From small hidden gems to larger bustling market towns, all the towns featured in this article are frequently considered some of the best places to live in Oxfordshire.
Whether you’re seeking a family home, retirement cottage or a commuter abode to access London, we can help you with your Oxfordshire search.
This picturesque market town with a riverside setting combines the tranquillity of the surrounding Chiltern landscape with an active and thriving local community.
In recent years, Henley-on-Thames has become a sought after hub for families.
This is due to the fact that the town is well served by primary and secondary, private and state schools in the surrounding areas.
As well as good commuter links to London, it offers an art-house cinema and impressive food scene, as well as plenty of fun cultural and lifestyle amenities.
This small but bustling town overlooks the Cherwell valley between Oxford and Banbury and is surrounded by lovely villages and hamlets.
Some 2,000 inhabitants live in Deddington which features many houses of architectural and historical interest.
While the village is small enough to have a sociable community, it still offers lots of amenities, pubs, restaurants and local shops.
The village hall is a focal point and is used as a venue for scouts and guides, adult education classes, major events and meetings.
On the hall grounds, there are tennis courts, a bowling green, children’s play areas, and football and cricket fields.
Nearby Kings Sutton station gives commuters access to London in just under an hour.
3. Hook Norton
Hook Norton, known to its inhabitants as “Hooky”, is situated between the market towns of Banbury and Chipping Norton.
It is most famous for the Hook Norton Brewery – a family-owned business established in the late 19th century, that supplies handcrafted beer to 36 pubs around Oxfordshire.
The town has a population of around 2,000 and has a lively community spirit with a social and sports club.
There is also a good selection of local facilities so you won’t have to venture too far afield.
As well as a shop, post office, and primary school, there’s a doctor’s surgery, dentist, vet, library and four pubs.
Families are drawn to the thriving market town of Witney for the strong community, its proximity to Oxford and good schools.
Ofsted rates Witney Community Primary, Hailey C of E Primary, Ducklington C of E Primary, and Madley Brook Community Primary as “Good”, while The Batt C of E Primary is rated “Outstanding”.
Witney is reasonably well connected with the A40 running east to Oxford and west to the Cotswolds and Cheltenham. The towns of Bicester and Banbury, as well as the Midlands, are also close by.
Commuters will note that Oxford Parkway is only 10 miles away, which has direct trains to London in less than an hour and Bicester Village in a mere 15 or so minutes.
Woodstock is a beautiful town situated on the edge of the Cotswolds, so it’s easy to make the most of the outdoors.
The tranquil village offers a rich history and stunning Georgian architecture. Claims to fame include the World Heritage Site of Blenheim Palace and it’s the birthplace of Winston Churchill.
The high street has some lovely boutique shops, a traditional butcher and grocer, antique shops and art galleries. There are also plenty of hotels, pubs, and restaurants.
Woodstock C of E Primary School and the Marlborough C of E School, both in Woodstock, are rated “Outstanding” and “Good” respectively.
Oxford is a half-hour drive away from Woodstock, while London is easily reached in 90 minutes by car via the M40 or train from Hanborough Station.
Charlbury is an attractive west Oxfordshire town with an historic town centre and numerous facilities for residents.
There’s a pharmacy, hairdressers and barbers, gift shops, a beauty boutique, four pubs and Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat farm shop is less than a 10 minute drive away.
The town offers a rich community life with something going on nearly every night of the week.
During the summer months, there are plenty of activities going on in the area too, including a beer festival and music festivals.
In terms of schools, there’s Charlbury Primary School with secondary schools in Chipping Norton, Woodstock and Witney.
Charlbury station offers a direct rail link to London in just over an hour, and to Oxford in around 15 minutes. Witney and Chipping Norton are approximately 15 minutes drive.
7. The Wychwoods
Take your pick of the Wychwoods villages to live in: Shipton, Ascott or Milton. All three are attractive, close together and have facilities, convenience shops, pubs and restaurants.
Shipton-under-Wychwood is the largest village and is around four miles away from Burwood. It has a rail connection to Oxford in the morning and evening.
One mile to the east is Ascott-under-Wychwood, with its popular hotel, The Swan, featuring a pub and restaurant.
Milton-under-Wychwood is a pretty village known for its plethora of local walks through rolling countryside.
Wallingford is a buzzy market town with a riverside setting, lively high street and a keen focus on independent shops and eateries.
It’s linked with Agatha Christie who wrote many of her novels here and it also features in the TV series, Midsomer Murders.
There’s plenty to see and do with Wallingford Castle ruins and museum nearby, steam trains and a folk and beer festival during summer.
There are three primary schools on offer: St John’s and Crowmarsh Gifford C of E, rated “Good” by Ofsted, and St Nicholas C of E Infants rated “Outstanding”. Wallingford School for secondary school students is rated “Good”.
The closest train station is Cholsey, under ten minutes drive, with slow trains to London and Oxford. Or you can drive slightly further to Didcot for a faster journey.
The small but perfectly formed market town south of Thame, Watlington has several pubs and restaurants, cafes and small shops on offer.
This cosy market town claims to be the smallest in England and, not surprisingly, has a strong community vibe with over 60 community organisations.
The nearest large supermarkets are in Thame but the high street has an impressive amount of local eateries which should suit foodies down to the ground.
For schooling there’s Watlington Primary School rated “Outstanding”, and there’s also a top girls’ prep school Godstowe, as well as Icknield Community college for older kids. Nearby there’s Wallingford School and Thame’s Lord Williams’s School.
The closest train station is in High Wycombe, 20 minutes away, which has fast trains to London in 25 minutes. The drive into London will take you just over an hour.
Just north of Wallingford is the bustling market town of Thame, considered a more affordable option than Marlow and Henley.
Residents are a mix of locals, London escapees, families, young couples and retirees.
The town’s high street is dotted with independent shops and plenty of green spaces, and there are many cultural and lifestyle events held throughout the year.
Thame has three local primary schools all popular and rated “Good” by Ofsted. The town’s only secondary school, Lord Williams’s, is rated “Outstanding”.
Commuting to London is easy with a train from Haddenham & Thame Parkway, a short drive away.
The journey to London is around half an hour during peak times or just under an hour off-peak.
11. Stratton Audley, Hethe & Fringford
These three villages northeast of Bicester are all pretty and sought-after.
They’re close enough to the larger town of Bicester which has schools, sports facilities and Bicester Village shopping outlet.
Stratton Audley’s 15th century church is where community events are held, and The Red Lion is the local pub/restaurant.
Fringford is approximately a five minute drive north of Stratton Audley and has thatched cottages and the Butchers Arms pub/restaurant.
While the neighbouring village of Hethe is home to The Muddy Duck, a highly esteemed pub/restaurant.
Bicester North is the closest station to all the villages and a train ride to London is around a 45 minute journey.
Best places to live in Oxfordshire
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