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Bicester Village – The ultimate shopping experience.
Approximately 3 miles (7 minutes drive) from Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa.
Discover the UK’s leading luxury shopping experience at Bicester Village, located in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside on the edge of the Cotswolds, where spacious boutiques showcase the world’s finest fashion and lifestyle brands.
Indulge in savings of up to 60%* all year round, as well as tax-free shopping in more than 130 luxury boutiques, including Alexander McQueen, Mulberry, Saint Laurent Paris and many more.
Enjoy open-air boulevards, attentive service and a friendly, unhurried atmosphere for a truly unique retail experience – and with Bicester Village open from 9am, Monday to Saturday, why not start your day in style with breakfast in one of the many restaurants and cafés.
Find out more about travel options, the latest boutique news and opening times at www.bicestervillage.com
Blenheim Palace – Britain’s Greatest Palace.
Approximately 11 miles (20 minutes drive) from Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa.
On passing through the triumphal arch at the Woodstock entrance to Blenheim Palace, it is clear to see why Lord Randolph Churchill proclaimed “This is the finest view in England”.
The towers of the Palace appear some way off to the left, while far away to the right the Column of Victory, topped with its statue of the 1st Duke of Marlborough, rises nobly above the trees. But what takes the eye and holds it is the great lake and its island of poplars, with Sir John Vanbrugh’s Grand Bridge and ‘Capability’ Brown’s hanging beech woods beyond. This awesome view appears so effortless and natural, but in reality was designed to take the breath away.
The Palace was built on Queen Anne’s orders for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, in recognition of his victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704; a victory that saved Europe from French domination.
It is clear to see why Blenheim Palace deserves its World Heritage status. The splendour and tranquillity of the 2,100 acres of landscaped parkland and the formal gardens are unrivalled anywhere in Britain and the Palace interiors beautifully balance the delicate with the awe-inspiring, from the imposing vastness of the Great Hall, to the intricate detailing of the Red Drawing room.
Blenheim Palace is still home to the 11th Duke of Marlborough and his family, and is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Through its timeless sophistication, beauty and overwhelming scale, and through its inspirational history, the allure of Blenheim Palace will make a return visit irresistible.
The park and gardens
The splendour and tranquillity of the ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped parkland and the Formal Gardens are unrivalled in Britain. From the Water Terraces, the Rose Garden and the Grand Cascade to the magnificent lake, fringed by majestic oaks and maples, there is beauty to be found in all seasons. Visit the Secret Garden with it’s winding paths, streams and water features, or cross Vanbrugh’s Grand Bridge to walk up to the Column of Victory.
Blenheim Palace is set in 2,100 acres of spectacular parkland in the heart of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds and is only eight miles from Oxford.
Exact dates, times and prices for the current season can be found on the Blenheim Palace website.
Discounted tickets for Blenheim Palace are available for purchase at Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa reception.
Waterperry Gardens – Eight acres of beautifully landscaped ornamental gardens.
Approximately 19 miles (27 minutes drive) from Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa.
Eight acres of beautifully landscaped ornamental gardens, a quality plant centre housed in our Victorian walled garden, Art Gallery, Museum of Rural Life and Teashop offering home-baked lunches and some of the best cakes in the county! Join us for one of our wonderful annual events or sign up for our inspirational Arts, Crafts and Gardening courses.
Open 7 days a week
Open 10am – 5.30pm (summer). 10am – 5pm (winter).
Except between Christmas and New Year and during the Art in Action event.
The Oxfordshire Market Town of Woodstock.
Approximately 10 miles (18 minutes drive) from Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa.
Legend has it that King Alfred stayed here in the year 890 although the first firm evidence of a Royal Domicile is during the reign of Ethelred the Unready (976-1016) when he is known to have held at least one council (Witan) here. This suggests that there must have been either a lodge or some sort of palace large enough to accommodate the King and his entourage. The building does not stand today and it is not known where it stood.
The arrival of Norman Kings brought about great changes to the Country and its inhabitants. The sport of hunting became very important to the monarchy and large areas of forest were given over to hunting with the Saxon inhabitants being driven away. Those of the ‘Clearing in the Woods’ that was Woodstock were no exception and there is strong belief that they were the founders of ‘Old Woodstock’ which lies to the north of the River Glyme. The youngest son of William the Conqueror, Henry I is the first to be credited with enclosing what is now Blenheim Park and it is said that parts of the old wall can still be seen. He also built a manor within the wall which stood on the mound which stands across what is now the lake from the Palace we see today.
After Henry’s death came nineteen years of anarchy and civil war until the accession of Henry II (Plantagenet) in 1154. He was the first monarch to subdue the Barons and unify the country under one authority. For the first time ‘Kings Justice’ was available to all – high or low born. He introduced trial by jury and built a professional Civil Service.
