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Tourism signing

How to request a brown road sign to direct people to a tourist attraction.

The white-on-brown tourist road signs have long been recognised as important since they offer the tourist some guarantee as to the quality of an attraction.

A tourist attraction is defined as 'a permanently established destination or facility that attracts, or is used by, visitors to an area and which is open to the public without prior booking during its normal opening hours'.

This can include the following:

Theme parks, historic properties, theatres, museums, leisure complexes, sports venues, concert venues, cinemas, restaurants, hotels, pubs, tourist and youth hostels, tourist information centres, camping and caravan sites, picnic sites, tours and leisure drivers and cycle routes.

Retail parks, shopping centres and garden centres are not eligible for tourism signage.

Local traffic authorities, rather than the tourist boards, will consider applications for tourist road signs against locally determined policies.


Since the new arrangements are to be at no cost to the county council, all costs associated with the signing are to be met by the applicant. These will include the following:

  • Application fee: £320 + VAT (this is non refundable)
    This covers the assessment of the application and the sites for signing
  • Cost of design, manufacture and erection of signs
    Subject to size and number, + 20% administration charge, + VAT
  • Cost of future removal of signing
    Two thirds of costs of signing (payable at the time of ordering signs)
  • Requests for new/amended signs
    Cost of changing sign faces, + 20% administration charge + VAT (+ costs of future removal if new signs).

Who is eligible

In theory, any establishment that can be described as a tourist attraction can have signing. But a considered approach has to be adopted to ensure concerns about road safety, the local environment and the needs of traffic management are considered.

We have drawn up a Tourism Signing Policy, in consultation with other local authorities and tourist boards, to address these concerns when considering applications for signs (available to download below). Before applying please be confident that your establishment is eligible.

How to apply

If, after reading the above policy, you consider your establishment is eligible, please download the application form below.

When completed, send the form to highway.enquiries@oxfordshire.gov.uk

What happens next

  • You complete form and return with application fee and supporting documents.
  • We decide if the attraction or facility meets the broad definition for eligibility.
  • If eligible, we consult with town and parish councils, other local authorities and tourist boards etc.
  • If there are no objections, we then decide if the application meets all the detailed criteria.
  • You will be informed of our decision.
  • If entitled, one of our officers then visits the site to decide on the number and location of signs.
  • You will be given a cost estimate for sign design, manufacture and erection, plus cost of removal.
  • If agreeable, you then return the amount charged and we make arrangements to have the signs erected.