Top attractions 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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- 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
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What people are saying about Oxford
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.
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.
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.
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.
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