Local information - history
The town of Banbury is most famously mentioned in the English nursery rhyme ‘Ride a cockhorse to Banbury Cross’, but some may also recognise the name from the Banbury Cake, made in the town to a secret recipe since 1586. Banbury has something for everyone and is a real mix of both traditional and historical, with hostelries such as Ye Olde Reinedeer dating from 1560. You can find a wide choice of retail outlets at Banbury Gateway Shopping Park just off the M40 motorway at junction 11 and at Castle Quay Shopping Centre including big name high street brands and specialist independent stores. Running alongside Castle Quay is the Oxford Canal considered to be one of the most scenic in Britain and very popular with pleasure boaters. For the active, the town has rugby, canoeing, sailing, golf and cricket clubs as well as a choice of health clubs and is the home of Banbury United Football Club.
Places to visit
The Cotswolds lie to the south-west of Banbury with villages and hamlets such as Edgehill where the Castle Inn which dates from 1740 offers fabulous views and sunsets from its elevated position, Whichford with its pottery and ancient sites including the Rollright Stones. Soho Farmhouse is located at Great Tew. This exclusive members’ club and hotel offers extensive facilities set in 100 acres of Oxfordshire countryside. Daylesford Organic is located close to Kingham and has a farm shop, café and spa. Attractive market towns in the area include Chipping Norton which has a popular intimate theatre and an annual literary festival, ‘ChipLitFest’. To the north is the border with South Northamptonshire and its undulating countryside, traditional unspoilt villages and hamlets, the market town of Towcester which offers a racecourse, and of course Silverstone, home of the UK Grand Prix. About 30 miles north-west of Banbury is Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace and home of the Royal Shakespeare Company on the banks of the River Avon. Birmingham lies another 30 miles north-west giving easy access to exhibition and concert halls such as the National Exhibition Centre and the Symphony Hall. Go 30 miles south of Banbury along the M40 motorway and you will reach Oxford with its wonderful architecture including Radcliffe Camera, the Bridge of Sighs as well as universities, museums, galleries, botanical gardens, the covered market and recently opened Westgate Shopping Centre.
Banbury has excellent communication routes. The Banbury to London Marylebone rail line has recently been upgraded now offering non-stop mainline trains from about 50 minutes. Junction 11 of the M40 motorway lies conveniently on the outskirts of the town and gives access to international airports at Birmingham and London Heathrow.
Local schools and colleges
There is a great choice of state and private schools in the area which makes it attractive to families. There are popular state primary schools at Shenington, Kingham, Great Tew and Culworth. Leading independent schools include Winchester House at Brackley, Bloxham School, Sibford School, Bilton Grange at Dunchurch and the public schools at Stowe, Warwick and Rugby. It is well located for state and private schools including St John’s Priory School, The Carrdus at Overthorpe, Bloxham School and Tudor Hall School. Leading secondary schools include King Edward VI School and Stratford Girls Grammar at Stratford-upon-Avon, The Warriner School (Bloxham), Chenderit at Middleton Cheney and the Royal Latin Grammar at Buckingham.