North / East Oxfordshire
Popular with commuters due to its fantastic rail and road links, Banbury is positioned to the east side of the M40 – 60 miles northwest of London and 35 miles southeast of Birmingham.
Banbury’s train station is located a stone’s throw from the town centre, with trains serving London Marylebone every 30 minutes and taking just an hour to arrive in the city centre. Travelling north is equally convenient, with regular services into Birmingham stopping in nearby Leamington Spa and Solihull along the way.
The town has four secondary schools and multiple primary schools and boasts one of the UK’s lowest unemployment rates with 99.3% of residents in work.
Did you know, Banbury is famous for its ‘Banbury Cake’ – a spiced sweet pastry dish – with the town’s local news website adopting that very name.
Banbury is also famous around the world for its inclusion in the children’s nursery rhyme ‘Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross’. A statue of the fine lady mentioned in the rhyme can be seen in the town centre. The world’s largest coffee-processing facility is located in Banbury, as is Formula 1 team Haas.
The town is also home to legendary broadcaster and Countryfile presenter John Craven.
Home to just over 3,000 people, Bloxham sits on the edge of a valley and is overlooked by Hobb Hill to the west standing at 166m high. Running through the village is the A361, connecting Chipping Norton with Banbury, and if you need to travel north or south access to junctions 11 of the M40 is less than 15 minutes away.
Centrepiece of Bloxham is the Church of England Parish Church. Built in the 14th century, the church’s tower and spire is a local landmark and believed to be one of the tallest in Oxfordshire standing 60 metres tall.
Bloxham is home to three pubs, two schools, a post office, hairdressers, pharmacy and convenience store.
Home to approximately 2,000 residents, Deddington has been a market town for an estimated 900 years with a weekly Farmer’s Market held every Saturday between 9am and midday selling locally produced beer, bread, eggs, meat and crafts.
At the centre of the town is its parish church, which dates back to the early 13th century, with the remains of Deddington Castle – now a public area – positioned to the east of the town.
Deddington also has a coffee shop, restaurant, three pubs and a town hall, which is a Grade II listed building. If you’re a parent, the town has a primary school but the nearest secondary school is located in nearby Bloxham, a 10-minute drive away.
Deddington also has good public transport links, with hourly buses serving Kidlington and Oxford and other services travelling to Adderbury and Banbury twice a day.
The village has been home to Hook Norton Brewery for over 150 years after it was founded in 1849. It continues to brew five beers with its products delivered across Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.
If you live locally, beer continues to be delivered by a horse-drawn dray and the brewery’s work was powered by steam as recently as 2006 with its history documented in a museum.
Away from the brewery, Hook Norton is home to a primary school, small shop, post office, GP practice and dental practice. There is also a veterinary surgeon, library and sports club.
The village also hosts an annual charitable music festival named Music at the Crossroads. Public transport has been limited in Hook Norton since the village’s railway station closed in the 1960s. A number of local bus services now connect the village to nearby towns.
The town is positioned in the northwest corner of Oxfordshire in the Cotswold Hills close to the boarders of Gloucestershire and Warwickshire.
It’s a town with great character which has retained its unique charm despite being popular with tourists who visit to take in the area’s outstanding natural beauty, antique shops and wide selection of pubs and restaurants.
Residents often rely on their own forms of transport to get around, although a community bus network known as ‘The Villager’ links nearby villages including Churchill, Chadlington and Enstone to the town centre. Larger buses also serve Oxford, Banbury and Stratford-upon-Avon.
Chipping Norton has one secondary school and two primary schools and is home to golf, rugby, football, cricket and bowls clubs. The town also hosts three annual festivals a Literary Festival, Music Festival and a Jazz Festival.
Local resident Jeremy Clarkson showcased Chipping Norton to a global audience in 2021 through his critically acclaimed ‘Clarkson’s Farm’ series, which documented his newly found life as a full-time farmer.
Situated to the northside of the M40 corridor and at the tip of the A34 linking the midlands to the south coast, Bicester is a historic market town home to an estimated 32,000 people.
Bicester as we know it has been shaped by railway industry with the Oxford-Bletchley and Great Western Railway services bringing significant jobs and development to the area. During World War II a Ministry of Defence base which exists to this day was built in nearby Arncott to store and distribute military equipment.
Bicester boasts some of the best transport links in the country with trains serving central London within the hour and buses connecting the town to Bedford, Milton Keynes and Oxford. Major airports Luton, Birmingham and Heathrow are all within an hour’s drive too.
As Oxfordshire’s third largest town, after Banbury and Abingdon, Bicester is home to three secondary schools and a number of primary schools.
Bicester is also famous for its luxury shopping centre. Opened in 1995, Bicester Village has its own train station and, according to the Telegraph, is the second most visited location in the UK by tourists from China who travel to visit the 160+ designer fashion brand stores.
