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Staycation in Oxford this Summer

For a quintessential staycation in the city this summer, look no further than Oxford. Although it’s best known for its spires, literary greats and the iconic buildings of Oxford University, the city is also buzzing, charming and romantic. It offers plenty to do to keep you entertained. We’ve rounded up some of the best ways to make your summer staycation anything but ordinary.

Explore on foot

You can explore the city with one of the many guided tours on offer, or escape to nature with a daytrip near Oxford.  We also recommend heading to one of “Oxford’s oldest monuments” Port Meadow, just a few minutes’ walk from the city. The flat meadow sits beside the River Thames and is home to wildflowers, wetland flora, wild ponies, cows and many species of birds. Refuel at one of the two pubs nearby or pack a picnic and watch the sunset.

Port Meadow

Punt

There is simply nothing more charming nor traditional than punting on the River Cherwell. Head along to Cherwell Boathouse where you can hire handcrafted punts made on site, (rowing boats and Canadian canoes also available), for an hour or a full day. Grab a bite to eat from the Teahut and don’t forget to bring the Pimm’s for your punt!

Cherwell Boathouse

Fly high

See Oxford in a new light with a bird eyes view of the spires and book a flight over Oxford with the Oxford Balloon Company.

Oxford Balloon Company

Cycle

If you’d rather be on two wheels – then check out our neighbour, Summertown Cycles who can offer a short-day hire for you to see Oxford in a new light. Check out our recommended cycle routes or pick the knowledge of the Summertown Cycles team.

Oxford Cycle Routes

Swim

Make the most of the summer sun and relax at one of the two outdoor pools in Oxford.  Hinksey Heated Outdoor Pool is just a short walk from the city, or head to Woodstock Open Air Pool close by to Blenheim Palace.

Hinksey Heated Outdoor Pool

Rainy days

As we know too well, the weather is always a talking point on this small island, so where to spend those rainy days?

Besides the many museums, exploring the University buildings and heading to one of Britain’s best libraries – the Bodleian, Oxford is also home to a board games café. Thirsty Meeples Board Game Café offers even the biggest of board game fans a touch of green-eyed monster, stocking over 2,500 games you’re bound to find a new favourite. They even stock many of the games for purchase so you can continue the game back at the hotel.

Thirsty Meeples Board Game Cafe

Come rain or shine, there is always time for a spot of shopping! Alice fans you won’t want to miss The Alice Shop, which sells everything Alice from trinkets, to jewellery to homeware. This shop was also visited by the real Alice and even featured in the book, Through the Looking Glass. If you’re an avid bookworm, then head to one the iconic Blackwell’s Bookshop to pick up a new novel or re-visit one of the many classics inspired by this quintessential city… maybe you’ll be inspired to write your own!

Alices Shop

Where will your Summer take you? Book Now for a #SplendidSummer

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Vanbrugh House Hotel Reviews

Clare,

Melbourne, Australia

Lovely hotel in a wonderful central location. We could easily walk to most places of interest with many restaurants. We had booked a superior double, which was on the second floor and quiet as requested.

The staff were happy to help with our luggage. Standard of room excellent with a lovely bathroom and walk in shower.

Assistance pleasantly provided by helpful staff - good restaurants, parking, ice, taxis etc. Good breakfast choice included in tariff. Loved our stay and would certainly return.


Graham,

Salisbury

The experience was superb from start to finish. Lovely deluxe room with private garden. Excellent for a special treat. The hotel is in a great location and Oxford has plenty of lovely coffee shops and restaurants to keep you nourished.


Adrianne,

Hong Kong

The hotel suite is very nice and spacious. We love every detail in the room, especially the shower in the bathroom! The complimentary breakfast is also very good with nice service! Definitely will stay over again if we come back to Oxford!


Kate,

London

My husband and I came to Oxford to celebrate our wedding anniversary. From the moment we arrived at the hotel all staff were very accommodating and friendly. We were kindly given a room that required no steps (The Sir John Vanbrugh Suite) given that I am heavily pregnant. In addition, we were given a welcome drink to celebrate our anniversary as well as a lovely card- a really nice touch especially given that it was so long ago since I'd mentioned it in our booking!

Breakfast the next morning was fantastic - really fresh ingredients and friendly staff. The location of the hotel is excellent. We used the park and ride option for parking which really was very easy and much cheaper than the multi storey.

Our room looked out onto the main street but noise definitely wasn't a problem. The best part of the room was either the very comfy bed or the enormous bath! Thanks to all staff for making our stay so relaxing and enjoyable!


Luna,

Hong Kong

I recently spent one night at Oxford and since I'm not driving and I plan to take the train, I want to stay in a decent hotel at the city centre and close to train station. Vanbrugh House Hotel ticks all of the above.

Staff are super helpful and friendly, I arrived on the day with big snow and my train was cancelled so I have to get off at Didcot Parkway and take a bus. By the time I arrived, it was only 12 noon but the staff kindly check me in early. They also helped carried the luggage (together with me, of course) to go up the stairs.

The hotel was recently renovated and positioned as a boutique hotel, the size of the room is very okay as I'm travelling sole and it's very comfortable. Shower facilities are great so as the washroom amenities are very high quality. Breakfast, traditional English breakfast with unlimited cereal plus toasts was excellent. Would definitely stay here again.


Leo,

New York

Our stay at the Vanbrugh House Hotel was enjoyable. The hotel is located in the centre of Oxford, giving us the opportunity to explore Oxford right outside the front door. The staff were very helpful and courteous, and after a day of touring it was relaxing to have a glass of wine at the hotel.


Jan,

Princes Risborough

What a fabulous hotel. The staff, location and rooms are excellent. The staff couldn't do enough to help and were very welcoming. Location is perfect for the Theatre, the new Westgate shopping centre and plenty of restaurant within a very short walk.

The rooms are beautiful and very clean. Loved the fact that anything in the rooms fridge was complimentary.


Donna,

Bedford

Beautiful hotel in the centre of Oxford, great location with everything nearby, but very peaceful and quiet. The room was gorgeous, the staff very friendly and helpful. Great food and spotless rooms. Thoroughly recommended and we'll definitely be returning.


Anna,

Poland

I love luxury stays with family and this hotel is perfect. Rooms are clean, spacious and comfortable. Our kids had a very enjoyable time there. Staff are very nice and they helped us with how to organise free time for our kids. Highly recommended!


Cat,

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Nice little boutique hotel, centrally located in a quiet area. Complimentary snacks, tea, coffee in room. Comfy beds and best bonus was Mustafa from the front desk staff. He was most ready and willing to help with any request, and at all times with a very friendly and a happy personality.

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