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Oxford is an amazing, compact city with dreaming spires, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, historic cobbled streets, famous literary connections, the river Thames, and numerous quirky pubs and restaurants – all waiting to be explored. At least 30 international leaders, 26 British Prime Ministers, and 120 Olympic medal winners have studied or taught at the university, and the city has inspired great literary figures including Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, C S Lewis, and Oscar Wilde. The city’s rich history and sensational architecture continue to be a source of inspiration for the city’s scholars and residents today, and make this a magical place that you will want to return to time and time again.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Like a Local

16 Places

7 City Tips

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Map

16 Places

Day 1

City Sightseeing Oxford

Bus Tours, Cultural Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours, Hop-On Hop-Off Tours

University of Oxford

Educational sites

The Bear Inn

Restaurants

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Speciality Museums

Bodleian Library

Architectural Buildings, Libraries

The Turf Tavern

Restaurants

Day 2

Oxford Castle & Prison

Points of Interest & Landmarks, History Museums, Historical & Heritage Tours, Historic Sites, Castles

Oxford Covered Market

Flea & Street Markets

Mini Plant Oxford

Factory Tours

Oxford Playhouse

Theatres

Day 3

Iffley Lock

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Oxford Town Hall

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Architectural Buildings

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Natural History Museums

University of Oxford Botanic Garden

Gardens

The Old Bookbinders Ale House

Restaurants

Sarah F's City Tips

  • If you have to drive to Oxford, leave your car at a "park and ride" on the outskirts of the city, and take the shuttle bus service from there.
  • If you’re a newbie to Oxford, take the tourist bus to get around the main attractions and find your bearings.
  • It's customary to tip in restaurants (about 10-15%), but not so in bars – although you can leave the change or offer to buy the bartender a drink if the service was really good.
  • Oxford city centre is easy to walk around and many of the top attractions are in the heart of the city.
  • Watch out for cyclists – there are thousands of them!
  • Don’t even think about driving in the centre of the city, there’s very little parking.
  • Oxford is always busy. Even in summer when the university students have left, you’ll find the city is full of foreign language students.
    Day 1
  • City Sightseeing Oxford
    Bus Tours, Cultural Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours, Hop-On Hop-Off Tours
    Sarah F Says:

    The simplest way to explore Oxford is on the top deck of one of the tourist buses. These take you to all the major attractions, including the university colleges such as Christ Church and Magdalen, as well as to the city's museums, botanical gardens, and town hall. You can hop on and off the bus as often as you like, so you can visit any of the attractions that catch your interest during the tour; plus there’s a running commentary, so you'll learn plenty of interesting facts about the buildings you pass and about Oxford in general as you travel.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • If you stay on the bus for the entire journey it takes about 60 minutes.
    • You can buy a ticket valid for 24 or 48 hours.
    • The buses run from 9.30am to 6pm in the summer, and until 4pm in winter.
    • Sit on the top deck of the bus at the front for the best views of those famous Oxford buildings.
    • If you plan to hop on and off to go sightseeing, start early in the day so you have time to get around everything. The buses don't run in the evening.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #18 of 51 Tours in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great way to learn about the city 03/11/2018
    • Great orientation of the city 20/10/2018
    • City Sightseeing Oxford
    Address:
    Oxford Railway Station Park End Street
    Oxford OX1 1HS
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 790522
    Other:
  • University of Oxford
    Educational sites
    See more photos
    Sarah F Says:

    Oxford’s beautiful university buildings are architectural gems with their spires and historic courtyards. Each college has its own rich history and amazing architecture, and it's fabulous just to wander around these and imagine all the great minds which have been sharpened at Oxford. Although it’s impossible to visit every college, those definitely worth seeing are the 15th century All Souls College, with its Gothic towers and sundial built by Sir Christopher Wren; and Christ Church, with its seven-tonne tower bell and Great Hall, which featured in the Harry Potter films.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Magdalen is Oxford's wealthiest and prettiest college, complete with a deer park, and was the inspiration for novels by C S Lewis.
    • You may not be allowed into some of the colleges during exam times.
    • Talk a walk through Port Meadow or Christ Church Meadow for timeless views of the colleges and the River Thames.
    • There are plenty of historic pubs and good restaurants in the area. Quaint pubs include the Turf Tavern, Bear Inn and Far From The Madding Crowd.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 143 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Absolutely beautiful 17/11/2018
    • University of Oxford 08/11/2018
    • University of Oxford
    Address:
    University Offices 1 Wellington Square
    Oxford OX1 2JD
    England
    Phone:
    011-33-1865-270-396
    Other:
  • The Bear Inn
    Restaurants (Bar, British, Pub, Gastropub)
    See more photos
    Sarah F Says:

