No place like Banbury
Banbury is a charming old market town situated in the eastern part of the beautiful Cotswolds. The town probably takes its name from 'Banna', a Saxon man who is believed to have built a stockade near the town in the fifth century, which by the time of William the Conqueror was mentioned in the Domesday Book. Once Banbury even had its own Castle built in 1135 by Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln. Besieged a few times during the English Civil War, it was later pulled down and the stone used to repair war damage to the other buildings in the town.
In the 13th century Banbury was already a thriving wool trading centre, which greatly contributed to the wealth of its citizens. A fire ravaged the town in 1628, destroying many buildings, yet some have survived to this day.
The town's development was enhanced by the construction of James Brindley's Oxford Canal in 1790, connecting it with the Midlands and, later, of the railway line. Nowadays, Banbury has a direct connection with London and Birmingham by the M40 motorway, which makes transport and travel in the area much easier.
Banbury is also an industrial town, with Alcoa (aluminium products) and Kraft Jacobs Suchard having their factories here. The pleasant smell of coffee in my bedroom at night came from the latter. And to think that they make my favourite custard there as well!
Banbury is the perfect starting point for trips to the picturesque Cotswold villages, with their wonderful thatched honey-coloured stone cottages. Very close to it stands Broughton Castle, the home of the Fiennes family, which deserves a separate page. The famous Neolithic stone circle, The Rollright Stones, is only a short drive away. Banbury's famous neighbours include Warwick with its magnificent Castle, Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon and, just a 20-minute train journey away, Oxford. Visit the charming Cotswold pubs, with their local cuisine and beautiful country decor or go to a local fete, with Morris dancing and falconry shows. In fact, there are so many opportunities for entertainment in or near the town that I can't list them all. You will never get bored in Banbury.