Conveniently close to Oxford, yet a quintessential rural retreat, the charming village of Woodstock makes a wonderful day trip from the city. The big draw here is Blenheim Palace, the opulent country pile of the Churchill family, but the village itself is full of picturesque creeper-clad cottages and elegant town houses.
The hub of the village is the imposing town hall, built at the Duke of Marlborough’s expense in 1766. Nearby, the Church of St Mary Magdalene had a 19th-century makeover but retains its Norman doorway, early English windows and a musical clock.
Opposite the church, the Oxfordshire Museum (