    The Bear Inn lays claim to being Oxford’s oldest pub, and it’s definitely worth popping in if only to see the collection of college ties on the wall. It’s a charming little pub with a beer garden, a fine selection of real ales, and home-cooked foods made with fresh, local produce.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Food is served from 12pm to 9pm every day.
    • It’s a quaint little pub so it’s a good idea to reserve a table if you want to eat here.
    • The pub is in the heart of the city centre on the corner of Blue Boar Street and Alfred Street (just off the High Street).
    • Don’t worry if you can’t get in; Oxford has plenty of other historic pubs to visit.
    • Do try the pies or the roast on Sundays.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #52 of 557 restaurants in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Ideal if you want a traditional Oxford experience 18/11/2018
    • Nice Boozer 31/10/2018
    • The Bear Inn
    Address:
    6 Alfred Street
    Oxford OX1 4EH
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 728164
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:30 - 22:30
    Mon - Thu
    11:00 - 23:00
    Fri - Sat
    11:00 - 00:00
    Other:
  • Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Sarah F Says:

    An interesting collection of art and archaeological discoveries from around the world – including those from the Ancient Greece and Rome civilisations – are housed within the formidable Ashmolean Museum building. You can see drawings by Michelangelo and Leonardo de Vinci, paintings by Picasso, Oliver Cromwell's death mask, biblical manuscripts, and the Messiah Stradivarius violin among other curiosities.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The museum is open from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday, and on Bank Holidays.
    • Entrance is free.
    • There is a café and a restaurant here but the nearby historic pubs are more interesting.
    • If you want to see drawings by Michelangelo and Raphael, you’ll need to ask for an appointment.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 143 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Thought there would be more ash 20/11/2018
    • Great array of art. 20/11/2018
    • Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
    Address:
    Ashmolean Museum Beaumont Street
    Oxford OX1 2PH
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 278000
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Bodleian Library
    Architectural Buildings, Libraries
    See more photos
    Sarah F Says:

    An incredible collection of literary wonders can be found in the beautiful Bodleian Library. You can see Shakespeare’s manuscripts, illustrated medieval books, and Kenneth Grahame's delightful Wind In The Willows among the 200,000-plus books, pictures, sculptures and other interesting items on display here. There's even a stuffed crocodile!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • I recommend taking the one-hour tour to learn about the library’s history and collection.
    • It is a working library so you’ll need to be quiet.
    • There is a shop which has lovely souvenirs and gifts.
    • Make time to visit the Radcliffe Camera reading rooms too, which is another beautiful historic building.
    • The library is in Broad Street, near to the Ashmolean Museum, so you can visit both on the same day.
    • During term time the library is open from Mon-Fri 9am-10pm, Sat 10am-4pm, and Sun 11am-5pm. During the holidays it is open Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, and Sat 10am-4pm.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 143 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Tolkien Exhibit 20/11/2018
    • Wonderful historic library 19/11/2018
    • Bodleian Library
    Address:
    Bodleian Library Broad Street
    Oxford OX1 3BG
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 287400
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 - 17:00
    Mon - Sat
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • The Turf Tavern
    Restaurants (Bar, British, Pub)
    See more photos
    Sarah F Says:

    Head down a lovely little cobbled street to find the incredibly popular Turf Tavern. Many celebrities and politicians have sunk a pint or two in this fine inn, and you can really feel Oxford's important history in this part of the city.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Fantastic range of food here, from snacks to delicious three-course meals.
    • If you want food, it is best to book a table as this is a very busy pub.
    • The pub is in Bath Place just off Holywell Street.
    • There is a beer garden and it’s family-friendly, but it's always busy too!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #72 of 557 restaurants in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Cool pub 20/11/2018
    • Historic pub 20/11/2018
    • The Turf Tavern
    Address:
    4-5 Bath Place
    Oxford OX1 3SU
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 243235
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 - 22:30
    Mon - Sat
    11:00 - 23:15
    Other:
  • Day 2
  • Oxford Castle & Prison
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, History Museums, Historical & Heritage Tours, Historic Sites, Castles
    See more photos
    Sarah F Says:

    It's definitely worth a little trip to see this incredible Norman castle. Much of the castle was destroyed during the English Civil War, and it then became Oxford's prison, before closing in 1996 and being reborn as part posh hotel, part gallery, bar and restaurant hub. Climb the tower, explore the crypt, and then head into the Malmaison Oxford Hotel – as part of the converted castle is now known – where you can see some of the former cells which have been transformed into hotel rooms!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The guided tour is great fun, especially if you want to hear about the gruesome treatment of the prisoners in times gone by.
    • Climb the Saxon St George's Tower for amazing city views. (Under-5s less than 92cms tall are not allowed).
    • Go underground into the creepy 900-year-old crypt!
    • Explore the part of the castle that has been transformed into a hub of bars, restaurants and an art gallery.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 20 Museums in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Intriguing Oxenfordia History 20/11/2018
    • Oxford Showcase day for Group Travel Organisers 18/11/2018
    • Oxford Castle & Prison
    Address:
    46 Oxford Castle New Road
    Oxford Castle Quarter
    Oxford OX1 1AY
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 260666
    Price range:
    US$1,150 - US$1,150
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:30
    Other:
  • Oxford Covered Market
    Flea & Street Markets
    See more photos
    Sarah F Says:

    Foodies and historians will enjoy sampling life inside Oxford’s historic covered market. This 18th century market has a rich history which you can still experience as you wander through the stalls there today. Here, you can buy fine foods such as cheese, fruit and veg, fish and meat, as well as browse clothing, jewellery, home furnishings and beauty products. The covered market is in the centre of Oxford, making it a convenient pit-stop, with entrances on the High Street, Market Street, and the Golden Cross in Corn Market.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Open from 8am to 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.
    • A great place to buy local produce, or to enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants situated here.
    • The market can get crowded so watch your belongings.
    • Ben's Cookies is in the covered market, which in my opinion are the tastiest cookies in Oxford!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 143 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Well worth a vist 16/11/2018
    • Little gen 12/11/2018
    • Oxford Covered Market
    Address:
    Market Street
    Oxford OX1 3DZ
    England
    Hours:
    Sun
    10:00 - 16:00
    Mon - Sat
    08:00 - 17:30
    Other:
  • Mini Plant Oxford
    Factory Tours
    Sarah F Says:

    Oxford is where the iconic Minis are built. Now owned by BMW, you can take a tour of the factory in Cowley to see how these beautiful cars are put together. It's incredible to see the robots, and makes for an amazing and unusual tour.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Great tour for Mini owners and fans alike!
    • Plenty of parking is available at the factory.
    • Visitors are not allowed to bring food or drinks inside.
    • Minimum age to enter the factory is 14; 14-18-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult.
    • Book your tour online in advance.
    • Tours are offered from Monday to Friday and last about 2 hours 30 minutes.
    • You must wear comfortable shoes as high heels and open-toe sandals are not allowed.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 51 Tours in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • An interesting experience :) 20/11/2018
    • Brilliant value and a great insight 19/11/2018
    • Mini Plant Oxford
    Address:
    Eastern Bypass Road
    Cowley
    Oxford OX4 6NL
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 825750
    Price range:
    US$28 - US$28
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    08:30 - 20:00
    Other:
  • Oxford Playhouse
    Theatres
    See more photos
    Sarah F Says:

    With numerous literary giants finding inspiration in Oxford across many centuries, a trip to the theatre to continue the literary theme is a great way to wind down the day. The Oxford Playhouse is a charming, old-fashioned theatre which puts on a variety of plays, comedy acts and pantomimes.

    Good for
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The Playhouse is opposite the Ashmolean Museum.
    • There are plenty of bars and restaurants near the Playhouse so you can enjoy pre-theatre drinks or dinner. One good pre-theatre dinner option is Jamie's Italian (the popular chain owned by famous British chef, Jamie Oliver).
    • The Playhouse is a two-minute walk from the Oxford bus and coach station, and 10 minutes from the train station.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #42 of 143 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great venue 09/11/2018
    • Enjoying British theatre 20/06/2018
    • Oxford Playhouse
    Address:
    11-12 Beaumont Street
    Oxford OX1 2LW
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 305305
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    10:00 - 22:30
    Other:
  • Day 3
  • Iffley Lock
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Sarah F Says:

    Iffley Lock on the River Thames in Oxford has an olde worlde charm, taking you back to a more peaceful era. The lock was built in the 17th century and is a beautiful sight, surrounded by trees in an area brimming with wildlife. While you're here, also take the time to visit the ancient Iffley Meadows, a beautiful nature haven full of fritillaries in spring-time, and a whole host of bird life.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It’s a lovely stroll from Oxford city centre to Iffley Lock. Perfect for a peaceful Sunday morning.
    • While at Iffley, wander around the medieval village which has a pretty Norman church with stained glass windows, as well as several pubs.
    • Stop at the Isis Tavern by the lock to watch the rowers on the water.
    • You can park your car in the village and walk to the lock.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #15 of 143 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • So pretty! 27/10/2018
    • A delightful part of Oxford 17/10/2018
    • Iffley Lock
    Phone:
    +44 1865 777277
    Other:
  • Oxford Town Hall
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Architectural Buildings
    See more photos
    Sarah F Says:

    This impressive Victorian building is where local government officials work, as well as housing the registrar office for civil weddings, a coffee bar and the Museum of Oxford (great for those wanting to learn more about the history of this important city). It’s an architectural masterpiece, even by Oxford’s high standards, and its grand main hall and staircase are certainly worth a peek at the very least.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Many events and exhibitions are held here so keep an eye out in the local press such as the Oxford Mail.
    • Fabulous venue for your wedding and other social events.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #34 of 143 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Interesting architecture 28/10/2018
    • a really beautiful building 22/10/2018
    • