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Things To Do This May Half Term In Oxford & The Cotswolds

With its picturesque architecture and rich culture, Oxford is a city full of traditions, history, and beauty. Its neighbour, The Cotswolds, has plenty of rolling hills, lush green countryside, and honey-stone villages all on offer too, making both places perfect for a May half-term break. 

Nature lovers can take a stroll along the Cotswolds Way, The Oxfordshire Canal, or across the beautiful Port Meadow. Outdoor enthusiasts will love cycling along country trails, rowing down the River Thames, and abseiling down limestone cliffs. And food lovers are in for a treat with countless restaurants, cafes, bars, and markets to tantalise your tastebuds. 

Here’s our guide to the top things to do in May half-term in Oxford and The Cotswolds. They’ll leave you with memories to last a lifetime and experiences you can’t find anywhere else. 

1. Discover Oxford Castle and Prison

Oxford castle and prison on a stormy day.

Oxford Castle and Prisons is an absolute must for anyone visiting Oxford this May half term. Step back in time as you tour this historical site. Explore over 1000 years of history and hear fascinating stories about medieval sieges, infamous trials, and famous inmates. Discover how crime and punishment have changed over the centuries and enjoy spectacular views from the top of St George’s Tower. 

Throughout the holidays, there are various events for you and your family to attend and participate in. From solving murder mysteries and performing arts to bees and knight school, there’s something here for everyone. 

2. Explore Blenheim Palace

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace is well worth the visit throughout the year. However, if you’re visiting Oxford this May Half Term why not make sure this is on your list? Tickets start from £11.50 and they always put on a special event throughout the school holidays. Discover a wealth of history surrounding the house and gardens, walk in the footsteps of Winston Churchill, marvel at the stunningly manicured lawns and participate in a range of fun activities. 

3. Cotswolds Wildlife Park

Rhinos at the cotswold wildlife park eating grass in front of the gothic manor house

Home to a diverse range of exotic and endangered animals, Cotswold Wildlife Park is a fantastic thing to do this May half term in Oxford and the Cotswolds. Learn all about their big cats, primates, penguins, rhinos and reptiles. You’ll have the chance to walk around the park and get eye-to-eye with Giraffes, walk with lemurs, and even be mesmerised by the rhinos munching on the lawns of the gothic manor house. 

Arrive early and spend the day discovering the tropical gardens and finding your favourite animals. Don’t forget to catch the penguin or lemur talks and feeds where the keepers can answer all your burning questions. Day tickets are free for children under 2, £12.00 for children aged 3 to 16, and £17.50 for adults. If you opt for e-tickets there is a slight discount.

4. Cotswold Farm Park

Located in Cheltenham, the Cotswold Farm Park is another educational and fun thing to do this May half-term in Oxford and the Cotswolds. The farm is owned by Countryfile Presenter Adam Henson and gives you and your family an incredible insight into life on the farm. With over 50 breeds of animals including rare breeds such as the Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs, Cotswold sheep, and Highland cattle. 

The farm offers visitors a range of activities from animal feeding and petting sessions to tractor rides and nature trails. Take your children into the adventure barn and watch them burn off some energy with their soft play area, sandpit, and ride-on toys. 

5. Oxford Botanic Gardens & Arboretum

Oxford botanic gardens

Located in the heart of Oxford, covering an area of 130 acres, Oxford Botanic Gardens & Arboretum is a fantastic thing to do in May half term in Oxford. The gardens feature a wide range of plants, trees, and flowers from around the world. Book yourself onto a guided tour and learn all about the rare and endangered species present in the gardens and Arboretum.

The Arboretum and Gardens also host a variety of events throughout the school holidays from family trails to workshops, pond dipping, bird watching, and wildlife tracking. 

6. River and Canal Cruises

River and Canal Cruises are a great way to explore Oxford and The Cotswolds in May half term. They allow you and your loved ones to see things from a new perspective. Discover narrow boat tours down the River Thames, with Oxfordshire Narrowboats. Explore the River Avon and River Severn with Avon Boating LTD. Participate in some punting with Cherwell Boathouse. The possibilities are endless and they will create a mountain of fun for the whole family.

7. Visit a Farmer’s Market in The Cotswolds

Every town in the Cotswolds has its own market that usually takes place once a week. Farmer’s markets on the other hand are a little more special and tend to happen only once or twice a month. You’ll find a range of local produce including cheeses, meats, and handmade condiments, as well as artisan bread, handmade crafts, and so much more.

These are our top 3 choices for farmers’ markets in the Cotswolds:

There’s still time to book your accommodation for May Half Term.

We have plenty of properties to suit your every need. Whether you’re looking for a historic townhouse in Oxford or a traditional Cotswold stone property in Chipping Campden, you’ll find it all with us at Short Let Space. Our properties are designed with you in mind. They’ll offer you that home away from home feeling where you can rest your tired feet after a busy day exploring. 

Call us today on 01993 222200 or email stay@shortletspace.co.uk and we’ll help you find the perfect property. 

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