Visit Woodstock and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Woodstock, Oxfordshire, is a fascinating old country~town 8 miles North of Oxford, bisected by the handsome bridge over the River Glyme. It shares with Winchester and Windsor the title of royal demesne, since from Anglo-Saxon to late Tudor days it saw a succession of monarchs in residence. The Black Prince, son of Edward III, was born here in 1331. His ancestor Henry I had not only a deer-park in Woodstock but, most unusually, a zoological collection of wild beasts. Another ancestor, Henry II, set up his mistress ‘The Fair Rosamund’ in some state here. The royal country house was known as Woodstock Manor. Its site is roughly north of the bridge which crosses the lake in the Duke of Marlborough's park. It was probably rebuilt several times and here as well as at Hatfield the Princess Elizabeth was held as a prisoner by her sister Mary. The house was practically destroyed in the Civil War, but enough remained to shelter Vanbrugh when he was building Blenheim Palace. A square well still fed by a spring is about all that remains of the old manor enclosure. Even Woodstock's market owes its origin to King John. By the time Elizabeth I came to the throne, and she returned in state to the scene of her imprisonment. There are many lovely old stone houses, and the famous Bear Inn was already old when the palace was being built. According to local lore it dates back to 1237. Much of the present structure is 16th-century. The Town Hall was built by Sir William Chambers in Classical style in 1766 with funds provided by the Duke of Marlborough. Particularly fascinating are the shapes and sizes of some of the ancient chimney pots, one of which, a soaring medieval construction was climbed by Sir Winston Churchill at the age of 12. The church has a Norman south door with arched bands of chevrons going right to the ground, dispensing with the usual Norman capitals, and in contrast to the Classical 18th-century tower. The 600-year-old octagonal font with its unusual traceried panels is noteworthy, and so is the l5th-century screen. The bosses on the roof are particularly fine. The church bells have a different chime for every day of the week. The pleasant streets lead inevitably to the great palace, since this is the magnet that brings thousands of visitors from all over the world.
Just outside Woodstock on the south side of Blenheim Park, is the little village of Bladon. The village pump, the Old Malthouse with its tall l5th-century chimneys and mullioned windows, and its quaint cottages all testify to its claim to be the mother parish of Woodstock. The present church is a dull Victorian reconstruction of 1894 on the site of an earlier church, itself rebuilt in 1801. In January 1965 Sir Winston Churchill was buried very simply in the churchyard at the head of the grave of Lady Randolph Churchill, his mother. She was the beautiful Jenny Jerome, daughter of an American newspaper magnate of the last century. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, is buried alongside. The plain slab tomb bears the simple inscription “WINSTON LEONARD SPENCER CHURCHILL 1874-1965”.
Nearby towns: Bicester, Chipping Norton, Kidlington, Witney
Nearby villages: Combe, Eynsham, Long Hanborough, Stonesfield, Wootton
Have you decided to visit Woodstock or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Woodstock bed and breakfast (a Woodstock B&B or Woodstock b and b)
- a Woodstock guesthouse
- a Woodstock hotel (or motel)
- a Woodstock self-catering establishment, or
- other Woodstock accommodation