With so many great things to do in Witney, this historic market town is a must-visit place on the River Windrush in Oxfordshire. Ready to explore Witney this weekend?
South of England is well-known for its quaint little towns and beautifully unique locations, and Witney is a prime example.
Situated on the edge of the Cotswolds AONB, Witney offers amazing scenery, traditional British pubs and many independent shops.
If you are looking for things to do in Oxfordshire this weekend, this market town has to be on your list!
So, what to do in Witney, Oxfordshire? Read our post to find out the main places you should see when to visit this beautiful town!
Where is Witney?
Witney sits 12 miles to the west of Oxford, on the River Windrush. The historic market town in Oxfordshire got its name from the Old English’ Witta’s island’. Witney is the largest of the Cotswolds market towns in Oxfordshire and boasts a rich history.
London is just over 60 miles to the east of Witney, and the town of Carterton can be found 5 miles to the west. It is part of the OX28 postcode district and falls under the west Oxfordshire council.
The postcode for Witney is OX28.
How to get to Witney from London?
Witney is a great spot for a day trip from London and can easily be reached by train, car, or bus. The town no longer has its own railway station, as the historic one was closed down in 1965. If travelling by public transport, the best route is to take the train from London to Oxford, and then catch the S1 or S2 bus to Witney.
You can drive from London to Witney via the M40, and the journey takes about an hour and a half.
What was Witney famous for?
Witney is famed for producing woollen blankets, and this tradition dates back to the Middle Ages. The blankets were produced using water from the River Windrush, and many people believed this was the secret ingredient behind their quality.
At one point, the town had five blanket factories operating, and The Blanket Hall was built specifically for weighing and measuring the blankets in 1721. Production of woollen blankets in Witney ceased completely in 2002 when the largest manufacturer, Early’s, closed its doors.
Accommodation in Witney
Witney is a historic market town in Oxfordshire, and there are several options for accommodation in and around the town. Here are a few popular choices:
- The Blue Boar: The Blue Boar is a historic coaching inn located in the town center, offering a range of comfortable and stylish rooms. It also has a restaurant and bar, serving a menu of classic British dishes and local beers.
- Eynsham Hall: Eynsham Hall is a grand country house hotel located just outside of Witney, set in 3,000 acres of beautiful parkland. It offers a range of rooms and suites, as well as a restaurant and bar, spa, and outdoor activities.
- The Witney Hotel: The Witney Hotel is a boutique hotel located in the town center, offering a range of modern and stylish rooms. It also has a bar and restaurant, serving a menu of international cuisine and local beers.
- The Old Court Hotel: The Old Court Hotel is a historic hotel located just outside of Witney, set in a beautiful 16th-century building. It offers a range of rooms and suites, as well as a restaurant and bar, serving a menu of British and international dishes.
- Premier Inn Witney: The Premier Inn Witney is a budget-friendly hotel located on the outskirts of the town, offering a range of comfortable rooms at an affordable price.
These are just a few options, and there are many more to choose from depending on your preferences and budget.
Things to do in Witney:
1. Cogges Manor Farm
Must see places in Witney town? Cogges Manor Farm can be found on Church Lane in Witney and is well worth a visit. The unique farm dates back more than 1,000 years, and it appeared in the Domesday Book in 1086. Today, Cogges Manor Farm is a popular tourist attraction as well as still being a working farm and venue for local events.
Various TV shows and movies have been filmed at Cogges Manor Farm, including Colette starring Keira Knightley and period dramas such as Arthur & George and Downton Abbey.
2. The Cogges Kitchen
Things to do Witney? The Cogges Kitchen is part of Cogges Manor Farm and a popular spot for lunch, breakfast, or a catch up over coffee. The café is housed in the old milking parlour at the farm and serves food produced from the farm and grown in the Cogges walled garden. If you are a fan of sweet treats, then be sure to try some locally made pastries and cakes by the Cogges Cake Company.
In the summer, you can dine outside at Cogges Kitchen, or when it’s cold, you can warm up with a glass of wine or a craft beer from local breweries.
What to see in the town of Witney? The Holloway Almshouses in Witney are a historic grade II listed building dating back to 1724. They were first built to house six aged, unmarried women by John Holloway who was a local clothier. In 1868 the buildings were rebuilt by Willian Wilkinson. You can find these historic Almshouses on Station Road.
