Banbury is a vibrant market town amidst the scenic villages of Oxfordshire. It’s always been a desirable place to live, but for many it was simply too far from the capital. Fortunately, that’s now changed with the development of a high-speed rail link to London Marylebone.
Improved access to the nearby M40 provides further advantages for the working professional, as does the presence of nearby business such as Jaguar Land Rover, Jacobs Douwe Egberts and Kraft.
In the town centre, historic sights blend with contemporary attractions and local businesses. It gives a sense of village community, while offering all the convenience of urban living. Castle Quay Shopping Centre boasts a selection of 70 shops and also houses the town’s museum. Developed with Banbury’s heritage in mind, this complex preserves the quaint character of the area, with cobbled streets and a weekly market at its centre.
Other attractions include a cinema, leisure centre and the many nearby villages. These promise a quintessentially English experience, complete with country pubs and thatched cottages.
Banbury now sits on London’s commuter belt thanks to the recently introduced faster train service. Rather than taking 80 minutes with several stops as it did in the past, London Marylebone is now accessible via a one-stop 55-minute journey. Other services link to the rest of the country, such as Birmingham at just over 50 minutes and Oxford at 20 minutes.
Situated close to the M40 motorway, Banbury offers a similar appeal for those travelling by car. It’s easily reached via a newly upgraded dual carriageway (A422) which links to north Banbury and the town centre. This provides convenience for travel to the capital, as well as Birmingham and major hubs across the UK.
First-rate schools are located throughout Banbury and its surrounding villages. Options are extensive for primary schools with 30 in the area, including the renowned Great Tew Primary School, which was deemed ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
At secondary level, Chenderit School in Middleton Cheney has also been awarded ‘outstanding’ status, while The Warriner School in Bloxham is home to a 120-acre farm.
Private boarding facilities are available at Tudor Hall School – catering to girls – and Bloxham School for children aged 11 to 18. The nearby Banbury and Bicester College offers a range of further education courses, along with apprenticeships and international studies.
Although an excavation in 2002 uncovered remains of a settlement dating back to the Iron Age, it wasn’t until the 14th century that Banbury gained prominence as a trading hub. During this time, weekly markets attracted visitors from surrounding Oxfordshire and a wool industry flourished.
Despite the damage suffered during the Civil War and the devastating fire of 1628, the town proved resilient, with ongoing improvements to infrastructure. During the Victorian period, gas-powered lighting was installed and both the Horton Infirmary and railway station were opened.
Today Banbury is best-known for its namesake cake and the nursery rhyme “Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross”. The latter is commemorated in the town with a statue depicting a “Fyne lade upon a White Horse”, while the fruity Banbury cake is still served at the many cafes.
It may have developed into a modern town with 21st century luxuries, but Banbury still retains the old-world charm of its market town past.
Places of Interest
Widely known for its historic sights, Banbury is also home to modern luxuries as well as family-friendly attractions. Some of the highlights for both visitors and residents include:
Castle Quay Shopping Centre
MFA Bowling Alley
The Retreat at Mayfield House
Rye Hill Golf Club
Spiceball Leisure Centre
How to get here
By road: Banbury can be reached from Junction 11 of the M40, taking the A422/A361 exit and following signposts for the town.
By rail: Banbury station operates direct services to London and all major cities across England and Scotland.
A four bedroom Horton Stone Cottage situated in the Oxfordshire village, Drayton.
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