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Discover beautiful parks and gardens in Oxfordshire

From rolling parkland and whimsical gardens to the county’s finest estates, we’re celebrating some of the local gems right on our doorstep. Combine a trip to the Village with a visit to one of these charming near-Oxford gardens and green spaces.

The notion of beautiful country parks and gardens in Oxfordshire is familiar to us, owing to our location – within one hour’s drive from parts of the Cotswolds, North Wessex Downs and Chiltern Hills – and to the botanical haven we have created at Bicester Village.

Just picture the scene; you’ve spent the day strolling through the seasonal displays of flowers, exploring the latest drops from your favourite designers, enjoyed a first-class dining experience, and retired happily to your accommodation for the evening. But the excitement doesn’t have to stop there, because tomorrow it’s time to reconnect with nature at one of Oxfordshire’s gardens, parks or reserves. From the enchanting C. S. Lewis Nature Reserve to the grand palaces and castles dotted around the county, discover some of the finest green spaces in the region.

01

Blenheim Palace and park

Home to one of – not just Oxfordshire’s but the UK’s – finest palaces, a visit to Blenheim Park offers an unforgettable experience. With its rolling hillsides, ornate bridges over water, and well-kept gardens, not to mention over 2000 acres of parkland to explore, you will find plenty of beautiful spots to enjoy with your family at Blenheim Palace and park. From the Woodstock Gate, regarded as one of the most striking views in England, to the banks of Queen Pool Lake, take in the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visit online: https://www.blenheimpalace.com

02

Broughton Grange Gardens

A magnificent example of contemporary British gardens, Broughton Grange is set in over 400 acres of parkland, farmland and open meadow overlooking a beautiful Oxfordshire valley. It is a richly varied, respectfully maintained place that includes a walled garden, orchard, arboretum, ornate fountains and many other feasts for the senses.

The gardens of Broughton Grange are very much in keeping with the natural surroundings, its orchard being home to ancient apple and pear trees dating back to Victorian times. This harmonious approach to maintenance means that these Oxfordshire gardens blend effortlessly into the surrounding countryside and attract all manner of wildlife. With limited opening hours, check before your visit.

Visit online: https://www.broughtongrange.com

03

Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park

With 120 acres of beautiful parkland and an award-winning art gallery, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Compton Verney. Take a delightful walk through the historic Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown-designed landscape and discover dramatic views of the mansion house, lake, and surrounding countryside. Find undiscovered parts of the park when you explore the unique outdoor art exhibitions.

This most inspiring of gardens in Oxfordshire offers visitors a whole host of wellness activities, too. So, for an hour or two of pure zen-filled energy, why not book in for a yoga or Tai Chi session hosted amidst the beautiful parkland surroundings?

Visit online: https://www.comptonverney.org.uk

04

Kingston Bagpuize

Miss Raphael created the beautiful gardens at Kingston Bagpuize House in 1938. Influenced by her travels to China, Japan, Canada, and South Africa, you'll discover rare and eye-catching plants, including the wispy pink Persian silk tree and the evergreen Virginian willow. The gardens and parkland continue to honour her legacy today with inspiring collections of mature trees, shrubs, perennials, and bulbs. If you've watched the TV show, Downton Abbey, you may recognise the idyllic countryside location as the home of Lord Merton.

Visit online: https://kbhevents.uk

05

Rousham House & Gardens

Designed by William Kent in the 18th century, the landscaped gardens at Rousham House remain virtually unspoilt. Evergreen trees frame views of the winding river Cherwell, whilst a series of ornamental features, including the seven arched Praeneste and sham ruin known as the eyecatcher, take centre stage. Don't miss the walled garden with its deep herbaceous flower beds, box parterres and espalier apple trees. Pack a picnic, wear comfortable shoes, and it is yours to enjoy for the day. The house itself is only open by prior appointment, book a tour in advance here.

