things to do in banbury

Welcome to Banbury, a charming market town located in Oxfordshire, England. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Banbury offers a plethora of things to do and tourist attractions that will capture your heart. From historical landmarks to outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone in this enchanting town.

When it comes to things to do in Banbury, the town has a rich history waiting to be explored. Marvel at the iconic Banbury Cross, the symbol of the town immortalized in the famous nursery rhyme. Step inside St Mary’s parish church, whose breathtaking architecture will leave you in awe. Get a glimpse into Banbury’s past at the informative Banbury Museum, located near the picturesque canal. Don’t forget to visit Tooley’s Boatyard, an 18th-century workshop and dry-dock that offers fascinating guided tours.

If you’re traveling with family, you’ll be delighted to discover the range of family-friendly activities in Banbury. The Banbury Museum offers interactive exhibitions and events that cater to all ages. For an unforgettable experience, head to Fir Tree Falconry, where you can encounter majestic birds of prey and participate in educational programs. The Waterflow Sanctuary and Children’s Farm is the perfect place to get up close and personal with adorable animals while the kids have a blast exploring the large playground.

For those seeking outdoor adventures, Banbury is surrounded by natural beauty. Take a leisurely stroll along the scenic walking routes along the Oxford Canal and immerse yourself in the picturesque countryside. Explore Edgehill, the site of the first Civil War battle, and enjoy panoramic views of the stunning landscapes. If you’re a fan of gardens and art, a visit to Upton House and Gardens is a must. This National Trust property boasts captivating gardens and an impressive art collection.

Shopping and dining enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice in Banbury. Explore the unique mix of independent shops and larger retail centers around town. The Castle Quay Shopping Centre is a haven for shoppers, offering a wide range of stores and eateries to satisfy all tastes. And don’t leave Banbury without indulging in the famous Banbury Cake, a local delicacy made with fruit and pastry.

When the sun sets, Banbury comes alive with its vibrant events and entertainment scene. From live music venues to pubs and bars, there’s always something happening in town. Keep an eye out for the various events taking place throughout the year, including festivals, fairs, and cultural celebrations.

While Banbury itself has a lot to offer, it also serves as a gateway to stunning day trips in the surrounding area. Explore the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, with its picturesque landscapes and charming villages. Take a trip to the Hook Norton Brewery and experience a guided tour of its Victorian Tower Brewery. Visit Broughton Castle, a magnificent fortified manor house that will transport you back in time.

Whether you’re planning a day out, a weekend getaway, or a longer stay, Banbury promises a captivating experience filled with history, attractions, and activities. So pack your bags and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey in this charming market town.

Historical Sites and Landmarks in Banbury

Banbury is a town steeped in history, boasting a variety of historical sites and landmarks that are sure to captivate visitors. From iconic attractions to architectural gems, here are some must-see destinations in Banbury.

Banbury Cross

No visit to Banbury would be complete without a stop at Banbury Cross. This legendary landmark has been immortalized in the nursery rhyme “Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross,” making it a symbol of the town’s heritage. Located in the town centre, Banbury Cross is a beloved sight that embodies the charm and history of Banbury.

St Mary’s Parish Church

St Mary’s Parish Church is a magnificent example of medieval architecture and stands as a testament to Banbury’s religious heritage. With its imposing spire and intricate details, the church is a sight to behold. Step inside to admire the beautiful stained glass windows and soak in the serene atmosphere.

Banbury Museum

For those interested in delving deeper into Banbury’s past, a visit to Banbury Museum is a must. Located near the picturesque canal, the museum offers a fascinating journey through the town’s history. Discover exhibitions showcasing local artifacts, interactive displays, and engaging collections that bring Banbury’s heritage to life.

Tooley’s Boatyard

Step back in time and explore the history of Banbury’s thriving canal industry at Tooley’s Boatyard. This 18th-century boat workshop and dry-dock provide a unique opportunity to see skilled craftsmen at work and learn about the boats that once navigated the local waterways. Take a guided tour to gain insights into the history of the canal and the vital role it played in Banbury’s development.

Banbury historical sites

Immerse yourself in Banbury’s rich history by exploring these historical sites and landmarks. Each destination offers a unique glimpse into the town’s past and showcases the enduring legacy of Banbury’s remarkable heritage.

Historical Site Description
Banbury Cross An iconic landmark immortalized in nursery rhymes, symbolizing Banbury’s history and charm.
St Mary’s Parish Church A magnificent medieval church with impressive architecture and exquisite stained glass windows.
Banbury Museum A fascinating museum showcasing local artifacts, interactive displays, and engaging exhibitions.
Tooley’s Boatyard An 18th-century boat workshop and dry-dock offering guided tours and insights into Banbury’s canal industry.

