With its world-famous university, historic buildings and streets that make perfect filming locations and pioneering science companies, Oxfordshire has always attracted high-profile visitors.

Here’s our round-up of famous faces who came to the county this year.

In February Prince Charles - now King Charles III - was in good spirits as he visited a pioneering space company at Harwell Campus near Didcot.

READ MORE: Prince Charles visits Oxford University in style

Japanese company Astroscale is running a mission to trial the ability to remove debris from space.

In the afternoon the Prince of Wales enjoyed a cuppa as he paid a visit to scientists and engineers at the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Joint European Torus (JET), which is based at Culham Science Centre, near Abingdon.

The science centre is currently pioneering the way for a cleaner, green energy source with its world-leading fusion experiment.

Witney Gazette:

He was back in May to open the new Levine Building at Trinity College.

The substantial new development provides world-class facilities for teaching, residential accommodation, public outreach and social activity.

His Royal Highness offered his 'warmest congratulations to the many people who contributed their talents and expertise to create a building worthy of this historic site.'

The Duchess of Cornwall was hailed a champion of literature by Sir Philip Pullman when she was joined by the acclaimed Oxford author during a visit to Weston Library, part of the Bodleian in January.

He praised the royal for her active interest in the nation's 'greatest strength'.

The Duchess also met organisers of Oxford Literary Festival and later opened the university's latest sciences facility the Marcela Botnar Wing.

In February Hollywood superstar Timothee Chalamet was snapped in a long purple coat and big hat filming the new Willy Wonka movie.

Witney Gazette:

The film is a prequel to Roald Dahl’s children’s novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Back in December 2021 crowds of screaming fans gathered on Catte Street to catch a glimpse of the star. 

The area around Radcliffe Camera was closed off again as Chalamet shot more scenes.

Fake snow was placed scattered on the ground and actors were seen in Victorian clothing. 

Wonka is slated to be released on March 17 2023.

In June Lenny Henry received an honorary degree from Oxford University in recognition of his charity work.

The TV funnyman was among eight people honoured at the university's Encaenia ceremony. 

READ MORE: Lenny Henry honoured at Oxford University's Encaenia event

The Dudley-born star, 63, is well-known for co-founding Comic Relief, to which the public has donated more than £1 billion over the past 30 years.

Encaenia, which a Greek term meaning 'festival of renewal' or 'commencement' is held annually on the Wednesday of the ninth week of Trinity term.

Also receiving honours was Wim Wenders – pioneer of new German cinema.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Oxford Union through a live stream in June.

Oxford Ukrainian Society president Ruslan Pavlyshyn, 25, asked if the UK Government should get more involved in the war in the context of two British citizens who had been sentenced to death in Ukraine by Russia.

Witney Gazette:

Rapper A J Tracey dropped in to St Peter's College several times during the year, speaking to students and staff and also addressed the Union.

The Ladbroke Grove hitmaker and music producer has forged a partnership with the college to support Black students through the AJ Tracey Fund.

Witney Gazette:

READ MORE: Oxford Uni college working with AJ Tracey to support black students

A pub served as the location for part of Channel 4’s coverage of the British Grand Prix.

Former Formula One driver David Coulthard and British F4 racer Billy Monger, dropped in to The Butchers Arms in Fringford, near Bicester, in June.

The pair were there to film a segment of Channel 4’s coverage of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

The very last episode of Inspector Morse prequel Endeavour ended with a dramatic hug at Blenheim Palace.

Shaun Evans embraced the director in the grounds of the historic site as filming wrapped in Oxford for the final time for the popular series which launched in 2012.

Shaun Evans and Roger Allam were spotted filming in Turl Street and in other city centre locations.

In August some final scenes for series nine were recorded at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock - the very last ever.

Witney Gazette:

Hollywood actor Joely Richardson was spotted filming at the Bodleian Library in October.

Lucie Johnson caught some impressive pictures of cast and crew which led posters on the Oxford Mail Camera Club Facebook page to say that judging by the costumes she could be shooting The Ballad of Renegade Nell for Disney +.

Almost 1,800 souls packed out the New Theatre in November to see Bob Dylan.

The Oxford gig by the 81-year-old was a late addition to a sold-out tour, announced just two months previously, and sold out in 11 minutes – a record for the venue.

Phones were forbidden and those who hadn’t left them at home were asked to drop them into lockable pouches.

Boxing legend Frank Bruno MBE cut the ribbon at a health and wellbeing centre at Oxford Stadium in November.

The former WBC Heavyweight Champion officially opened The Frank Bruno Foundation’s Oxford centre which can work with up to 2,000 people each month, delivering funded non-contact boxing programmes and care services to anyone experiencing mental health issues.

A holiday retreat played host to two celebrities for the filming of a primetime TV dating show.

A Channel 4 production crew took over Winchcombe Farm near Banbury in September as part of the new series of Celebs Go Dating, featuring reality stars including Gary Lucy and Pete Wicks, which aired in December.

The Only Way Is Essex favourite Pete Wicks, 33, was appearing for the third time and said he was "determined to find love on the show".

He appeared alongside Gary Lucy, 40, who played Kyle Pascoe on Hollyoaks until earlier this year

Jo Carroll, who co-owns the business with husband Steve Taylor, said: “Gary Lucy and Pete Wicks were really down to earth delightful people and both utterly charming.

"Gary Lucy in particular absolutely loved the place and wanted to know all about it."


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This story was written by Miranda Norris, she joined the team in 2021 and covers news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Miranda.Norris@newsquest.co.uk. Or find her on Twitter: @Mirandajnorris

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