Grandeur and historical past in our favorite issues to do in Oxford


Oxford is constructed on grand historical past and energised by a thriving pupil inhabitants. Discover the perfect issues to do in Oxford and some native experiences to profit from this enthralling English metropolis.

There’s an unmistakable attraction to Oxford that greets you the second you make contact with the small laneways and cobbled streets. Historical past, custom and English grandeur mix in an historical golden-hued centre saved younger and fashionable by the 25,000 college students looking for to determine their future in one of the crucial well-known college cities on the earth.

This mixture of historical past and youthful ambition has created a number of great issues to do in Oxford.

Expertise the majesty and grand structure of among the most illustrious schools within the nation. Uncover pupil life inside medieval libraries and conventional pubs. Experience world-class artwork or get lively with some wonderful wild swimming on the Thames only a stone’s throw from the centre of city.

From the city that gave the world the mass manufacturing of penicillin, lithium-ion batteries, 28 British Prime Ministers, 160 Olympic medals and naturally, the COVID-19 vaccine, right here is our listing of the perfect issues to do in Oxford.

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/ JUMP AHEAD – THINGS TO DO IN OXFORD
OXFORD COLLEGES
BODLEIAN LIBRARY
RADCLIFFE CAMERA
COVERED MARKET
BLACKWELL’S BOOKSHOP
BRIDGE OF SIGHS
OXFORD MUSEUMS
MERTON STREET
RIVER CHERWELL
OXFORD PUBS
PORT MEADOW
OXFORD AT NIGHT

1 – EXPLORE THE BEST OF OXFORD COLLEGES

The oldest college within the English talking world, Oxford consists of thirty-nine schools unfold all through town. Many of those schools will not be solely the lifeblood of pupil exercise but in addition magnificent architectural gems. You’d be hard-pressed to go to all of them so right here’s among the finest.

CHRIST CHURCH COLLEGE

The grandest and wealthiest of the universities, Christ Church was based in 1546 by King Henry VIII, and has educated 13 prime ministers. The faculty chapel doubles because the Cathedral of Oxford with all the required ornamentation befitting its titles. The eating corridor was the seat of parliament in the course of the English Civil Conflict and extra lately, the inspiration behind the eating room in Harry Potter. 

MAGDALEN COLLEGE

Magdalen College takes up a commanding place on the banks of the Cherwell, a strategic location that gave it tactical significance in the course of the English Civil Conflict. At present, this grand previous school with picture-perfect quads and luxurious gardens is among the finest issues to do in Oxford. Image C.S. Lewis having fun with the grand previous eating corridor earlier than visiting the intricate chapel.

EXETER COLLEGE

Bang within the centre of city on pretty Turl Road, Exeter School is smaller and fewer grand than Christ Church and Magdalen, and it’s free to enter. Nevertheless it was ok for Lord of the Rings writer, J.R.R. Tolkien, who was a previous pupil. The chapel is gorgeous, however the spotlight is the spectacular views over the Radcliffe Digital camera and the Bodleian Library.

2 – JOIN A TOUR OF THE BODLEIAN LIBRARY

As one of many oldest libraries in Europe with over 13 million printed objects, the Bodleian Library is among the most enthralling issues to do in Oxford. There are a number of excursions to select from, however the perfect is the 1-hour tour together with the Duke Humfrey’s Library.

This tour visits the Divinity Faculty (the oldest instructing room within the college), the Convocation Home (which acted as parliament within the 17th century) and the Chancellor’s Courtroom (the place responsible college students have been punished over the centuries).

However the spotlight is the Duke Humfrey’s Library, an atmospheric studying room lined with medieval books chained to wood-panelled partitions. It’s so impressively previous and musty that it was used as Hogwarts Library within the Harry Potter Movies.

3 – TAKE IN VIEWS OF THE RADCLIFFE CAMERA

Whereas the grand virtually semi-spherical Radcliffe Digital camera is a part of the Bodleian Library, not many excursions cease right here. So be sure to head to Radcliffe Sq. to savour this outstanding constructing.

Radiating from the dome-shaped architectural gem, smoothed cobbled stones separate the Radcliffe Digital camera from the best assortment of buildings within the metropolis. Previous Bodleian is to the north, Previous Soul’s School to the east, Brasenose School to the west and Church of the St. Mary Virgin to the south. Absorbing the scene in Radcliffe Sq. is among the finest issues to do in Oxford.  

