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

Perfect tour around beautiful Cotswolds villages

My son and I really wanted to experience a day of just walking around the beautiful villages of Cotswolds and learn a bit about their history. We wanted to see the smaller villages and not be in a big group of people, so this tour was the perfect fit for us. We really had a perfect day, even if the weather was not so nice. Ian was a really interesting guide, telling us about the history of the region and some surprising and fun anecdotes about one village or another. He was able to answer all our questions and brought us to some really beautiful little places. Merci 1000 fois! For us it really was the perfect tour!

Fascinating facts and magnificent countryside

Terrific value and memorable day despite bleak weather. Our driver, Chris, was a delightful guide with loads of knowledge and entertaining anecdotes throughout the trip- a nice mix of information and silence. I am long time traveller but first time user of Rabbies- a company I would use again and highly recommend because of their ethical values and sustainability commitment. Also having only 16 per group is so much better. The Cotswalds and Oxford are quintessential England, preserved in time and truly beautiful. Do yourself a favour and undertake this trip.

Nice person very great guide, knew all the answers to our questions!

I think andrew was a great guide and was definitely worth the money he was very clear and nice and knew the answers to all our questions!

Oxford University Walking Tour Reviewed by John, 02/04/2019

We really enjoyed the tour and Joe was an excellent guide

Joe was excellent guide making the tour come to life. He gave a nice balance of fact based information with funny and frivolous anecdotes.

Oxford: 2-Hour University and City Tour Reviewed by Robert, 02/03/2019

Perfect guided tour with many stories and details about Oxford!

A very powerful guide! Zina knows well everything about Oxford Univercity and the history of the city of Oxford! We are satisfied for our choice!

Oxford: 2-Hour University and City Tour Reviewed by Evangelos, 01/27/2019