Family Fun Things to Do in Banbury

Banbury is a great destination for families, with a range of activities to keep children entertained. Whether you’re looking for educational experiences or outdoor adventures, there are plenty of options in and around Banbury that will delight kids of all ages.

Banbury Museum

things to do in Banbury with kids

Located in the heart of Banbury, Banbury Museum offers a fun and interactive experience for children and adults alike. The museum features a variety of family-friendly exhibitions that bring the town’s history to life. From archaeological artifacts to local art displays, there’s something to engage every curiosity. The museum also organizes special events and workshops throughout the year, ensuring there’s always something new to discover.

Fir Tree Falconry

For a unique and educational experience, visit Fir Tree Falconry. Located just outside of Banbury, this popular attraction offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with magnificent birds of prey. Families can enjoy thrilling flying displays and informative handling sessions. Through interactive experiences, visitors can learn about the birds’ behaviors and habitats, fostering an understanding and appreciation for these incredible creatures.

Waterflow Sanctuary and Children’s Farm

No family day out in Banbury is complete without a visit to Waterflow Sanctuary and Children’s Farm. This charming sanctuary and farm is home to a variety of animals, including friendly goats, fluffy rabbits, and playful lambs. Children can enjoy feeding and petting the animals, while also exploring the large outdoor playground. Waterflow Sanctuary is the perfect place for children to learn about animal care and conservation, all while having fun in a safe and welcoming environment.

“Banbury offers a range of family-friendly activities, from museums and learning experiences to hands-on interactions with animals. There’s something for all ages and interests!”

Attraction Description
Banbury Museum Offers family-friendly exhibitions and events throughout the year.
Fir Tree Falconry Provides interactive experiences with birds of prey.
Waterflow Sanctuary and Children’s Farm Features a variety of animals and a large outdoor playground.

Outdoor Adventures near Banbury

Nature enthusiasts will find plenty of outdoor adventures near Banbury. Whether you’re looking for scenic walking routes, historical sites, or stunning gardens, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the surrounding countryside.

Walking Routes Banbury:

  1. Oxford Canal

walking routes Banbury

The Oxford Canal offers picturesque walking routes, allowing you to explore the tranquil countryside at your own pace. Take in the beauty of the waterway, surrounded by lush greenery, and enjoy a leisurely stroll along its banks. This is a popular route for walkers of all ages and abilities, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Historical Site Banbury: Edgehill

“Edgehill is the site of the first Civil War battle in England and provides panoramic views of the surrounding area.” – Local Historian

For history enthusiasts, a visit to Edgehill is a must. Located near Banbury, this historic site offers a chance to step back in time and learn about the significant events that took place during the English Civil War. Explore the battlefield, admire the breathtaking views, and gain a deeper understanding of the country’s past.

Upton House and Gardens

Just a short distance from Banbury, Upton House and Gardens is a National Trust property that offers a unique blend of art and nature. Immerse yourself in the stunning gardens, featuring vibrant flowers, manicured lawns, and peaceful water features. Take the opportunity to explore the art collection housed within the grand mansion and uncover its fascinating history.

Outdoor Adventures near Banbury Description
Oxford Canal Scenic walking routes along the picturesque waterway.
Edgehill Historic site of the first Civil War battle with panoramic views.
Upton House and Gardens National Trust property known for its stunning gardens and art collection.

Shopping and Dining in Banbury

Banbury offers a unique shopping experience, with a mix of independent shops and larger retail centers. Whether you’re looking for fashionable clothing, unique gifts, or local crafts, you’ll find it all in the charming streets of Banbury. From trendy boutiques to antique stores, there’s something to suit every taste and style.

One of the must-visit shopping destinations in Banbury is the Castle Quay Shopping Centre. Located in the heart of the town, this bustling shopping centre is home to a wide variety of stores, ranging from popular high-street brands to specialty shops. Explore the vibrant walkways and discover the latest fashion trends, stylish accessories, and much more. When you need a break from shopping, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the many eateries in the centre, offering a range of cuisines to satisfy any craving.

While exploring the shops of Banbury, don’t forget to treat yourself to the famous Banbury Cake. This delectable local delicacy is a pastry filled with a sweet mixture of currants, raisins, and spices, creating a perfect blend of flavors. Indulge in this traditional treat and experience a taste of Banbury’s culinary heritage.

Events and Entertainment in Banbury

Banbury is not only known for its historical sites and family-friendly activities, but also for its bustling events and lively entertainment scene. Whether you’re visiting Banbury during the day or night, there are plenty of things to do and exciting events to attend that will make your stay in this charming town even more memorable.

Live Music Venues

If you’re a music enthusiast, Banbury has a vibrant live music scene. There are several venues in town that host regular live performances, showcasing a wide range of genres and local talent. From rock and jazz to acoustic sessions and open mic nights, you can immerse yourself in the rhythm and enjoy a night filled with fantastic live music.