For a good higher vista, take the 127 steps up the St. Mary Virgin Church tower. Relationship from 1280, it’s a gem in itself, however it’s the view from the highest that steals the present. Timed slots could be booked here.

4 – STROLL THE OXFORD COVERED MARKET

Serving individuals for nearly 250 years, the stalls of the lined market vary from grocers, butchers and fishmongers to boutiques promoting artwork, aromatics and hats. Potter across the warehouse-style market and absorb the buzzing retail-inspired environment of this central Oxford location.

Simply exterior the market on Market Road pop into Objects of Use; a homewares retailer teeming with beautifully-designed on a regular basis objects.

Again contained in the market, we extremely advocate the espresso at Columbia Espresso Roasters, who supply, roast and brew their very own beans. Their flat white is textured to perfection and the salted caramel brownie is the perfect accompaniment to ponder the remaining issues to do in Oxford.

5 – GET LOST IN BLACKWELL’S BOOK SHOP

Blackwell’s Bookshop has been offering college students with psychological stimulation for over 140 years. It started as solely 12 sq. toes, however slowly took over the neighbouring outlets to develop into the huge cavern it’s at the moment. Along with educational books and fashionable classics, Blackwell’s additionally has an enormous choice of posters, music and specialist uncommon books.

E-book lovers spend hours getting misplaced within the aisles of Blackwell’s. However there may be additionally a daily calendar of ebook signings, youngsters’s workshops, discussions and ebook launches.

There are two Blackwell’s in Oxford. The unique on Broad Road and a more recent retailer in Westgate Procuring Centre which additionally shares stationery, playing cards, video games and toys.

6 – STARE UP AT THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS

Similar to the Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge, the Oxford model has nothing to do with the well-known bridge in Venice. This one no less than began life with an unique title, Hertford Bridge. It was accomplished in 1914 to attach two sections of Hertford School over New School Lane.

Legend has it {that a} well being survey of Oxford college students discovered Hertford School to be incumbered with the heaviest weight. So the faculty closed off the bridge that hyperlinks the quads to power them to take get extra train. It’s not true, however it’s a very good soundbite for strolling excursions on the lookout for one thing to say as they information vacationers previous this ornate footbridge.

On that observe, try to go to early within the morning when the road will likely be much less jammed with individuals admiring the attractive design.

7 – VISIT ONE OF THE WORLD CLASS MUSEUMS

As a seat of studying, Oxford is blessed with some really nice museums, every with a special focus. From classics to contemporaries, quirky artefacts to the downright bizarre listed below are some museums to not be missed in Oxford.

ASHMOLEAN MUSEUM

The Ashmolean reopened in 2009 after an enormous refurbishment and at the moment it’s probably the greatest issues to do in Oxford. Inside its basic exterior, the modernised area has an enormous assortment of archaeological specimens and tremendous artwork. Discover drawings by Michelangelo, Raphael and da Vinci, and work by well-known names from Rubens by means of to Picasso. The Greek and Minoan pottery is great as is the gathering of historical statues.

PITT RIVER’S MUSEUM

Much less classical and quirkier, the Pitt River’s Museum incorporates an enormous assortment of unusual objects from all around the world. With a deal with cultural anthropological treasures, discover something from Japanese Noh Masks to Hawaiian feather cloaks. The show on early human tattoos is especially engrossing. And slightly gross.

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

Subsequent door to the Pitt River’s Museum is the Oxford College of Natural History. Beneath a big sq. glass roof supported by grand cast-iron pillars, the museum homes an unlimited array of minerals, rocks, fossils and remnants of historic animals. Whereas the rock part requires a sure disposition, youngsters will love the dodo and dinosaurs.

MODERN ART MUSEUM

A relative newcomer in an previous metropolis, Modern Art Oxford is free to enter and homes an eclectic array of recent artwork in a small, clear area. Common rotating exhibitions means it’s a lottery as to what you’ll see, however for contemporary artwork followers, it by no means appears to disappoint.

