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Oxford
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Top attractions in Oxford

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The 10 Best Things to Do in Oxford

The name alone exudes a scholarly atmosphere, with nearly 40 different colleges and their hallowed halls of learning. However, there's more to "Gown Town," and you'll find a city that brims with history and science, and traditional English culture.

Bodleian Library

Bodleian Library

Commonly known as the Bod, the university's famous library contains 9 million books, making it Britain's second largest. The earliest collection dates to the 13th century.

Radcliffe Camera

Radcliffe Camera

Connected to the Bod by an underground passageway, this striking structure, with its circular design from 1749, is the reading room of the library. Go on a guided tour to see it.

University of Oxford Botanic Garden

University of Oxford Botanic Garden

Established in 1621 by the university's faculty of medicine, Britain's oldest botanical garden boasts 7,000 various species of plants, and its glasshouses are 300 years old.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Walk among dinosaurs in the gallery under an industrial interior of glass and iron. After visiting, go to the Pitt Rivers Museum in the adjacent building with its bevy of artifacts.

Museum of the History of Science

The ensemble of 18,000 objects includes scientific instruments from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The chalkboard Einstein used in a lecture at Oxford is also on display.

University Church of St. Mary the Virgin

University Church of St. Mary the Virgin

Once a place for lectures and ceremonies, the tallest structure on the High Street was the first of this center of academics. Climb the 124 steps to the top for amazing views.

Carfax Tower

Carfax Tower

A reminder of the former, 13th-century St. Martin Church that once stood here, this belfry, with a clock that chimes every 15 minutes, marks the geographical heart of the city.

Blackwell's Bookshop
Photo: Deb Harkness@flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Blackwell's Bookshop

Students, academics, and those who love books have been flocking to this historic shop since opening on Broad St. in 1879. Whatever the subject, you'll find a book about it here.

Oxford Town Hall

Built in 1897, this former library and police station is the seat of the local government and also houses the Museum of Oxford, covering the history of the city and university.

Punting

Punting

To experience this popular summer outing, rent a flat-bottomed boat and push yourself down the River Cherwell. You can rent one at the Magdalen Bridge or Cherwell Boathouse.

Planning Your Oxford Visit

How many days to spend in Oxford?

You can spend a full three days visiting the main attractions in the city center, but why not add a couple more to explore its different neighborhoods, such as trendy Jericho or East Oxford and soak up that English culture?

Getting around

Exploring the city on foot is the best way to take in the sights and sounds, especially during rush hour times. There are two bus companies which are Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach. A day pass, which is valid when traveling with either one, costs 4£, and you can buy it directly from the driver.

Where to stay in Oxford

There are hotels in the bustling center itself, and you'll have everything at your fingertips. You'll also find accommodation just beyond the center, with easy access to go on a sightseeing expedition.

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    British Pound (£)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+00:00)
  • Country Code
    +44
  • Best time to visit
    Oxford is great for a visit year-round, and with so many different festivals on offer throughout the year, it's best to plan your trip according to what you most want to do.

Things to Do in Oxford

Top Attractions in Oxford

Cities in United Kingdom

Other Sightseeing Options in Oxford

Want to discover all there is to do in Oxford? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Oxford

Superbly entertaining and informative tour.

Our guide Laura was an excellent source of fascinating tidbits. As she took us around the various spots in Oxford that were used as inspiration for JK Rowling, as well as in the filming of the Harry Potter films, Laura kept up a constant witty commentary. Ticket prices for a couple of the sites were included in the tour price and entering as a group was smooth. At certain spots, Laura offered to take photos of the families, couples and individuals, ensuring that everyone had a memory to take home. The places were beautiful, the company delightful, and the overall tour was well worth the price. I highly recommend it.

Oxford: Harry Potter Film Locations Tour Reviewed by Marilyn, 02/09/2019

The trip was super interesting and well-run. Guide was excellent!

This trip was run with high energy, which was what was needed to see all 3 sites. Although it was an 11-hour day, there was a great mix of down time on the bus and activity at the locations. The guide Tom was super-knowledgeable and very likeable, and the driver (Andy?) was great. The technology provided (radio and audio guide) worked flawlessly and enabled perfect communication. Tom did a bi-lingual tour and he was very comfortable in both languages. I would highly recommend this tour and this team.

Really enjoyable tour of oxford with Harry Potter highlights

We were a group of 3 adults and 2 children. Peter the guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable of oxford and Harry Potter. Due to busyness the adults didn’t get into the divinity school but he made sure all the kids did and they got their pictures which is the main thing. Really enjoyed Christ Church and the tour was definitely worth the cost and time. Recommend

Oxford: Harry Potter Film Locations Tour Reviewed by Emma, 25/08/2019

Very informed tour covering the majority of Oxfords uni heritage

A very good tour in a small group covering most of the university on a very hot August bank holiday weekend. Our Guide (Marie) was very knowledgeable and pleasant. We paid extra for entrance into Balliol and Divinity school but could have done with a bit extra time to explore.

Oxford: University and City Walking Tour Reviewed by Spencer, 26/08/2019

Thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Big thanks to Tom for looking after us.

Tom made the tour interesting and entertaining and was considerate to us all. He did his best to accommodate our requests and interests, and he added in personal touches in terms of his knowledge of the area and places we saw.

Inspector Morse Lewis Oxford Tour Reviewed by Annie, 21/08/2019