Oxford Literary activities

Our most recommended Oxford Literary activities

Oxford: University and City Walking Tour with Alumni Guide

1. Oxford: University and City Walking Tour with Alumni Guide

Step inside Oxford University and explore the grounds on a guided walking tour. Admire the iconic architecture and learn about university life from your student guide. Visit one of the university’s oldest colleges and the Bodleian Library. Learn about the history of the university colleges, including All Souls College, Trinity College, Oriel College, Hertford College, and Merton College, the Radcliffe Camera, and the University Church of St. Mary. Get an equally in-depth history of the town. Hear about ceremonies at Oxford, famous graduates, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and also how the most powerful Archbishop of Canterbury was burned at the stake in Oxford.

London: Harry Potter Studio Tour and Oxford Day Trip

2. London: Harry Potter Studio Tour and Oxford Day Trip

Join a full-day bus trip from London which combines a trip to the Warner Bros Studio Tour 'The Making of Harry Potter' with a walking tour of Oxford University. Start your tour at the historic city of Oxford, home to England's oldest university. Enjoy a guided walking tour that takes you past famous college buildings, cloisters, quadrangles, and cobblestone squares. See the Bodleian Library, Radcliffe Camera, the Sheldonian Theatre, and selected colleges. Enjoy free time to explore all that Oxford has to offer at your own pace. Continue to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour and begin your magical experience at The Making of Harry Potter. Discover behind-the-scenes secrets and hear about the filmmaking techniques used to make the magic of the Harry Potter films. Visit the most recognizable set features from the films: the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, the Ministry of Magic, 4 Privet Drive, the Weasley kitchen, Hogwarts Express, and Diagon Alley. Board the original Hogwarts Express train and see a recreation of Platform 9-3/4. Explore the interior train carriage set that was featured during filming and take a selfie with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the brick wall.

Oxford: Christ Church Harry Potter Film Locations Tour

3. Oxford: Christ Church Harry Potter Film Locations Tour

Enjoy a 2-hour walking tour introducing the making of Harry Potter in Oxford and a 1-hour entry ticket and audio guided tour inside Christ Church College. See and hear about both Harry Potter and Lewis Carroll’s legendary characters, such as Alice and the Mad Hatter.  Book in advance to beat the queues at Christ Church, Oxford's most popular tourist attraction. Admire views onto Christ Church Meadows on the borders of the rivers Cherwell and Isis. See longhorn cattle graze and the dreamy spires of Merton College and Corpus Christi. See inside the Divinity School, another Harry Potter film site, at the Bodleian Library (access permitting) one of the oldest libraries in Europe. On any dates when Christ Church may be closed, instead visit New College, another great Hogwarts film site. Visit the Divinity School and see Christ Church's cloisters and staircase that were used as inspiration for the Great Hall.

Oxford: University and City Walking Tour

4. Oxford: University and City Walking Tour

Join a university-educated guide, with years of experience and local knowledge of Oxford City and colleges. See the dreamy spires of one of the oldest universities in the world on a guided walking tour. Go inside some of the city’s most historic colleges, such as New College, founded in 1379 and more recently seen in the Harry Potter films and television productions of Inspector Morse and Lewis. Visit Exeter College, founded in 1314, and another favorite on most tours. Stop by Hertford College, with its romantic façade and Bridge of Sighs, instantly recognizable from Brideshead Revisited. See the University Library and learn about the collegiate system unique to Oxford and Cambridge. Discover famous alumni who studied and taught at the university, including the infamous Dr Spooner, whose portraits hang in New College Dining Hall and whose name is given to the playful linguistic phenomenon of spoonerisms.

Oxford: Official University and City Walking Tour

5. Oxford: Official University and City Walking Tour

Explore Oxford, the city of Dreaming Spires, on a walking tour with an expert guide from the city’s tourism board. Be shown the city’s most famous sights, uncover its hidden history, and enjoy all the astonishing stories about Oxford's key characters- real and fictional. Meet your guide at the grand and very old Broad Street (once the city's ditch) let them know where you come from and any special Oxford interests you may have and they will do their best to incorporate those.  Go to Martyrs' Memorial, the scene of terrible religious retributions in medieval times, and on to the oldest tower at St Michael of the Northgate built in Saxon times. Then, make your way to the very heart of the University and the inspiration behind Harry Potter's Hogwarts School. Pass by the pubs where the Inklings used to meet to discuss their writing as well as the pubs where Inspector Morse was filmed and the most popular student drinking holes in days of old. Discover the city that is home to several of Britain's most famous literary characters - both fictional and real - such as JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, Philip Pullman, and Colin Dexter as well as some of their most famous creations like Lyra and Will, and Inspector Morse. Admire Oxford's stupendous architecture, gargoyles and grotesques, so wonderfully preserved from every historical period and style, and take a stroll through the breathtaking Radcliffe Square. Cross the whimsical Bridge of Sighs as it's fondly known, just like the ones in Venice and Cambridge. See the Bodleian Libraries from the outside in the splendid Old Schools Quadrangle. Learn about the city’s famous museums including the Museum of the History of Science, containing Einstein's blackboard, The Pitt Rivers, once home to shrunken heads, and the fabulous Ashmolean, which was one of the very first ever museums in the world. If time allows, walk as far as to the beautiful Christ Church Meadows, where punting happens and cattle graze; a truly pastoral and quintessential English scene.

From London: Windsor, Oxford & Stonehenge Full-Day Trip

6. From London: Windsor, Oxford & Stonehenge Full-Day Trip

Embark on a full-day guided tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford from London. Take the scenic route through the lush English countryside in a comfortable air-conditioned bus. The first stop on this tour is Windsor Castle. With its sweeping landscaped gardens and turreted Round Tower, it is easy to see why the castle is the Queen’s favorite weekend residence. Enjoy a fascinating through-the-keyhole peek at the lavish State Apartments, home to priceless artworks by Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci. You can also visit Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and St George’s Chapel - the final resting place of the monarchs of old, including Henry VIII. The tour then moves on to spectacular Stonehenge. You will never forget your first glimpse of the monolithic rock formation rising up against the skyline of the Salisbury Plain. Theories abound as to Stonehenge’s mysterious origin. Was it intended as a religious temple? An astronomical clock? A Bronze Age burial ground? Make up your own mind as you explore this unique landmark. Your final stop of the day is the charming university town of Oxford. Here you will enjoy a walking tour with free leisure time. Stroll the captivating college courtyards and cobbled lanes of this historic university town. The tour will finish at approximately 07:15 PM in London.

London: Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds, and Warwick Day Trip

7. London: Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds, and Warwick Day Trip

Walking tour of Oxford Follow in the footsteps of Oxford's famous students, from C.S. Lewis to Bill Clinton, as you stroll the captivating college courtyards and cobbled lanes of this historic university town, on this guided day trip by bus from London. Take in the famous 'dreaming spires' and see the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. Be captivated by the unspoiled narrow alleys and ancient squares of this naturally beautiful town. Oxford is famous for being home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world – countless bright young things have wandered the town’s cobbled streets over the years! During this guided walking tour you will see the stunning University Church of St Mary the Virgin and furtively discover unspoiled narrow alleyways, ancient squares, and towering spires. Entry to the 13th-century University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Soak in spectacular sights of the unique baroque design and architecture as you explore the center of the University of Oxford. This absolute gem is a must-visit on your trip to Oxford. The Cotswolds Enjoy views of the breathtaking countryside, sleepy villages, and bustling market towns as you drive through the charming scenery of one of England's most beautiful regions. Stratford–upon–Avon  A unique market town, famous as the home of William Shakespeare, arguably the world's greatest writer. Visit the picturesque half-timber house where the legendary bard was born, and gain fascinating insights into his childhood. Shakespeare’s birthplace: See where the famous playwright grew up and spent his years as a married man. Warwick Castle  Be part of Britain’s greatest medieval experience deep in the heart of Warwick Castle. Immerse yourself in battle preparations and feel the weight of a medieval sword. Become a soldier – try on a battle helmet for size. Visit the spectacular State Rooms and feast your eyes on Victorian party preparations. 

From Oxford: Cotswold Explorer Full-Day Tour

8. From Oxford: Cotswold Explorer Full-Day Tour

Start your unforgettable Cotswold journey by boarding the minibus in Oxford. Then, set off on a scenic drive to the charming village of Minster Lovell. Enjoy seeing the pretty thatched houses and exploring the ruined 15th century Hall. Continue the route through the idyllic villages of Asthall and Swinbrook to Burford, the 'Gateway to the Cotswolds'. Make a stop here to give you time to stroll around the sloping High Street and browse in the quirky shops and cafes. Next, travel further on your panoramic drive through the old quarrying villages of Taynton and the Barringtons towards Bourton-on-the-Water, the 'Venice of the Cotswolds'. Take a walk along the quaint River Windrush crossed with delightful stone bridges. From Bourton-on-the-Water, follow the route through some enchanting Cotswold villages to Broadway with its golden stone houses. Find a pub or cafe for lunch in this village which inspired artists and writers, such as Frank Millet, J M Barrie, and William Morris. After lunch, visit the beautiful market town of Chipping Campden, with its old market hall and wool church. Then, explore Stow-on-the-Wold, the highest town in the Cotswolds. Here you can browse among the narrow footpaths and the antique shops and art galleries. Finally, return to Oxford via the bustling market town of Chipping Norton with a final brief photo stop in Woodstock, the site of Blenheim Palace (the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill).

Oxford: Harry Potter Tour with Divinity School Entry

9. Oxford: Harry Potter Tour with Divinity School Entry

Follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and other characters from the Harry Potter movies. J.K. Rowling applied to study at Oxford University and so she was familiar with Oxford. When they were producing the films, Rowling walked the producers around Oxford, pointing out various sights which they could use, such as the statue that looks like 'Nearly Headless Nick', and Turf Tavern Lane, which looks like Knockturn Alley. This tour showcases where the Harry Potter movies were filmed in Oxford. It includes entry to the Divinity School film site, where they filmed the classroom, dance, and infirmary scenes. You will be passing the city's famous sights and colleges from the outside. You will also be provided with lots of insights about the actors, the producers and about JK Rowling's inspirations. As you walk around, you will take part in a Harry Potter quiz to test your knowledge of the books and films. The guide will also describe how student life in Oxford compares with Hogwarts.

Oxford: Private C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien Walking Tour

10. Oxford: Private C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien Walking Tour

Find out more about the Inklings, an informal literary discussion group associated with the University of Oxford, while getting an introduction to the city's history and university life. See inspiring sights related to C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien on a 2-2.5-hour tour of the sights where they worked and relaxed, including the pubs they enjoyed. At Magdalen, discover a beautiful medieval hall, chapel, and quadrangle as well as lovely gardens and a deer park. Walk in the footsteps of C.S. Lewis and his friends along the famous Addison's path where they strolled on many midsummer evenings to discuss their ideas. When open, peek inside Tolkien's Exeter College which hosts pre Raphaelite art and an exquisite garden too. As well as the colleges, your knowledgeable guide will take you on a route through the city of Oxford to take in many famous sights. Visit inside St. Mary's University Church where C.S. Lewis developed his ideas through sermons. Hear about the likes of Cardinal Newman who preached there too, and learn about the Oxford Martyrs — Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer — from the time of 'Bloody Mary'. A pub/refereshment stop is optional on the tour. Many people who book this tour happen to be theology alumni but the guides are not necessarily themselves religious people.

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Frequently asked questions about Oxford

What top attractions are a must-see in Oxford?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Oxford?

The best day trips and excursions from Oxford are:

Burford

Other Sightseeing Options in Oxford

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What people are saying about Oxford

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 215 reviews

We had a Harry Potter walking tour with Anastasia; it was absolutely brilliant! Anastasia was an amazing guide, full of enthusiasm and lots of Harry Potter and Oxford knowledge. The tour included lots of filming locations and inspirations for the HP films, had lots of fun facts and kept everybody engaged with information, questions and a really fun HP quiz. Anastasia took the time to speak to everyone in the group as we walked and there was time to take pictures at the locations. The time flew by and it was a really enjoyable tour - the best activity on our visit to Oxford. Highly recommended!

We did the tour with Valentina and tony and don’t regret it! She has a great energy and don’t lost it throughout the day. Everything is explaining in a very clear way so everyone can understand. We got to spend 4h at the studio, which is ok but we had to run a bit at the end to join the bus almost on time to go to our next stop Oxford. (If you’re interested buying sth, you need to save at least 30 min for the gift shop at the end of the tour) The bus is comfortable with electrical outlet. Thank you for this magical day, we won’t forget it!

Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about not just Harry Potter but Oxford itself and all of its intricate historical details. It was an incredibly insightful tour, and a good length as well, not too tiring. A well planned route with a well thought out narrative to take us through the history of Oxford through a very unique lens. Would highly recommend!

Great trip. The guide Eileen was knowledgeable, friendly and very funny. You could not ask for a better guide. This trip was a great way to experience some new places and get a feel for something different.

Amazing experience? Fred, our tour guide was excellent. So many information about Oxford and British history in two hours delivered with charm and humour.