lion Country, and the Cheetah Kingdom. Or say goodbye to your car aerial and visit the macaques of Monkey Mayhem.
Once you’re safely parked up, there’s plenty to do in the main square. A family farmyard and adventure playground for the kids, plus a hedge maze and plenty more animals to see.
No walk-in tickets are available so you must book online. Adult tickets are around £25, with 3 to 16 years old £20, and under 3s free.
5. Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxford
For a day trip closer to home, why not visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Blenheim Palace?
Home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, discover the palace’s fascinating history.
Visit the Palace State Rooms and explore 300 years of history and the grandeur of the palace’s baroque architecture.
Then head outside to stroll the formal gardens, take a walk around the lake, or – if you’re quick – take a boat out on to the water. (Rowing boats are available for hire between 12 August – 30th September.)
An adult ticket to the palace, park, and gardens costs £28.50, £69.00 for a family ticket. Be aware that certain areas and exhibitions may be closed due to the difficulties of maintaining a safe, social distance.
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