A-frame cabins in Oxfordshire

Rolling hills, scenic valleys, and winding canals are top draws in this countryside county.

Popular camping styles for Oxfordshire

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A-frame cabins in Oxfordshire guide


Reaching into three of England’s Areas of Outstanding Beauty, Oxfordshire is a countryside lover’s paradise. Hills, rivers, valleys, and forests can be found across the region—from the Chiltern Hills to the Cotswolds—offering year-round adventure in varying shades. Ramblers can explore National Trails including the Thames Path and the Ridgeway, while boaters and bikers can discover the Oxford Canal and its adjoining cycle lanes. Glamping is an increasingly popular way to soak up the quintessential English countryside, though an abundance of private farms, riverside retreats, and secluded campgrounds offers plenty of options besides.

Where to go

Oxford Surrounds

Boasting Green Flag parks, botanic gardens, and nature reserves, there’s plenty for outdoor enthusiasts both inside and outside the Oxford Ring Road. Port Meadow is a popular spot for wildlife watching, while Shotover Country Park offers great views of the Oxford skyline from its bike-friendly trails and footpaths. A number of campsites and caravan spots can be found within a 30-minute drive of the city centre, while private farms offer plenty of countryside camping spots just outside the ring road.

The River Thames and Oxford Canal

There’s something special about camping by the water, and for a landlocked county, Oxfordshire manages to do waterside camping impressively well. First, there’s the River Thames and its tributaries, the largest of which is the River Cherwell. The adjacent Thames Path National Trail follows its route for 184 miles with a substantial section in Oxfordshire. While the river flows west to east, the much narrower, man-made Oxford Canal runs north to south across the county as a quiet waterway with plenty of wildlife and narrowboats. The banks of both the River Thames and the Oxford Canal are home to some great waterside campsites. If making your way along the Thames, either on the water or on foot beside it, you’ll find plenty of campsites within view of the river. Tent-only sites are great for hikers, bikers,and canoeists, while other riverside pitches welcome campervans and motorhomes.

The Cotswolds AONB

One of the largest protected landscapes in England, the Cotswolds offer outdoor adventure at every turn with its rolling hills and honey-hued village buildings. The rural haven can be reached in less than an hour from Oxford, and a range of secluded campgrounds, working farms, and luxury lodges provide plenty of accommodation options. Camping in The Cotswolds gives you the opportunity to explore its 790 square miles and 3,000 miles of footpaths and bridleways. Wychwood Wild Garden and Foxholes Nature Reserve are two popular spots for walkers and wildlife watchers, while the National Arboretum at Westonbirt is also worth a visit.

The Chilterns AONB

Rising up between London and Oxford, these chalk hills are home to an expansive network of cycleways, footpaths, and off-road tracks that pass ancient landmarks, hillforts, and villages deep in the English countryside. The Ridgeway, the UK’s oldest road, is among the most famous of these trails. And what the Chilterns lack in size they make up for in accessibility, easy to reach from London and Oxford as a great place for quick camping breaks. Glamping is increasingly popular in the area, though field campsites, working farms, and caravan parks offer basic options too. A thin sliver of the North Wessex AONB meets the Chilterns AONB in the county’s south-east corner too.

Top towns to visit in Oxfordshire

  • On the edge of the Chilterns, Henley-on-Thames is known as the home of the Henley Royal Regatta, which takes place over five days every summer. The town heaves during this quintessentially English event of blazers, boats, and boaters. If you visit out of season, you can still get a flavour for the event by standing on the town’s 18th-century stone bridge and visiting the River and Rowing Museum.
  • A charming market town on the banks of the Cherwell, Banbury may sound familiar thanks to the nursery rhyme: “Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross.” Don’t miss the bronze statue that commemorates this claim to fame! Banbury is also a convenient launch point for exploration of the Midlands to the north, the Cotswolds to the west, and wider Oxfordshire to the south. The region is a camping hot spot too, with a number of private sites offering all manner of amenities, including dog-friendly field camping, luxury yurts, and family-friendly caravan parks.
  • Half an hour’s drive south west of Oxford, historic Faringdon is a convenient gateway to the Uffington White Horse, and offers a range of unique camping options to boot. Here, you can camp on a Thames island in the grounds of Ye Olde Swan Pub, sleep in the lap of luxury at a farm campsite, or experience back-to-basics camping on riverside sites ideal for Thames Path ramblers and boaters.
  • Abingdon and Bicester are similarly attractive market towns while the medieval village of Burford on the edge of the Cotswolds has an old-world charm all of its own. If you’re looking for more things to do while camping in Oxfordshire, the county is also home to historic sites including the magnificent Blenheim Palace and the impressive Ashmolean Museum.

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