8 – STROLL MERTON STREET & CHRIST CHURCH MEADOW

Oxford is a fascinating metropolis with hidden nooks bursting with historical past. Probably the greatest is Merton Road, an atmospheric cobbled lane full of attention-grabbing issues to do in Oxford.

Begin on the intricately adorned Examination Faculties, the place annually, anxious college students pile in to sit down their finals. Subsequent, amble previous the universities lined up alongside this stunning avenue. First up is Merton School, adopted by Corpus Christi and, lastly Oriel School.

After popping into the universities, proceed on to Merton Fields and Christchurch Meadow, two pretty inexperienced areas in Oxford. The views of the previous and new constructing from the gardens are gorgeous.

9 – PUNT ON THE RIVER CHERWELL

Punting is the difficult artwork of utilizing a protracted pole (quant pole) to propel a small wood boat (punt) alongside the mild shifting waters of the River Cherwell. The river is ready in meadow, parks and woodland, so punting is a kind of peaceable issues to do in Oxford, and a good way to get one other side of town.

Carry a picnic, some beers or bubbles and check out your hand at punting. However be warned, it’s tougher than it seems.

The opposite possibility is to rent somebody to do the punting for you. Essentially the most central location to rent a ship is on the Magdalen Bridge Boathouse subsequent to Magdalen School. Punts take as much as 5 individuals and price £25 an hour. Chauffeured punts are £35 for half-hour. For all the main points, go to Oxford Punting (however come again right here to complete this listing.)

10 – GRAB A PINT IN A CLASSIC OXFORD PUB

A correct Oxford schooling entails many lengthy hours debating righteous ideas inside cosy pubs. Listed below are among the finest pubs in Oxford.

THE TURF TAVERN

A private favorite from my pupil days in Oxford, The Turf Tavern sits on the finish of a slim winding lane subsequent to one of many few remaining sections of the previous metropolis partitions. Relationship again to 1381, a warren of rooms kind cosy nooks, very best on chilly winter days. The nice and the nice have hunched underneath the low beams of the bar on the Turf. Bob Hawke (former Australian Prime Minister) ingloriously broke the world report for ingesting a yard of ale right here in 11 seconds in 1963.

THE BEAR INN

That is one other atmospheric gem tucked into the again streets of Oxford. Relationship again to 1242, The Bear Inn, is among the oldest pubs in Oxford. However what units it aside is the over 4,500 neck ties pinned to the partitions. Every comes from a special membership, staff or college from anyplace internationally, creating a really sporty old-world really feel.

THE KING’S HEAD

The King’s Head is a pupil favorite with lengthy wood benches on wooden flooring. The ales are good, and the service is fast. The 2 high-backed chairs by the home windows overlooking Holywell Road have been utilized by many to plot world domination, stoke delusions of grandeur or plan the following nice listing of issues to do in Oxford.

11 – PICNIC, SWIM AND STROLL AT PORT MEADOW

Port Meadow is an historical grazing land that allegedly has not been ploughed for 4,000 years. It’s a grazing space for horses and cattle, and a haven for wildflowers and birdlife drawn to the river that runs alongside its boundary.

On a summer time’s day, it’s a improbable spot to picnic simply 25 minutes’ stroll from the centre of Oxford. Carry your gear and bounce within the river for a wild swim. Take a protracted quiet paddle out from the banks, or be a part of the youngsters leaping in from the bridge the place the River Thames meets the Fort Mill Stream.

On the finish of the day, head to the Trout Inn, superbly set by the drifting waters of the river, or to The Perch, the Seventeenth-century pub tucked into the village of Binsey.

To assist put a few of our favorite issues to do in Oxford collectively in a day, prepared our day trip to Oxford guide.

12 – ENJOY AN EVENING OF ENTERTAINMENT UNIQUE TO OXFORD

As a thriving college city, there’s no scarcity of issues to do in Oxford within the night. Nevertheless, for one thing slightly bit totally different, listed below are 3 experiences which can be distinctive to Oxford.

EVENSONG

There’s no higher solution to experiencing the grandeur of an Oxford school than by being absorbed within the ceremony of evensong. Beginning within the early night, Evensong lasts about 40 minutes the place you’ll be uplifted by heavenly choirs and beautiful structure. Even for the non-religious, it’s one of the crucial evocative issues to do in Oxford. We advocate Christ Church, Magdalen or New School.

