Fun Things to Do in Banbury

Banbury has plenty of fun things to do. The town’s canal is a big draw for residents, with the annual Banbury Canal Day seeing stalls and entertainment lined up on either side of the waterway.

In addition, the People’s Park is a place where you can blow off steam with football or basketball courts, as well as a rose garden and aviary with budgies flitting among the flowers. It’s also home to Banbury’s Parkrun, which runs every Saturday morning.

The People’s Park

The People’s Park is the place to go to play and blow off steam. It’s a community garden with a sensory area, bowling green and rose beds, as well as the children’s playground and an aviary stuffed full of budgies and cockatiels.

The 13 flowers on the People’s Park’s lady’s crown represent ancient months and her raised arm sprinkling petals symbolises creative thought. She’s also known as a peace symbol.

Banbury Museum, housed in a grand palatial marlstone building on Horse Fair, is home to fascinating exhibits about the town’s Civil War past, Victorian market town and the Oxford Canal. It also has an excellent costume collection and offers family-friendly events throughout the year.

Spiceball Park

Whether you’re a jogger, a family with kids, or a local looking for a place to play ball games or fly a kite, Spiceball Park offers a huge green space and something for everyone. It also hosts Banbury Parkrun, a weekly 5km timed run that’s open to anyone.

For adults, there’s MooMoo on the High Street (and a Wetherspoons for pre-drinks) as well as Atic, which runs regular events from Pizza and Prosecco Parties to chess nights and brush parties. Alternatively, visit Fir Tree Falconry for a range of experiences from mystical owl evenings to 1-hour bird of prey experience days.

Afterwards, head for some retail therapy at Castle Quay Shopping Centre. Here you’ll find all the usual chains and a good choice of smaller shops that cater to specific interests, from knitting and sewing to comic books.

The Mill Arts Centre

The Mill Arts Centre is a cultural hub in the heart of Banbury town. Its programme includes theatre, dance, live music and comedy. It also hosts art classes and workshops.

If you’re looking for something more energetic, there are several parks in Banbury where you can do sports. The People’s Park is popular for its rose garden and war memorial, and there are tennis courts, a bowling green and a children’s playground.

Spiceball Country Park is also home to Banbury’s Parkrun, which takes place every Saturday morning. The park offers a range of paths and trails that are perfect for runners. It also features a skatepark, where you can try your hand at some tricky jumps and ramps. The park is also home to a variety of wildflowers and bird species.

Banbury Museum

Located in Banbury town centre next to the idyllic canal-side and opposite Tooley’s historic boatyard, this family friendly museum takes you on a journey through the town’s past. Its galleries explore many aspects of local history including the Civil War, plush manufacturing and the Oxford Canal, as well as a fascinating costume collection from the 17th century onwards.

Among the other sights to see is the town’s own version of the ‘Fine Lady on a Horse’, the statue depicting her from the nursery rhyme. The finely wrought bronze figure is a striking sight and no one knows who she was meant to be, although contenders include Queen Elizabeth I and the fearless eighteenth-century traveller Lady Godiva.

The town’s cultural scene is also strong, with the Mill Arts Centre hosting regular bands and theatre performances. Its rooms are available for venue hire, as is a gallery space.

Broughton Castle

Banbury’s main street has plenty of things to do for kids and families, from shopping at the town’s many boutiques to trying a slice of the famed Banbury Cake – a fruit and pastry delicacy. Enjoy live music and theatre performances at the Mill Arts Centre or visit the nearby Broughton Castle, a moated manor house that is home to Lord Saye and Sele.

Broughton Castle is made from local Hornton ironstone and has been in the same family since 1447. Explore the grounds which include rose gardens and fleur de lys shaped flowerbeds, or tour the house which has traces of every period in its long history.

Children will love visiting the Waterflow Sanctuary and Children’s Farm where they can feed and cuddle a wide range of animals, from rabbits to gerbils and emus. Or they can take a trip to Fir Tree Falconry to see their collection of birds of prey and book educational visits or falconry experiences.

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