Charlbury is not just a lovely place to visit in itself, but also an excellent base for touring the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire.
The university city of Oxford is just 20 minutes away by train. Step away from the uninspiring shopping streets of Cornmarket and Queen Street and onto Oxford's back streets, and you'll find a fascinating city with peerless museums (the new Ashmolean is a must-visit), warren-like bookshops, characterful pubs and esteemed restaurants. And when it all gets too much, head back to Charlbury on the train and breathe in the country air.
The Cotswold honeypots of Burford, Moreton-in-Marsh, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Campden are an easy drive from Charlbury. Moreton can also be reached by train, from where there are buses to Stow.
On the edges of the Cotswolds, Stratford-on-Avon, Cheltenham and Gloucester are each only 45 minutes from Charlbury. Stratford's theatres and Shakespeariana are of course world-famous, Cheltenham's designer shops always bustle, and Gloucester has historic docks and a cathedral equal to any in Britain.
The riverside city of Worcester is an hour from Charlbury by direct train and has another splendid cathedral, a bustling city centre and good pubs. Two stops further along the railway is Great Malvern, a spa town with excellent walking opportunities on the Malvern Hills.
The bustling market towns of Chipping Norton and Witney are just a few miles from Charlbury. Nearby Woodstock is home to the opulent Blenheim Palace and has a number of attractive tourist-focused shops. All three are easily reached by car or direct bus.
Other sites of local interest include the prehistoric Rollright Stones, just outside Chipping Norton, and North Leigh's Roman Villa. For relaxation of an aquatic kind, the pretty Oxford Canal is a short walk across the fields from Tackley. The River Thames is at Lechlade (where you can hire day-boats), just across the county line in Gloucestershire, from where it flows downstream to Oxford and London.
Read more at the Oxfordshire Cotswolds website.