Pubs and Bars

Looking for a lively nightlife experience? Banbury has a great selection of pubs and bars where you can unwind, socialize, and enjoy a drink or two. Whether you prefer traditional English pubs with a cozy atmosphere or trendy bars with a modern vibe, you’ll find the perfect spot to relax and have a good time with friends or fellow travelers.

Annual Festivals and Fairs

Throughout the year, Banbury hosts a variety of festivals and fairs that celebrate the town’s culture, heritage, and local traditions. These events offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, enjoy live performances, indulge in delicious food and drinks, and explore the vibrant marketplace filled with local crafts, art, and products.

“The events and entertainment scene in Banbury offers something for everyone, whether you’re a music lover, a social butterfly, or someone who enjoys the festive atmosphere of cultural celebrations. With a wide range of options to choose from, you’ll never be bored during your visit to Banbury!”

So, if you’re wondering what to do in Banbury at night or looking for exciting events and a vibrant nightlife, rest assured that this charming town has you covered. From live music venues and pubs to annual festivals and fairs, Banbury offers a diverse range of entertainment options that will make your evenings in town unforgettable.

Day Trips from Banbury

Banbury is an excellent base for exploring the surrounding area. Take a break from the town’s attractions and embark on a day trip to discover the nearby hidden gems. Here are a few places to visit near Banbury:

  1. Oxfordshire Cotswolds: Immerse yourself in the stunning green landscapes and charming villages of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Experience the idyllic countryside and visit picturesque towns such as Chipping Norton and Burford.
  2. Hook Norton Brewery: Just a short drive from Banbury, Hook Norton Brewery offers tours of its Victorian Tower Brewery. Learn about the beer-making process, sample award-winning ales, and soak in the rich brewing heritage.
  3. Broughton Castle: Step back in time at Broughton Castle, a magnificent fortified manor house. Explore the well-preserved rooms, stroll through beautiful gardens, and admire the historic architecture.

These day trips near Banbury provide a great opportunity to delve into the region’s history, culture, and natural beauty.


Banbury, a captivating market town with a rich history, offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors. From exploring historical sites to enjoying outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this charming town.

Whether you’re visiting with family, friends, or as a couple, Banbury has something to offer. Explore the town’s historical sites and landmarks, such as the famous Banbury Cross and St Mary’s parish church. Visit the Banbury Museum and Tooley’s Boatyard for a deeper dive into the town’s past.

If you’re looking for family-friendly activities, Banbury has you covered. Let your kids have a blast at Banbury Museum’s family-friendly exhibitions or get up close with birds of prey at Fir Tree Falconry. The Waterflow Sanctuary and Children’s Farm is another great option, with its wide variety of animals and large playground for children to enjoy.

Nature enthusiasts will be delighted by the outdoor adventures near Banbury. Explore the scenic walking routes along the Oxford Canal and take in the panoramic views from Edgehill, the site of the first Civil War battle. For those interested in gardens and art, a visit to Upton House and Gardens is a must.

After a day of exploring, indulge in some shopping at Banbury’s unique mix of independent shops and the popular Castle Quay Shopping Centre. And don’t forget to try the local delicacy, Banbury Cake, while you’re there.

With a vibrant events scene and a variety of entertainment options, Banbury offers something to do at night as well. Enjoy live music venues, pubs, and bars, and join in on the various events hosted throughout the year.

For those looking to venture beyond Banbury, there are plenty of day trip options. Experience the stunning landscapes and charming villages of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds or take a tour of the Victorian Tower Brewery at Hook Norton Brewery. Broughton Castle, a fortified manor house, is also worth a visit.

Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, food enthusiast, or simply looking for a memorable day out, Banbury has it all. Plan your visit to this captivating market town and create lasting memories.


What outdoor adventures can I explore near Banbury?

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy scenic walking routes along the Oxford Canal and admire the beautiful countryside. Edgehill, the site of the first Civil War battle, offers panoramic views. Upton House and Gardens, located nearby, is a National Trust property known for its stunning gardens and art collection.

Is Banbury a good destination for shopping and dining?

Yes, Banbury offers a unique shopping experience with a mix of independent shops and larger retail centers. The Castle Quay Shopping Centre is a popular destination with a range of stores and eateries. Don’t miss trying the famous Banbury Cake, a local delicacy made with fruit and pastry.

What events and entertainment options are available in Banbury?

Banbury has a vibrant events scene with various entertainment options. You can enjoy live music at venues, pubs, and bars, and the town hosts festivals, fairs, and cultural celebrations throughout the year.

What are some popular day trips from Banbury?

If you’re looking to explore the surrounding area, you can take a day trip to the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, where you can experience stunning green landscapes and charming villages. Hook Norton Brewery, a short drive from Banbury, offers tours of its Victorian Tower Brewery. Broughton Castle, a fortified manor house, is another nearby attraction worth visiting.