As well as the Holloway Almshouses, Witney also has two other sets of Almshouses in the town. There is the Townsend Almshouses on the north side of Newland and the Church Green Almshouses.
4. St Mary’s Church
Top Witney sightseeing? St Mary’s Church in Witney can be found on Church Green and dates back to the 12th century. A lot of the church’s interior was rebuilt during the late medieval times and is certainly worth seeing if you are in the area. St Mary’s Church is particularly large in size and is a nod to the wealth of the Witney area during the medieval period.
A church has stood on the site since the 10th century, but it is thought this was demolished and rebuilt over the years.
5. Church Green
Looking for places to visit in Witney? Church Green in Witney is a gorgeous little street with plenty of historic, listed buildings and beautiful greenery to enjoy. On a trip to Witney, make sure you take a stroll down Church Green to enjoy everything the market town is about. On Church Green, you will find St. Mary’s Church as well as some of the historic Almshouses you can find across Witney.
On sunny days, locals and tourists flock to the green for picnics, sunbathing, and just enjoying the gorgeous surroundings.
6. Witney and District Museum
Things to do in Witney Oxfordshire? Witney and District Museum has been open on Witney High Street since 1996 and is run solely by independent volunteers from the local area. Located in Gloucester Court Mews, the museum is spread across two floors and explores the colourful history of the town.
On the ground floor, you can discover Witney’s past, while upstairs, you will find the Bartlett-Taylor Gallery. Here, various temporary exhibitions and seasonal programmes take place throughout the year. Entry to Witney and District Museum is £2 per adult and free for children.
7. Witney Butter Cross
What to see in Witney town? At the junction of Corn Street and High Street, you will find the Butter Cross. It was once a simple market cross, although some traditions suggest that it could have been the spot of a shrine, a statue of the Virgin Mary, or an ancient preaching cross.
In the centre is a stone pillar that dates back further than the 12 pillars surrounding it, and it is thought this pillar is part of the original market cross. The name Butter Cross dates back to 1606 when Richard Ashcombe paid £50 for the house to be built over the cross, and it was then used to sell perishable goods like butter.
8. Ye Olde Cross Keys
Where to go in Witney? On the Market Square in Witney is the Ye Olde Cross Keys pub. The building dates back to the 17th century and houses a traditional British pub with English favourites. Ye Olde Cross Keys was originally home to Brakspear, who brewed beer there from 1769 to 1779. It was then that he moved to his Uncle’s Henley brewery.
The pub has changed hands over the years and today is part of the Greene King chain, serving traditional pub food and drinks.
9. Witney War Memorial
What to see in Witney UK? Witney War Memorial stands tall on Church Green, and it commemorates the residents in Witney that went missing or were killed during both World War I and World War II. There are 147 names from the First World War and 32 from the Second World War.
Witney War Memorial is within a beautiful garden area and surrounded by limestone plinths. The memorial was unveiled in 1920 by the local clergy, and it was designed by Thomas Rayson and erected by Axtell and Sons.
10. Witney High Street
Witney things to do? Witney High Street is in the centre of Witney, which boasts a unique range of major chain stores and local, independent boutiques. The historic High Street is a great place for an afternoon of shopping, and you can stop off for a drink or bite to eat in one of the pubs or restaurants in the area.
Witney High Street runs down into the Market Square, where the shops, cafes, and restaurants continue.
11. The Henry Box School
Must see in Witney UK? On Church Green in Witney, you will come across The Henry Box School, which teaches roughly 1,400 students aged 11 to 18. It dates back to 1660 when the site was bought by a grocer called Henry Box. Henry wanted to provide a school for his home town of Witney after finding success as a businessman in London.
The original schoolhouse is still standing today and is a Grade II listed building. Henry Box School was a Grammar School from 1660 up until it was converted to a state school in 1968.
12. Witney town centre
Whats on Witney Oxfordshire? Witney town centre is a bustling hub of shops, cafes, and pubs. It is a delightful place to spend the day, where you can see the historic sights and enjoy some retail therapy. Witney town centre has become the main retail hub for the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, and there are various independent stores as well as big-name brands.
In the centre, you will find The Woolgate Centre, a shopping centre with favourites such as Waterstones, Next, and Waitrose.
13. Witney Blanket Hall
Where to visit Witney in Oxfordshire? Witney Blanket Hall has stood in pride of place on the high street since 1721. It was built by the Company of Blanket Makers, and for more than 120 years, every single blanket that was created in the town was measured and weighed in the blanket hall. Upstairs is the Great Room, which is where the famed blanket company set out the rules for trade.
