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

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What people are saying about Oxford

Trevor was great. He met us on time and was friendly and welcoming. He ensured enough time was provided for any late arrivals and once ready to start the tour, did so ensuring our safety explaining about social distancing.....and Oxford bicycle traffic! The rout was informative, upbeat, amusing and extremely interesting with Trevor providing ample photo opportunities. He made the tour like appear effortless and his storytelling was right on point with lots of interesting factual information - things we were not aware of before. We would highly recommend taking this tour with Trevor. You will not be disappointed. Interestingly, I overheard a couple of other tour guides when we were out and about and they weren’t a patch on Trevor. Trevor was incredibly respectful of others, those studying and those working in buildings we stopped outside of.

The guide was fantastic! Communication was brilliant from 2 days before the tour with a call From the guide to introduce himself to a call this evening to see if we enjoyed the experience. Lots of knowledge and facts on the tour which was great and we were well looked after. My father was 70 with limited mobility and the guide showed understanding and considered which was a nice touch. Thank you a great experience! Lisa, Haydn & Dad

Oxford: Making of Harry Potter Tour Reviewed by Lisa, 10/11/2020

We can thoroughly recommend this tour. Besides the recognisable places from Morse, Lewis and Endeavour there were plenty of interesting facts about Oxford itself. Opportunities to ask questions. Our tour guide was excellent, clearly spoken. The headsets were an additional bonus so everyone could hear clearly in despite of outside noise. That helped us distancing safely.

Oxford: Morse/Lewis and Endeavour Walking Tour Reviewed by Christina, 10/11/2020

We were taken around Oxford and had buildings and areas explained to us. Our guide also told a few local tales and pointed out other points of interest you might not find if walking around on your own. Trevor our guide was also entertaing and knowledgeable of the area and colleges.

Heidi was very informative, full of knowledge! Very friendly. The group were provided with their own headsets which were all disinfected before and after use, this helped with the social distancing. Highly recommend this tour. The tour was an 1 hr 45 mins and was worth every penny!

Oxford: University and Colleges Walking Tour Reviewed by victoria, 10/10/2020