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

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What people are saying about Oxford

Amazing experience - great value for money!

Brilliant experience from start to finish. Tour guide (Rob) provided us with an amazing and seamless journey from Harry Potter to Oxford.

Great tour with a friendly and informative guide

We went on the walking trip at the beginning of November and booked through 'get your guide' with my husband and 11 year old daughter. I am a massive fan of both Morse and Lewis, and Elizabeth the guide was great; informative of not only Morse, but of Oxford and how the University and colleges work and she was also incredibly engaging and friendly, with a great sense of humour. My family had never seen a single episode (I watch all the boxsets in the peace and quite of the kitchen whilst cooking!) but Elizabeth kept my daughter entertained with snippets of information regarding Harry Potter, Tolkein etc throughout the trip, and even managed to pique my husbands's interest in the films (we are now both watching them from the start!) Thank you Elizabeth I loved every minute of your tour...can’t wait to return for the Hathaway tour ;-) (fingers crossed!!!)

Simply Morse/Lewis and Endeavour Reviewed by Ann, 11/08/2018

Wonderfully excellent and worth every pound I had.

James was marvelous and he knows his stuff!! Witty and funny and never dull at all. It's a long day trip so I suggest you have a heavy a breakfast and bring snacks like bread or sweets on the bus. Hot food isn't allowed to be brought on the bus but cold food is absolutely fine. It's better to have lunch in Oxford cause you'll have more time there to look around than in Stratford-upon-Avon. Theres not a lot of time to go around the Cotswold to take photos so try to take as much as you can whenever able. In Oxford, try to go inside one of the colleges but most have a small entrance fee. We went inside Trinity but I think the other colleges may have been more scenic.

The guide had excellent knowledge of Oxford

The guide had excellent knowledge of Oxford and delivered it very well. The tour covered the very origins of Oxford right up to modern day. We had a 12 year old with us who was able to follow all the facts and insights. I have recommended it to friends and family.

Oxford: 2-Hour University and City Tour Reviewed by Deirdre, 11/05/2018

Great trip and host (Graham) was fantastic

My parents and I went on this trip earlier this week. We had a brilliant time, a great mix of interesting stops and opportunities to stroll around towns. Graham was friendly, informative and an excellent host. Thanks for a wonderful day! Steve, Jane, and Max (Australia)