Oxford has many surprisingly large open spaces that are open to the public and are great for walking, lounging around, and generally getting away from the crowds.
Parks Road, City Center. Open from 8am until dusk. Free entry.
The park consists of about 70 acres of land on the banks of the Cherwell River. Great for jogging, walking, lounging around, or kicking a ball around.
Points of Interest:
- Cricket Pavilion — designed by Sir Thomas Jackson (who also designed the university Examination Schools) and completed in 1881
- Genetic Garden — an experimental garden established by Professor Cyril Darlington to demonstrate evolutionary processes.
- The only first-class cricket ground in the UK where spectators can watch for free.
- Circular duck pond with water lilies and a small island, constructed in 1925.
- Coronation Clump, a clump of trees planted to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
- High Bridge, built in 1923–24 as a relief project for the unemployed. It is usually called Rainbow Bridge, because of its shape.
- Seven large Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) trees planted in about 1888.
- Styphnolobium japonicum, known as the Japanese Pagoda Tree. Planted in 1888.
- Mesopotamia Walk - a path that runs along a narrow island
- Parson's Pleasure and Dame's Delight - seculded area's that were once used for nude bathing
High Street, OX1 4AZ.
November-February - 9.00am to 4.00pm, last admission 3.15pm
March-April - 9.00am to 5.00pm, last admission 4.15pm
May-August - 9.00am to 6.00pm, last admission 5.15pm
September-October - 9.00am to 5.00pm, last admission 4.15pm
Day Ticket - £4.50
Concessionary Day Ticket* - £3.00
Children in full-time education accompanied by an adult family member - Free
Registered disabled and carer - Free
Oxford and Oxford Brookes students and staff - Free
Friends of OBGHA, Kew, Edinburgh, Wales, Ness and Birmingham Botanic Gardens - Free
Annual Pass (valid for 1 year from date of purchase) - £15.50
Concessionary Annual Pass* - £13.00
* senior citizens, unemployed, University of Oxford Alumni, non-Oxford students
Located on the peaceful banks of the Cherwell River, the gardens were started in 1621 as the Physic Gardens, for the study of medicinal plants. These are the oldest botanic gardens in Britain. In addition to the lovely outdoor gardens, there are greenhouses which grow many varieties of exotic plants and flowers. Just next to the gardens, crossing over Rose Lane, there are rose gardens that are exquisite in July.
Christ Church Meadow
Access from St. Aldates (wheelchair access) or Rose Lane, off High Street. Free
The Meadow is a popular walking and picnic area during the warmer months. The meadow is bound by the Thames (Isis), the Cherwell, and Christ Church. Sit by the river and watch the ducks, swans, and punts go by.
Access from Walton Well Road, Aristotle Lane, or Wolvercote
Port Meadow is the largest area of common land in Oxford, measuring approximately 440 acres. The land has never been ploughed or farmed. Bronze Age people buried their dead in the meadow, and Iron Age people grazed their livestock and lived on the meadow during the summer months. Large areas of Port Meadow are flooded for much of the year, attracting flocks of migratory birds. It takes about 50 minutes to stroll from one end of the meadow (the Trout Inn in Wolvercote) to the other end (The Perch Inn, Binsey)
Magdalen College Deer Park
Access from Magdalen College, High Street. Admission Adults £4.50; seniors, children, students £3.50, free for Bodleian card holders and Oxford residents
Magdalen's deer park is open from 1pm until 6pm daily.
Access from the top of St Clements
One of Oxford's largest parks with more than 50 acres. This park is a popular location for summer events.
Headington Hill Park
Across the road from South Park
Headington Hill Park is a frequent location for Creation Theatre Company's open-air performances during the summer. Opening hours vary greatly, but are mainly between 8am and dusk.
Shotover Country Park
Located on the eastern outskirts of Oxford
Shotover Country Park offers everyone a chance to enjoy a place of beauty and history right on the edge of Oxford. Covering 117 hectares (289 acres) on the southern slopes of Shotover Hill there are spectacular views from the top across south Oxfordshire. The park is an intimate mosaic of hidden valleys, varied landscapes and diverse habitats, a haven for wildlife and an ideal setting for peaceful enjoyment of the countryside. Shotover is open to everyone to enjoy throughout the year free of charge and is ideal for a summer picnic, leisurely strolls, a walk with the dog, jogging, riding, or orienteering. For a map of the park and directions to getting there, download the City Council pdf.
Angel & Greyhound Meadow
Access from Boulter Street, off St. Clements
Also known as Angel Meadow, this park is located opposite Magdalen College, on the River Cherwell. The meadow was originally named for an old coaching inn, which is now a pub on St. Clements. The park is very low-lying, and is flooded for much of the year.
At the end of Harbord Road, off Banbury Road. 0800 0521455 for information and opening times.
Cutteslowe Park is a large, gorgeous, free park with many activities to keep you occupied on a day out. Duck pond, aviary, huge children's playground, mini-golf (crazy golf) (summer only), tennis, mini steam train (see schedule below), playing fields, basketball court, flower gardens. Kiosk open in the summer. To get there, take the #2 bus from the city center towards Kidlington. Get off at Harbord Road/Wolvercote Cemetery, and walk to the end of Harbord Road.
Cornwallis Road, off Iffley Road.
A lovely, family-friendly park named after the sister (Florence) of former Councillor F.E. Moss. Facilities include two bowls greens (Florence Park Bowls Club 01865 779329), six tennis courts, crazy golf, and a children's play area.
Bury Knowle Park
Off Old High Street, which is off London Road, Headington.
This park was developed in 1930 after the council purchased Bury Knowle House and it's grounds. The park's facilities include a children's play area, tennis courts, crazy golf, the Headington Library, a sensory garden for the visually impaired, and a kiosk providing refreshments and ice creams.
Lake Street, off Abingdon Road
Features of this park include an outdoor swimming pool, a main lake, a boating lake, tennis courts, fishing, a children's play area, and a kiosk selling refreshments.