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Bicester
Written by Chandru on July 16, 2020 Share on

Things to do in Bicester in 2021 which surely shouldn’t be missed!

A few short miles north of Oxford, you will be able to find Bicester. Bicester is a market town with a delightful centre. People have been trading in the centre of the town for almost 800 years. But nowadays, you will see Bicester associated with a more particular kind of business. On the edge of town, Bicester Village is a designer outlet mall that receives a mind-boggling amount of tourists. You will find the tourists mostly from outside Europe. After learning a high-end bargain or two, you should make a detour to the town centre. You will see the place furnished with monuments going back 500 years. You can also use Bicester as a platform for days out to some of England’s richest country houses. Below are the 10 things to do in Bicester!

Also read: Top things to do in Guildford – The English Countryside near London

Top 10 things to do in Bicester

Let us explore the best 10 things to do in Bicester:

  1. Historic Town Trail
  2. Market Square
  3. Garth Park
  4. Bicester Village
  5. St Edburg’s Church
  6. Blenheim Palace
  7. Island Pond Wood
  8. Waddesdon Manor
  9. Rousham House
  10. Boarstall Tower

1. Historic Town Trail

The best way to familiarise yourself with Bicester’s town centre is to download the Historic Town Trail drawn up by the Bicester Local Historical Society. This 18-stop walk leads you to lots of little points of interest. You will see Bicester’s oldest house, a vicarage from 1500, 16th-century farmhouse and many more. End with a coffee on the pedestrianised Sheep Street which has been exclusively pedestrianised. This place became the overspill cattle market when the main Market Square became too crowded in the 18th century.

2. Market Square

Bicester’s financial heart and the site of a market since 1239. The Market Square is more of a triangle than a square! You will see a row of island buildings stranded in the square on the west side which makes the market square so attractive. You will be able to see these 16th and 17th-century properties built by wealthy residents. Furthermore, each one has its own character from 44 to 47. Most notable is the 17th-century Baroque house with a quoined tower. The 800-year market tradition is kept up on Fridays where there is a bit more crowded on the Market Square. While every second Thursday of the month you can window-shop the best local produce at the Farmers’ Market.

Also read: Shop non-stop! Top places to shop in the UK

Market Square
Credits – Wikimedia

3. Garth Park

This award-winning town park was private land until the last landowner passed away in 1946. After that, the local council purchased the park. Garth House here is an old hunting inn, built-in 1840s and now houses Bicester Town Council. The park meanwhile has fastidiously managed formal gardens, a bandstand for Sunday concerts in summer, a children’s playground and a cafe in a new pavilion. You should stop at the entrance to get a closer glance at the park’s fine wrought iron gates. Here you will also see a bell cast in the old Bicester Foundry in 1732. This used to be the call bell at the Town Hall and Shambles until they were brought down in 1826.

Garth Park
Credits – Google Images

4. Bicester Village

It may sound strange, but the second most visited place by Chinese tourists in the UK is Bicester Village. This place is so popular with people from China that announcements at Bicester Village train station are given in Mandarin. All non-Europe visitors can shop tax-free and so get extra discounts on top of the reductions already in place. Around 6.6 million people came here in 2017, a similar total to the British Museum. This village is set on a long single track designed to look like a Scandinavian town centre. The way is lined by top designer brands like Gucci, Boss, Prada, Tommy Hilfiger and many more.

Bicester Village
Credits – Google Images

5. St Edburg’s Church

In Bicester’s ancient centre, St Edburg’s Church started out as a Saxon minster and dedicated to the local 7th-century saint, Eadburh of Bicester. You can see this surviving building built by the Normans in the early 12th century and extended over the next 300 years. The medieval stonework can be seen in the crossing, in the form of a circle. Eagle-eyed visitors will identify a subtle difference between the arches on the south and north sides of the centre. There are numerous monuments important to local people, like the Cokers, the Page-Turners and more.

St Edburg's Church
Credits – Wikimedia

6. Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the edge of the Cotswolds. This Ornate house is hailed as an archetype for English stately architecture in the 18th century. The Dukes of Marlborough resided in the palace. They gifted to the first duke by Queen Anne for the crucial victory at the Battle of Blenheim (1704) in the War of the Spanish Succession.

Blenheim Palace
Credits – Pixabay

Also read: Facts to inspire your trip to the Buckingham Palace

7. Island Pond Wood

Without roaming far from Bicester, you can go on a walk-in nature at this Woodland Trust reserve on Bicester’s eastern fringe. In low-lying wet area, Island Pond Wood looks like a new space, having been planted in 1999 with species comfortable with regular flooding. The wood has alders, willows, ash trees and black poplars. While there is also a pond that is used by natives for fishing.

8. Waddesdon Manor

Around halfway between Bicester and Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, you will see Waddesdon Manor. At Waddesdon Manor, Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild made himself a piece of the Loire Valley, with a Château that calls to mind Chambord or Chenonceau. Work remained from 1874 to 1889, and the last Rothschild to live here was James de Rothschild.

9. Rousham House

If you have ever visited Horse Guards in London or Hampton Court Palace, you will have come by the work of the 18th-century architect, William Kent. Rousham House was renovated by Kent in an early Gothic Revival style in the 1730s. This is exceptional because it has changed very little since then. You can visit this house by appointment. While the formal gardens are open daily and are also mostly unchanged since they were laid out around 300 years ago.

Also read:

10. Boarstall Tower

On Wednesdays, you can visit this National Trust site on the grounds of a former manor house. Boarstall Tower has slightly a sad story to tell. Built-in the 14th century, the estate was taken by the Aubrey family after the English Civil War. The house was evacuated and destroyed after Sir John Aubrey’s six-year-old son died suddenly in 1777. All that remained was the magnificent 14th-century gatehouse, which lay vacant for decades before being turned into a home in the early 1900s.

Also read: Tower Bridge – London’s Redefining Mark as its Landmark

Mesmerized? Yes, we know. Do not miss adding these best places to visit in Bicester to your itinerary! All these, and more, you can do on your long-awaited London trip. So, book your United Kingdom package with Pickyourtrail now! Also, Check out our guides page leave a Whatsapp inquiry for more options!

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