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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

Great way to see Oxford. Our guide Trevor was brilliant. I'd go again.

I've visited Oxford many times under my own steam, but never taken a guided tour. I'm now converted. The two hour tour took us to familiar sites, but with the added advantage of a knowledgable guide - in our case, Trevor, a former student of the university (and originally from Canada) - who clearly loved the city he was showing us. We saw many interesting sites, heard many amazing facts and gained access to places I'd never been before. I'd thoroughly recommend this tour. And would go back again to try other tours too.

Oxford: University and City Walking Tour Reviewed by Jackie, 08/16/2019

Excellent, educative, humorous and interesting

Our guide, Rowen, was amazing. She had a unique sense of humor which overrode the gloomy weather. We learned a lot during the tour. She was very friendly and interesting. The children (age 13+) also enjoyed. The driver, Jane, drove very carefully so we felt safe. It was just not clear at the beginning where the exact meeting point was, so we had to phone a representative, which was a bit stressful although we arrived half an hour before time.

Great for Cambridge..not sure for Oxford

The time we had in Cambridge was not long but was filled with interesting things to do. The meeting point was close to all the interesting stuff which allowed for a great time without the fear of being late or losing way. In Oxford, it felt like we were in the city center and missed out on the better parts of the city. We had more time, but not many ideas for things to do. But the guide was amazing and the drive was smooth and nice.

From London: Cambridge and Oxford Full-Day Tour Reviewed by Anonymous, 08/19/2019

Fantastic tour (professional, informative, friendly, culture and film)

Peter was a wonderful guide. He added to a tour about Harry Potter films and books lots of extras: about Oxford's history and culture, other authors and their books (e.g. Narnia). I could not have seen so much in such a short time by myself. Definitely, we will recommend the tour and Peter to other visitors, and we might return to take other tours ourselves.

Oxford: Harry Potter Film Locations Tour Reviewed by Ana, 07/31/2019

Nice tour, comfortable but time is tight

Our guide was John. He was fun and professional. The bus was clean and neat. We stopped and went pass a few villages in costwolds. The tour is good in general but at each “station” we only stopped for 20-1h , which is a bit quick and tight. Only left enough time to walk around. Not being able to see everything in details

Oxford and Cotswolds Villages Day Trip from London Reviewed by Anonymous, 08/08/2019