Banbury Cross is well-known to speakers of English all over the world. The famous nursery rhyme 'Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross' does not, however, refer to the present cross. The rhyme dates back to long before 1784 when it first appeared in print. Originally it must have referred to Banbury's ancient High or Market Cross demolished together with two other crosses by Puritan fanatics in 1600. For over 250 years Banbury Cross existed in the rhyme only.
The present cross was erected in 1859 to commemorate the marriage of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter to Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia. The statues of Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V were added in 1911 at the time of the latter's coronation.
The area around the Cross is now the site of New Year's Eve celebrations by the town's youth.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
St Mary's Church
St Mary's Church was consecrated in September 1797. It is thought to be modelled on one of Sir Christopher Wren's churches in Walbrook. The church bells can be heard on Wednesday evenings during bell ringing practice and Sundays between 8.45-9.30am. The church is open for visitors on Fridays between 11am to 3pm and Saturdays between 10am and 4pm, but may be closed at short notice, it is open for services on a Sunday.
- Religious Travel
- Budget Travel
Visit the Oxford Canal
The Oxford Canal which runs through Banbury town centre, has a working lock, and is right by the Tooley's boatyard, and the Banbury Museum.
Sit and watch boats on the canal.
A little bit of history about the canal:-
The Oxford Canal was one of the earliest to be built in England and was the first to connect the industrial Midlands with London, via the River Thames. Royal assent was granted in April 1769 and James Brindley was appointed as the engineer.
Construction began in September 1769 near Coventry, where it was to join with the Coventry Canal. A dispute over tolls resulted in the two canals running parallel for about one mile, until a junction was built at Longford in 1777. The present junction at Hawkesbury was made in 1801.
Financial problems delayed work, but the canal eventually reached Oxford in 1789 and was officially opened on 1st January 1790. The price of coal in Oxford which had previously come from Newcastle via the sea and the River Thames dropped dramatically within days.
The opening of the Grand Junction Canal in 1805 and the coming of the railways in the 1840's, led to a loss of traffic, particularly on the South Oxford,. Due to the near disappearance of commercial traffic in the 1950's the South Oxford was threatened with closure, but saved after a lot of campaining.
Today it is a popular canal which acts as a resource for a variety of leisure pursuits, including boating, walking and angling.
- Sailing and Boating
Visit an Historic Boatyard
Tooley's is the oldest working dry dock in Britain, and has been in continuous use since 1790 when it was established to build and repair the wooden horse-drawn narrow boats which plied the newly constructed canal network, which was so vital to the development of the Industrial Revolution.
Tooleys kept on working up until l995 when its future was threatened by the Castle Quay development. But the site was saved and incorporated in the new Museum and Heritage Centre.
It is now run by a private company and Tooley's is in business again with its dry dock providing a service for the boating community, and an opportunity for visitors to see work in progress, as well as the fully resotred workshops, dating from the l930's. They include a carpenter's store, a belt driven machine workshop and paint store. There is also a 200 year old forge where a blacksmith plies his trade.
There are guided tours available, both public and group tours, and extras for group tours include boat trips, phone for details.
- Sailing and Boating
Ten Pin Bowling
There are special rates before 6pm. for Adults and Junior, and slightly higher rate after 6pm.
All the prices include shoe hire.
Look out for special promotions.
They also cater for Birthday Parties, Corporate Events and Teenage Parties.
visit the website, or phone for further details.
Flying up the sky
A yearly celebration in Banbury town center, usually held every second week of October.
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