In 1845 The Blanket Hall became redundant as the New Mills put in place their own rules for measuring.
14. Market Square
Where to go in Witney Oxfordshire? Witney Market Square is home to a twice-weekly market as well as a lively calendar of events. Visitors and locals in Witney love visiting the Market Square thanks to the charming independent traders and high-quality stores. There is a farmers market which takes place on the 4th Friday of every month, and the Witney Market Square is the largest of its kind in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds.
On Thursdays and Saturdays, you will find everything from bespoke gifts to delicious street food.
15. Beekeepers Witney
What is there to do in Witney? Located on Witney Market Square is Beekeepers Witney, a local pub that is much-loved by residents and visitors to the area. It has the largest beer garden in the town, making it a popular choice in the summer.
On a visit to Beekeepers, you can expect traditional pub food at reasonable prices and a good selection of wine, beer, ale, and spirits. Beekeepers Witney underwent a refurbishment back in 2019 and now is an excellent place for dining, drinking, and watching live sporting events.
Witney town history
Witney is a market town located in the county of Oxfordshire, England. The town has a rich history dating back to the Anglo-Saxon era. Here are some key moments in the history of Witney:
- Anglo-Saxon era: Witney was originally a small settlement in the kingdom of Wessex, which was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom that existed from the 6th century to the 11th century.
- Medieval era: During the medieval period, Witney grew in importance as a market town, and the town’s wool trade began to flourish. The town became known for its high-quality blankets, which were made from locally sourced wool.
- Industrial revolution: In the 18th century, Witney experienced significant growth due to the industrial revolution. The town’s wool trade expanded, and many new industries were established, including glove making, leather tanning, and brewing.
- World War II: During World War II, Witney played an important role in the war effort. The town’s factories produced clothing and equipment for the British military, and Witney was also home to an RAF airfield.
- Post-war era: In the years following World War II, Witney underwent significant development. New housing estates were built to accommodate the growing population, and new industries were established, including engineering, printing, and electronics.
Today, Witney is a bustling market town with a rich history and a vibrant local community. The town has many historic buildings, including the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, which dates back to the 12th century, and the Buttercross, which is a historic market cross that dates back to the 16th century.
Witney tourist information
Witney is a charming market town located in the county of Oxfordshire, England. Here are some popular tourist attractions in and around Witney:
- Cogges Manor Farm: Cogges is a historic farmstead that dates back to the 13th century. The farm has been beautifully preserved and offers visitors a chance to learn about traditional farming practices, see rare breed animals, and explore the historic buildings on the site.
- Wychwood Brewery: Wychwood Brewery is a local brewery that produces a range of delicious beers, including the famous Hobgoblin ale. Visitors can take a tour of the brewery, sample the beers, and learn about the brewing process.
- Witney Museum and Historical Society: The Witney Museum is located in the town’s historic Buttercross building and offers a fascinating glimpse into the town’s history. The museum features exhibits on the town’s wool trade, the Civil War, and the impact of World War II on the town.
- Witney Lake and Meadows: The Witney Lake and Meadows are a beautiful natural area that offers scenic walking and cycling routes, as well as opportunities for birdwatching and fishing.
- Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens: The Cotswold Wildlife Park is located just a short drive from Witney and is home to a wide variety of animals, including lions, tigers, zebras, and giraffes. The park also features beautiful gardens and a children’s play area.
Overall, Witney is a lovely destination for anyone interested in history, nature, or delicious local beer.
Witney is a charming market town with a wide variety of shops and boutiques, offering everything from unique gifts and souvenirs to high street fashion and local produce. Here are a few popular shopping destinations in Witney:
- Woolgate Shopping Centre: Woolgate is a modern shopping center located in the heart of Witney. The center features a range of high street retailers, including Next, New Look, and H&M, as well as a selection of cafes and restaurants.
- The Woolmarket: The Woolmarket is a historic shopping arcade located in the town center. The arcade features a mix of independent shops and boutiques, including a florist, a bookstore, a gift shop, and a traditional sweet shop.
- Cogges Farm Market: Cogges is a historic farmstead located on the outskirts of Witney, and the farm hosts a regular market that showcases a range of local produce, including fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy products. The market also features handmade crafts and gifts from local artisans.