OLD FIRE STATION THEATRE

The Previous Fireplace Station Constructing is half theatre and half disaster assist for the homeless. It creates a singular public area for all residents of Oxford whereas additionally offering up to date artwork, drama and music. With comedy, theatre, improv, dance, spoken phrase performances, and LGBTQ+ workshops, there’s one thing for everyone on the Previous Fireplace Station Theatre.

SHELDONIAN THEATRE

The magnificent constructing is cause sufficient to return right here solely. Used because the official ceremonial corridor of Oxford College, in the course of the day The Sheldonian holds commencement ceremonies and different necessary college capabilities. However at night time it typically turns right into a theatre. A curved auditorium of wooden-panelled seating overlooks a stage internet hosting high class drama or classical music.

OTHER THINGS TO DO IN OXFORD

There’s at all times loads of issues to do in Oxford. Listed below are a couple of extra concepts that don’t fairly make our high 12, however are nonetheless value a glance should you’ve acquired some additional time.

OXFORD CASTLE AND PRISON

A lot of this Norman medieval citadel was destroyed within the English Civil Conflict however bizarrely the St. George’s Tower that continues to be is believed to be a watch tower from Saxon occasions. The remnants of the remainder of the citadel have been transformed into a jail and each now make up the Fort & Jail vacationer attraction.

It’s a bit crammed in on all sides by buying centres and council buildings, however the tour guides do a very good job of bringing it alive. Bear in mind there are many steps up and down the towers.

OXFORD BOTANIC GARDENS

The Oxford Botanic Garden incorporates over 5,000 plant species making it one of the crucial numerous plant collections on the earth. Based in 1621 it was the UK’s first botanic backyard. Being situated centrally within the metropolis, it’s one of many very accessible issues to do in Oxford. Enter by means of the spectacular Danby Gateway and be sure to don’t miss the walled backyard.

THIRSTY MEEPLES

Embrace the quirkier aspect of Oxford at Thirsty Meeples Board Video games Café. Pay a small cowl cost, then play as many board video games as you want from their assortment of two,700 titles. The cafe has a big choice of drinks and meals you’ll be able to maintain in a single hand in order to not distract from the necessary enterprise of profitable.

OTHER COLLEGES TO VISIT

When you’ve got time, the opposite Oxford Schools value popping into are New School, for the moody cloisters; Trinity School, for among the grandest gardens in Oxford; and Corpus Christi for the timeless cobbled sq..

All opening occasions for the Oxford schools are summarised here.  

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN OXFORD

As a thriving college city there no scarcity of nice locations to seize a chunk in Oxford. Listed below are a few of our favorite locations to eat, drink and be merry in Oxford.

BREAKFAST

THE HANDLE BAR CAFÉ

Situated above a motorcycle store, the quirky cycle-inspired decor and attention-grabbing brunch menu is a good introduction to the hipster aspect of Oxford.


COFFEE

SOCIETY CAFÉ

As a college city fuelled on espresso, Oxford has its share of nice cafes. Society Café will get our nod for his or her expertly crafted brews and glossy fashionable area.


LUNCH

THE TURL STREET KITCHEN

Turl Road Kitchen serves up stylish dishes with a deal with sustainability. In addition they assist social initiatives inside Oxford and show works by native artists. They’ve an amazing choice of vegetarian choices.


DINNER

ASHMOLEAN ROOFTOP RESTAURANT

Located above the museum, the Ashmolean Rooftop Eating places ship well-prepared dishes in a spectacular setting.


AFTER

RAOUL’S BAR

Chill out within the stylish pupil neighbourhood with an expertly crafted cocktail within the dimly lit lounge at Raoul’s Bar. To take the ability residence with you, subscribe to considered one of their cocktail courses.

BEST DAY TRIPS FROM OXFORD

When you can drag your self away from the various wonderful issues to do in Oxford, then right here is our decide of the perfect day journeys from town.

BLENHEIM PALACE

A grand constructing surrounded by magnificent, landscaped gardens, it was briefly the house of Winston Churchill and the one place to be referred to as a palace that isn’t a royal residence. It’s a 20-minute drive or across the similar time on the S3 bus from Oxford.

