Enjoy exploring the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside the next time you’re in England.
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If you grew up reading books by Enid Blyton, CS Lewis or JK Rowling, the world you imagined as you read their stories would invariably look a lot like the places in Oxfordshire. That quintessential English architecture, weather and nature combine to provide a dreamlike landscape and experience; granite and greenery come together to enchant you with classic English charm.
A jewel in the proud country’s crown, Oxfordshire is a county in the south of England attracting millions of visitors each year. It is popular for its historical value, featuring places such as Oxford University and the Blenheim Palace, which have provided the inspiration and setting for many pop culture classics including books such as The Great Gatsby and His Dark Materials, and movies like The Avengers, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and James Bond film, Spectre. Its landscape is a natural attraction - gardens line the River Thames all the way to London, complemented by parks and museums. Finally, once you’re done with the above, you can shop to your heart’s content at its market towns and shopping areas.
The home of Oxford University, the city of Oxford is often synonymous with elite and premier education. The oldest university in the English-speaking world, the academic institution is over 900 years old, and is the centrepiece of this city. Surrounding it are other historic locations such as the Bodleian Library (one of the oldest libraries in Europe), Ashmolean Museum (the world’s first university-museum), and Oxford Castle and Prison, making the city the perfect destination for history buffs. The city is also home to a thriving arts scene at the Oxford Playhouse and the Old Fire Station, where you can catch art performances including theatre shows, dance shows and even interesting events for kids such as sing- alongs to Dial M For Murder.
The journey to the Costwolds is about 45-minute drive from Oxford. The Cotswolds was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 for its beautiful grassland habitat and structures constructed from the golden-coloured Costwold stone. It is the home to many charming towns and villages, as well as the Costwold Wildlife Park and Gardens that features 260 different animals. Castle Combe is a famous and picturesque village filled with houses made with the Costwold stone, while the nearby Whitney is a thriving market town for natural produce. Burford is another nearby town filled with antique shops and classic English restaurants, and also hosts the popular Crocodiles of the World, the only crocodile zoo in the United Kingdom.
Not too far away is Woodstock, best known for the Blenheim Palace. Often regarded as England’s most beautiful palace by locals, it features Blenheim Palace Gardens, one of the oldest botanic gardens in the UK. However, its biggest charm is undoubtedly its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Sir Winston Churchill’s birthplace.
A 20-minute’s drive away from Oxford and 40 minutes from the Cotswolds, Bicester Village in the town of Bicester is a luxury destination that is home to more than 160 boutiques of world-famous designer brands including Armani, Bally, Celine, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Oscar de la Renta, and more. It is also the home of UK historic motoring, with the nationally acclaimed Bicester Heritage Motor Museum. Its laid-back Sunday Scramble is a relaxed open day event for informal motoring, focusing on historic and heritage vehicles.
Oxfordshire is truly an English experience. With skylines pierced with spires and domes, palace estates and idyllic meadows, its dreamlike quality has enchanted many hearts - be it from the pages of words it has brought to life or the screens that it has filled. Its historic splendour takes your breath away at every visit, and its enduring charm and attraction is proof of its immortal beauty.
Both Malaysia Airlines and British Airways offer flights to Heathrow Airport, London from KL International Airport (KLIA). The journey, by car, from the airport to Oxford is only about an hour. It’s time to start planning for an unforgettable countryside adventure with your loved ones.