- Market Square: Witney’s historic Market Square is home to a regular outdoor market, which takes place every Thursday and Saturday. The market features a range of stalls selling everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts and souvenirs.
- The Leys: The Leys is a shopping district located on the eastern edge of Witney. The area features a range of retailers, including Tesco, Aldi, and B&M, as well as a selection of cafes and restaurants.
Overall, Witney offers visitors a great shopping experience, with a mix of traditional and modern shops and boutiques that cater to a variety of tastes and interests.
Pubs in Witney
Witney has a number of charming pubs and bars where visitors can enjoy a pint of beer, a glass of wine, or a tasty meal. Here are a few popular options:
- The Eagle Tavern: The Eagle Tavern is a traditional pub located in the heart of Witney. The pub features a cozy interior with open fires and a charming beer garden. The menu includes classic pub fare such as fish and chips, burgers, and pies, as well as a range of local beers and ciders.
- The Fleece: The Fleece is a historic pub located in the town center. The pub has been beautifully restored and features a mix of traditional and modern decor. The menu includes a range of delicious British dishes, as well as a great selection of real ales and craft beers.
- The Blue Boar: The Blue Boar is a family-friendly pub located in the town center. The pub features a spacious outdoor seating area, as well as a cozy interior with a mix of traditional and modern decor. The menu includes a range of classic pub dishes, as well as a children’s menu and a selection of local beers and ciders.
- The Plough Inn: The Plough Inn is a charming village pub located just outside of Witney in the village of Finstock. The pub features a lovely beer garden, as well as a cozy interior with a mix of traditional and modern decor. The menu includes a range of British dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, as well as a selection of real ales and wines.
Overall, Witney has a great selection of pubs and bars that offer visitors a chance to experience traditional British hospitality and enjoy some great food and drink.
Witney coffee shops
Witney has a great selection of coffee shops, cafes, and tea rooms where visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee, a sweet treat, or a light meal. Here are a few popular options:
- Coffee#1: Coffee#1 is a popular chain of coffee shops that serves a range of high-quality coffees, teas, and hot chocolates, as well as a selection of freshly baked pastries and cakes. The Witney branch of Coffee#1 is located on the High Street and offers a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
- Huffkins: Huffkins is a charming tea room that has been serving high-quality teas, cakes, and light meals for over a century. The Witney branch of Huffkins is located in the Woolgate Shopping Centre and features a cozy interior with a traditional English feel.
- The Coffee Shed: The Coffee Shed is a cozy and welcoming coffee shop located just outside of Witney in the village of Standlake. The shop offers a range of fair-trade coffees and teas, as well as a selection of homemade cakes and light bites.
- The Coffee Gallery: The Coffee Gallery is a lovely independent coffee shop located in the town center. The shop offers a range of delicious coffees, teas, and hot chocolates, as well as a selection of homemade cakes and sandwiches. The interior features artwork and photography from local artists.
- Ue Coffee Roasters: Ue Coffee Roasters is a local coffee roastery that also operates a coffee shop and barista school. The shop offers a range of specialty coffees, teas, and pastries, as well as the opportunity to learn about coffee brewing and roasting techniques.
Witney has a great selection of coffee shops and tea rooms that offer visitors a chance to relax and enjoy some great coffee and food in a cozy and welcoming environment.
Places to visit near Witney:
- Burford: 8 miles away from Witney
- Faringdon: 12 miles away from Witney
- Chipping Norton: 14 miles away from Witney
- Bibury: 17 miles away from Witney
- Stow-on-the-Wold: 18 miles away from Witney
- Wantage: 19 miles away from Witney
- Dorchester-on-Thames: 21 miles away from Witney
- Wallingford: 25 miles away from Witney
- Watlington: 27 miles away from Witney
- Goring on Thames: 31 miles away from Witney
- Turville: 32 miles away from Witney
- West Wycombe: 34 miles away from Witney
- Henley-on-Thames: 35 miles away from Witney
- Hambleden: 36 miles away from Witney
- Marlow: 39 miles away from Witney
- Sonning on Thames: 50 miles away from Witney
Is Witney worth visiting?
Witney is certainly worth a visit, either as a day trip from London or Oxford or for a UK weekend getaway to the Cotswolds countryside. Despite growing rapidly over the last 50 years and being the largest town in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, Witney still has that charming, bustling market town vibe.
There is plenty to see and do on a visit to Witney, and it is clear to see why residents love the area so much.
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