COTSWOLDS VILLAGES 

In underneath a 30-minute drive you could be in among the most picturesque chocolate field villages in England. Honey-coloured homes alongside babbling brooks; it doesn’t get extra quintessentially British than this.

RIVER THAMES

South of Oxford the principle department of the River Thames winds its means by means of the charming North Wessex Downs. Stroll alongside the riverbanks, discover the cities of Henley and Marlow and discover a peaceable a part of the river to pop in for a swim.

BOOK AHEAD / BEST THINGS TO DO IN OXFORD

Oxford can get very busy, particularly over the height summer time interval, so it’s a good suggestion to ebook a couple of issues upfront to save lots of you ready round in queues.

A tour with a pupil information is a good way to get the within scoop on one of many schools, whereas the Harry Potter stroll takes you previous all of the places made well-known by the movies.

2-HOUR UNIVERSITY TOUR – BOOK ONLINE
HARRY POTTER FILM SITES – BOOK ONLINE
TOUR FROM LONDON – BOOK ONLINE
BODLEIAN LIBRARY – BOOK ONLINE
CHRIST CHURCH COLLEGE – BOOK ONLINE

THINGS TO DO IN OXFORD – WHERE TO STAY

As a preferred hub for vacationers to the UK, lodging in Oxford could be costly. A fantastic possibility fairly than staying in Oxford is to discover a place to remain within the Cotswolds. Inside half-hour from town, you possibly can be staying in an atmospheric previous nation pub. All our advice are lined in our information to the perfect places to stay in the Cotswolds.

Alternatively, listed below are some are some concepts for the place to remain in Oxford.


5-STAR LUXURY

OLD PARSONAGE

The stylish nation home really feel of the Previous Parsonage has a heat and pleasant vibe that hits the spot with guests on the lookout for a mix of luxurious and character.


CONTEMPORARY B&B

THE GALAXIE

The Galaxie is a pleasant, family-run guesthouse in a leafy suburb simply exterior the centre of Oxford with a hearty full English breakfast.


QUIRKY & AFFORDABLE

THE OSNEY ARMS

At only a 10-minute stroll to the centre of Oxford, the Osney Arms is a good, budget-friendly possibility with shiny clear rooms and a seize and go breakfast.

HOW TO GET TO OXFORD

A mere 65 miles west of central London, Oxford is straightforward to go to on a day journey with frequent public transport choices to the centre of city. You may additionally incorporate it on a UK rail route gathering a number of different historic centres.

It’s additionally simple to drive to Oxford, nevertheless, parking is tough so we recommend you are taking advance of the park & journey.

BY BUS

The Oxford Tube bus service leaves from London’s Victoria Station each 20 minutes and collects passengers at Marble Arch, Baker Road, Notting Hill Gate and Shepherd’s Bush underground stations. The journey takes round 1 hour and 40 minutes. The bus station is a 2-minute stroll to the centre of city.

BY TRAIN

Trains go away from London Paddington each half-hour and take round 1 hour. The practice station is a 10-minute stroll into the centre of Oxford. The simplest solution to see all the perfect issues to do in Oxford is through the practice.

BY CAR

When you’ve got your personal automobile it takes round 1 hour and half-hour to drive to Oxford on the M40. There are Park & Journey companies on the outskirts of the centre, so that you don’t have to pay for, or stress about, getting parking within the metropolis centre (which isn’t simple and costly).

MORE BRITAIN READING

We’ve spent plenty of time exploring Britain, from rain-soaked outings within the Lake District to strolling historic centres. Listed below are some extra of our guides from our residence nation together with fashionable iconic sights and lesser-known hidden gems. For concepts on the best way to go to Oxford on a day journey, learn our 1-day itinerary.

JURASSIC COAST

How to spend a few days visiting Dorset’s Jurassic Coast

The best ways to visit and photograph Old Harry Rocks, Dorset

Where to stay on the Jurassic Coast

THE COTSWOLDS

Our favourite things to do in the Cotswolds to inspire your next trip

Explore the best of the Cotswolds on these six circular walks

Skip the beach and head to great swimming spots on the Thames

LAKE DISTRICT

Walk Scafell Pike via the Corridor Route for a top Lake District hike

9 adventurous activities to try in the Lake District

Our pick of the finest walks & scrambles in the Lake District





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