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Exploring Oxfordshire's History and Activities for Kids

April 4, 2023

As a parent, you want your children to be curious about the world around them, to ask questions and to learn through exploration. Oxfordshire has a rich history that can be explored with children of all ages, providing a wonderful opportunity for families to learn and have fun together. Here are some fantastic activities for kids to explore Oxfordshire's history.

Museum visits

Oxfordshire is home to some fantastic museums that are perfect for families. The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is one of the world's oldest public museums and has an extensive collection of art and artefacts from around the world. Children will be fascinated by the Ancient Egyptian mummies, the dinosaur skeletons and the medieval armour. The museum also hosts regular family-friendly events and discovery trails throughout the year.

The Museum of the History of Science is another must-visit in Oxford. This museum is home to some of the most significant scientific instruments in the world, including early telescopes, microscopes, and mathematical instruments. Kids will enjoy the interactive exhibits and hands-on displays that explore the history of science and technology.

For younger children, the Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock is an excellent option. The museum has a dedicated children's area, where kids can dress up in historical costumes and explore interactive displays. The museum also hosts a range of family-friendly events throughout the year, such as craft workshops, storytelling sessions and historical re-enactments.

Historic buildings

Oxfordshire has many historic buildings that offer a glimpse into the past. Blenheim Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous buildings in the county. The palace was built in the 18th century and is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Families can explore the palace's State Rooms, the Churchill Exhibition and the gardens and parkland.

Another excellent option is Broughton Castle, a medieval fortress that has been home to the same family for over 600 years. Kids will love exploring the castle's towers and turrets, and there are plenty of gardens and woodland walks to enjoy too.

The Great Coxwell Barn is another fascinating historic building that is worth a visit. This 14th-century barn was used to store grain for the nearby Faringdon House and is one of the finest surviving examples of a medieval barn in England. Kids can explore the barn's interior and learn about the methods used to build it.

Historical walks

Oxfordshire has some beautiful countryside and plenty of historical walks that are perfect for families. The Thames Path is a 184-mile walking route that follows the River Thames from its source in Gloucestershire to the Thames Barrier in London. The Oxfordshire section of the path is particularly scenic, and families can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the river, taking in the views and spotting wildlife.

Another excellent walk is the Bicester Heritage Trail, which takes in some of the area's most significant historical sites. The trail starts at the Roman town of Alchester and passes through Bicester's historic market square and the 13th-century Garth House. Families can download a free map of the trail from the Visit Oxfordshire website.

The Oxford City Walk is also an excellent option, taking in the city's most famous landmarks, including the Bodleian Library, the Radcliffe Camera and the Sheldonian Theatre. The walk is around two miles long and takes approximately two hours to complete, making it a perfect activity for families.

Historical re-enactments

Oxfordshire is home to several historical re-enactment groups that bring the past to life. The Sealed Knot is one of the most famous, re-enacting battles and events from the English Civil War. Families can watch the soldiers drilling and firing muskets, meet the women who followed the armies, and learn about life during the 17th century.

The Vikings of Middle England are another popular group, re-enacting battles and living history displays from the Viking Age. Kids can see how the Vikings lived, learn about their weapons and clothing and watch demonstrations of traditional crafts.

The Oxfordshire Yeomanry Cavalry is a group that re-enacts the cavalry battles of the 19th century. Families can watch the riders perform drills and manoeuvres, see the horses being groomed and fed, and learn about the cavalry's role in history.

Conclusion

Exploring Oxfordshire's history is a fantastic way for families to learn and have fun together. From museum visits to historical walks, there are plenty of activities to suit all ages and interests. So why not pack a picnic, put on your walking shoes, and head out to explore the county's rich history?

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