With his wife Eleanor D’Aquitaine, Henry Plantagenet held sway from England through to the Pyrenees in the South of France. Henry II often stayed at Woodstock with his mistress ‘The Fair Rosamund’ and during his time spent here granted parcels of land to build hostelries for the use of his men. A weekly market, on Tuesdays was also established and a three day fair at the feast of St. Matthew.
By the end of the Thirteenth century this ‘new town’ Woodstock had grown important enough to be taxed as a borough. The official date of this was May 24th 1453 according to the charter of Henry VI. The old manor stood until 1715, it had probably been subjected to considerable bombardment during The Civil War, and it was demolished by order of Sarah, the 1st Duchess of Marlborough
The Palace that stands today was built in 1715 by the architect Vanbrugh with the park landscaped by Capability Brown. With the building of the new palace came much new building in Woodstock itself and many of the old timber-framed buildings were given new fronts of coursed stone and reroofed using slate from nearby Stonesfield. Woodstock became renowned for two crafts, those of glove making and decorative steel work. Woodstock steel, said to be made from horseshoe nails, was cut to make jewellery and other decorative items.
The Town Hall, built in 1766 dominates Market Place. To the south is the Bear Hotel, world famous and dating back to the 13th century. Across Park Street, behind the Town Stocks, Fletcher’s House – a 16th century merchant’s house – is home to the Oxfordshire County Museum. Park Street – quiet and tree-lined – leads to Blenheim Park and to one of the most breathtaking views in England. In contrast, Market Street and High Street bustle with activity, as does Oxford Street, the main thoroughfare. Each is a pleasing mix of small shops, inns and private houses where car parking is convenient and free.
From pre-Conquest times closely associated with a royal manor and ducal palace, the town nevertheless developed its own character through glove making, bell foundry and manufacturing steel articles. A fine church, elegant houses and substantial inns are visual reminders of this market town’s prosperity.
Oxford – City of Dreaming Spires.
Approximately 14 miles (21 minutes drive) from Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa.
Famous the world over for its University and place in history. For over 800 years, it has been a home to royalty and scholars, and since the 9th century an established town, although people are known to have lived in the area for thousands of years.
Nowadays, the city is a bustling cosmopolitan town. Still with its ancient University, but home also to a growing hi-tech community. Many businesses are located in and around the town, whether on one of the Science and Business Parks or within one of a number of residential areas.
With its mix of ancient and modern, there is plenty to do. Whether its visiting one of the many historic buildings, colleges or museums, going out for a drink or a meal, taking in a show or shopping till you drop, Oxford has it all.
The Ashmolean Museum
Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
The Headington Shark
Modern Art Oxford
Museum of the History of Science
Oxford Botanic Garden
Pitt Rivers Museum
St. Mary The Virgin Church
Or try one of the many guided tours available.
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford – The world’s first university museum.
Approximately 14 miles (21 minutes drive) from Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa.
The works include those of Elias Ashmole, which he had collected himself as well as those he had acquired from the gardeners, travellers and collectors John Tradescant the elder and his son of the same name. The collection included antique coins, books, engravings, geological specimens, and zoological specimens – one of which was the stuffed body of the last Dodo ever seen in Europe, but by 1755 it was so moth-eaten it was destroyed, except for its head and one claw. The museum opened on 24 May 1683, with naturalist Robert Plot as the first keeper. The first building, which became known as the Old Ashmolean, is sometimes attributed to Sir Christopher Wren and Dr. R. T. Gunther.
After the various specimens had been moved into new museums, the “Old Ashmolean” building on Broad Street was used as office space for the Oxford English Dictionary staff. Since 1935, the building has been established as the Museum of the History of Science, with exhibitions including the scientific instruments given to Oxford University by Lewis Evans (1853–1930), amongst them the world’s largest collection of astrolabes.
The present building dates from 1845. It was designed by Charles Cockerell in a classical style. One wing of the building is occupied by the Taylor Institution, the modern languages faculty of the university. The main museum contains the original collections of Elias Ashmole and John Tradescant (father and son), as well as huge collections of archaeology specimens and fine art. It has one of the best collections of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, majolica pottery and English silver. The archaeology department includes the bequest of Arthur Evans and so has an excellent collection of Greek and Minoan pottery. The department also has an extensive collection of antiquities from Ancient Egypt and the Sudan, and the museum hosts the Griffith Institute for the advancement of Egyptology.
Silverstone – Home of the British Grand Prix.
Approximately 20 miles (35 minutes drive) from Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa.
For more than 60 years Silverstone has carved its mark as one of the leading motorsport venues, creating a powerful heritage around the world. Internationally renowned as the host of world class events, Silverstone is also famed for its exhilarating driving experiences.
Enjoy the sights and delights of the Capital.
Approximately 66 miles (90 minutes drive) from Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa.
