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

A wonderful deep dive into Oxford’s history

Our guide Lizzie was just an amazing guide. Really knowledgeable and witty. Taking us through some of the more known places in Oxford, such as Trinity College (really beautiful), Divinity School, Bridge of Sighs, Bodleian Library and many other places, Lizzie had historical knowledge and funny stories comming for us from right and left. I highly recommend this tour! And if you get Lizzie as your tour guide you are extra lucky.

Oxford: University and City Walking Tour Reviewed by Anonymous, 06/09/2019

An excellent tour of Oxford university in 90 mins

Eric - our guide - was extremely knowledgeable, well spoken, informative and attentive to his clients. He took us through the tour in an organised manner which flowed effortlessly from one area to another. He answered all questions concisely and without hesitation - he obviously knew his history which actually covered a vast expanse of time. We encountered other guides whilst on our tour and it was noted they were nowhere near as knowledgeable as Eric. We would recommend Eric as a superb guide to Oxford University and surrounding area.

Walking Tour of Oxford and University Reviewed by Paula, 06/07/2019

Enjoyable walk with a very knowledgeable and humorous Edward

It was an absolutely nice walk through beautiful streets and colleges of the Oxford. I was very lucky to have Edward as our tour guide, because he told really a lot about history and traditions of the colleges and students. He showed us plenty of fascinating spots many of which were hidden from larger tourist groups so that we could listen to him undisturbed and fully enjoy the atmosphere. Highly recommended! These 2 hours make you immerse in the culture and spirit of our the world‘s best university!

Oxford: University and Colleges Walking Tour Reviewed by Alexandra, 06/07/2019

Good value for money, informative guide, quality locations to visit.

Better map of Oxford would help. A pamphlet describing sites in Oxford would assist.

Knowledgable guide who was very friendly

My guide was Peter who added a personal touch to the tour my introducing himself and telling the attendees a bit about himself. Everyone got to know the other attendees through questions Peter asked and that helped to break the ice. He was very knowledgeable about the history of Oxford and the making of the Harry Potter movies and showed us around various sites. Everyone could ask as many questions as they wanted and there were plenty of opportunities to take pictures. Peter even had some dressing up clothes in his bag and handed out some yummy cake! What more could you ask for? A brilliant day out with a lovely guide! I will recommend this tour to everyone! Thanks very much!

Oxford: Harry Potter Film Locations Tour Reviewed by Sarah, 06/03/2019