Sat on the banks of the River Thames, Henley’s pristine location amongst the Chiltern Hills leads itself to a popular spot among tourists, who visit to sample the town’s atmosphere, relaxing environment and gorgeous walks.
Like many of Oxfordshire’s towns, Henley has the commuter factor. Neighbouring cities and towns Oxford, Reading, Maidenhead, High Wycombe, Bracknell and Windsor can all be comfortably reached within 45 minutes.
Henley is home to two Grade I listed buildings. The town’s five-arched bridge which was built in 1786 and Chantry House are both Grade I listed structures.
Henley is also home to the world-famous Henley Regatta – an annual rowing event founded in 1839 which attracts more than 300,000 visitors each year. International Olympic Committee founder Pierre de Coubertin modelled elements of the Olympic Games we watch today based on Henley Stewards.
Home to approximately 12,000 people, Henley is one of the UK’s most expensive towns with properties selling for an average of £738,000 in the last year.
Between them, they have a population of 2,000 with facilities including a primary school, an independent day and boarding school, two pubs, a village hall and a bowls and tennis club.
Shiplake also has its own railway station, which is popular among residents for its easy access into central London with trains running every half-hour to Paddington Station, taking just 40 minutes.
Just like its neighbouring town Henley-on-Thames, house prices in Shiplake are among the highest in Oxfordshire with properties selling for an average of £1.1 million in 2021.
The name Shiplake comes from a mix of Saxon (Scip) and Danish (Lack) terms meaning ‘lack of ships’. It’s believed Shiplake may related to the Viking practice of sinking boats to be hidden – a practice adopted when they attacked Reading in 871AD.
Founded in the Anglo-Saxon era, Wheatley is associated with quarrying limestone with local materials used to build Windsor Castle and Merton College. The historic village now has a population of just under 4,000.
Wheatley has a primary and secondary school, plus operates regular bus services connecting locals to nearby towns Thame and Aylesbury plus Oxford city centre. The village’s train station closed in 1963, but Oxford, Radley and Haddenham and Thame Parkway are all within a nine-mile drive.
Central London can be reached by car in less than 90 minutes, with access to the M25 via junction 16 taking half-an-hour.
Did you know, Wheatley’s village lock-up – built in 1834 – still stands. It was used to lock up drunks overnight before sending them to court in Oxford the following day.
The lock-up remains locked for 364 days each year, but every May Day residents can pay a small fee to be shut in the 2.4mx1.8m space and receive a certificate for doing so.
Positioned 13 miles east of Oxford and 10 miles southwest of Aylesbury, Thame has a population of approximately 12,000
Thame is a popular town with commuters as the town’s railway station – Haddenham and Thame Parkway – serves London Marylebone in just 36 minutes. Local bus services also link the town with nearby Oxford, Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Chinnor, Stokenchurch and Wheatley. There are three primary schools and one secondary school
Thame is a vibrant town and has a packed events calendar. It hosts an annual country show, music festival, carnival, food festival, street fun fair, arts and literature festival and a spectacular Christmas light switch-on.
Thame is also known to provide visitors with a ‘truly English experience’, which is partly why the town was used as a frequent filming location for the popular ITV drama Midsomer Murders.
It’s also home to Army Cadets and Air Training Corps units with CPM Group and Travelodge both having their head offices on the edge of town. There are also football, rugby and golf clubs plus a full equipped leisure centre.
It neighbours nearby Chiselhampton, which is a small hamlet positioned to the northside of the River Thame.
Stadhampton is home to several building of historical and architectural importance, including the parish church which dates to when the village was first mentioned in the 12th century. Other Grade II listed buildings include Ash Cottage in School Lane and the former Black Horse pub on Thame Road.
Although Stadhampton is not Oxfordshire’s largest location, it is ideally placed meaning the main road through the village can be quite busy. Something to bear in mind if you’re looking at buying a property locally.
With an estimated population of 2,800, Watlington is one of England’s smallest towns and dates to the sixth century. The town sits at the foot of Watlington Hill which is 240m high on the western edge of the Chiltern Hills.
Due to the town’s easy access to the hills, Watlington is often the gateway to south Oxfordshire’s outdoor activities including hill walking, cycling and birdwatching. The area has a particularly high population of Red Kites, which only 30 years ago nearly fell into extinction.
The town is surrounded by a number of charming villages packed with character, including Turville across the border to Buckinghamshire – a village best known for being where hit BBC comedy The Vicar of Dibley was filmed.
Local facilities include a primary school, football, cricket and sports clubs plus a Women’s Institute. The town sits within three miles of junctions five and six of the M40 with frequent coach services to Oxford and London plus airports Heathrow and Gatwick operated.
There is only one remaining bus services which links Watlington to Oxford.
“Bicester has seen plenty of development and investment over recent years”