The ancient City of London, or the ‘square mile’ financial district, largely retains its mediaeval boundaries to this day but is now a leading global city being one of the world’s largest financial centres and home to most of the UK’s top FTSE 100 companies.
London’s influence in politics, finance, education, entertainment, media, fashion, the arts and culture in general contributes to its global position as a major tourist destination for both domestic and overseas visitors.
The City has a diverse range of peoples, cultures and religions, and more than 300 languages are spoken within its boundaries. The Summer Olympics were hosted here in 1908 and 1948 and London will be the host again for the 2012 games.
Four of the World’s major Heritage sites can be visied on a trip to the City: the Tower of London; the historic settlement of Greenwich; the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and St. Margaret’s Church.
The London Underground network is the oldest and second most extensive underground railway network in the world after Shanghai whilst London Heathrow Airport is the world’s busiest airport (by international passengers) and the airspace is the busiest of any urban centre in the world.
Royal Albert Hall
St. Paul’s Cathedral
The Tate Modern
The Tower of London
The Palace of Westminster
Or try one of the many guided tours available.
Take to the skies with a hot air balloon trip.
Experience the awesome thrill and peaceful serenity of a hot air balloon flight over Oxford. There are a number of companies that fly from locations in and around Oxford and will certainly leave you with a lasting memory of the area.
Oxford is approximately 14 miles (21 minutes drive) from Bicester Hotel, Golf and Spa.
Aidan Meller Galleries, Oxford – For modern and contemporary art lovers.
Oxford is approximately 14 miles (21 minutes drive) from Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa.
The Meller Merceux Gallery on the High Street is a new Art Gallery show casing significant modern and contemporary artwork. From highlights such as Picasso and Warhol, to contemporary giants such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, the Gallery sets out to exhibit the best the artworld has to offer. We also have work from new and emerging artists to really put people in touch with what is going on in the artworld. The Gallery is the second Gallery to be set up in Oxfordshire, the first being in Witney.
Sulgrave Manor near Banbury – The ancestral home of the Washingtons in Britain.
Sulgrave Manor is approximately 22 miles (35 minutes drive) from Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa.
Sulgrave Manor offers visitors a gentle stroll through three centuries of English history in the company of a friendly and informative guide. The wonderful Tudor to Georgian furniture and artefacts are displayed in their natural settings with only the most delicate behind glass. It also holds the largest UK collection of George Washington memorabilia demonstrating the British contribution to the origins of the USA with a separate exhibition on George’s life and career in the US. Additional facilities include a buttery at which to refresh yourself with good fare, a shop from which to take away some souvenirs, picnic areas, a pleasant garden to stroll through and the National Garden of the Herb Society.
Oxford is approximately 23 miles (34 minutes drive) from Bicester Hotel, Golf and Spa.
Oxford Official Guided Walking Tours feature an extensive programme of themed tours to complement the ever-popular University and City Tour, offered morning and afternoon throughout the year. This tour is also offered in German, Spanish and French on specific dates in July and August to meet the needs of summer visitors.
New for 2012 are two exceptional walking tours: Oxford’s Olympic History and the Plaques of Oxford tours. The former highlights the City and University’s long sporting traditions and achievements. Several eminent rowers, athletes and household sporting names have honed their talents here, including Olympic gold medallists such as Stephanie Cook, David Hemmings, Jack Lovelock and Matthew Pinsent.
The many and varied plaques adorning buildings and monuments in Oxford are a delightful feature of the city. Each brief inscription hides a fascinating story. The Plaques of Oxford tour reveals the remarkable individuals commemorated by these monuments.
For people curious about Oxford’s more unusual aspects a programme of themed tours covers subjects ranging from Jewish Heritage to William Morris and from Gargoyles and Grotesques to Science in Oxford.
Always in great demand are the CS Lewis (2013 is the 50th anniversary of his death) and JRR Tolkien tour (both authors lived and wrote in Oxford) and When Alice Met Harry – exploring the worlds of wonder and wizardry of Harry Potter and the real Alice in Wonderland.
The Inspector Morse tour is offered at 1.30pm on Fridays and Mondays from March to September inclusive as well as on Saturdays throughout the year. The famous detective has inspired visitors from all over the globe to seek out his favourite pubs and scenes of crime.
Oxford Official Guided Walking Tours have recently been awarded accreditation under VisitEngland’s Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS). To gain accreditation an attraction is ‘road tested’ by a mystery assessor who looks at all aspects of the visitor experience, including the website, telephone and email as well as participating in one of the daily tours. The assessor noted that the tours offer the visitor an overall very good quality experience.
All these tours may be pre-booked for groups for whom guides fluent in other languages are available. The Walking Tours Programme may be downloaded free of charge from the Visit Oxfordshire website. Places on public tours may be booked online or by telephone.