Visit online: http://rousham.org

06

Stonor Park

Experience the natural wonder of Stonor Park, set deep within the Chiltern Hills. From the 17th Century Italianate Pleasure Garden to the Ladies Walk, where you'll discover young nut trees, ornamental cherries, primroses and more – it's a truly majestic setting come springtime. No visit would be complete without taking the footpath opposite the house to discover the magnificent views of the parkland and ancient herd of fallow deer who call this place home.

Visit online: https://www.stonor.com

07

The Old Rectory

It is no surprise that the Old Rectory was voted the most beautiful parsonage in England by Country Life magazine. The house sits at the centre of a series of immaculately tended garden rooms. From the herbaceous borders and arboretum to the secret garden, you’ll find a beautiful explosion of colour and texture at every turn. With stunning views across the Oxfordshire countryside, it is a wonderfully romantic place – the perfect setting for couples to stroll around and take in the beauty of a quintessential English home and garden in its prime. Open days are limited, so be sure to check in advance.

Visit online: https://ngs.org.uk/the-most-beautiful-old-rectory-in-england

08

Upton House

Upton House is the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside garden retreat where Lord and Lady Bearsted retreated to relax in the 1930s. Upton’s garden remains an idyllic place to reconnect with nature. Immerse yourself in the spectacular surroundings and walk the grounds to discover cascading terraced borders, elegant stone staircases and a variety of herbaceous borders. And let’s not forget the beautiful Orchard, a peaceful place to sit where you can see, hear and enjoy the sounds of nature without any distractions.

Get lost amongst the dense green surroundings of the Woodland Walk, spend a little time with the Coots who love and inhabit the Mirror Pool or even take a guided evening bat walk.

Visit online: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/upton-house-and-gardens

09

Waddesdon Manor

The gardens at Waddesdon Manor were the vision of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, who created the Manor at the end of the 19th century. Today they are still considered some of the finest gardens in Oxfordshire, with everything from winding trails bursting with green to a French-inspired formal garden – not forgetting the beautifully restored cast-iron aviary filled with exotic birds. Plus, don’t miss the perfectly sculptured life-size wooden elephants.

Wine aficionados would do well to enquire about Waddesdon Manor’s food and wine events, including cellar visits, dinners with Gusbourne Estate wines and even enchanting alfresco tastings on the Parterre. It goes without saying that Rothschild wines are a prominent feature of such fabulous events.

Visit online: https://waddesdon.org.uk

10

Waterperry Gardens

The ornamental gardens at Waterperry have been delighting visitors for years, with 8 acres of inspirational Oxford gardens nestled in the countryside. There is plenty to explore, from the formal knot gardens and water-lily canal to one of the finest herbaceous borders in the country, which flowers continually from May to October. For gardening enthusiasts, there is a well-stocked nursery on-site. Plus, delight in year-round events held in the open-air Amphitheatre, from expert talks to theatre, music and more.

Visit online: https://www.waterperrygardens.co.uk

11

Worton Kitchen Gardens

Five miles northwest of Oxford, you’ll discover the magical Worton Kitchen Garden, a seven-acre market garden on the Worton Park Estate. Since 2005 the gardens have steadily evolved to produce a diverse range of beautiful flowers, fresh herbs, seasonal vegetables and fruit. This secluded piece of paradise is open year-round, and features a farm shop selling local produce and a café restaurant.

Visit online: https://wortonkitchengarden.com

12

Wychwood Wild Garden

Lose yourself in the magical Wychwood wild gardens, 12.5 acres of beautiful avenues, ponds, informal gardens, and untouched woodland. Take a walk down Lime Avenue – named after the hundred lime trees that mark the entryway – to discover the Round Pond, a haven for wildlife and home to the magnificent 300-year-old Cedar of Lebanon. Owned and lovingly maintained by a local charity, it offers a place of peace and tranquillity for local residents, guests and visitors to the area.

Visit online: https://www.wychwoodwildgarden.org.uk

Illustrated by Olympia Olympitis

Illustrator Olympia Olympitis brings these local gems to life, exclusively for Bicester Village, in this collection of commissioned art.

@olympiaolympitis.art

visit her website
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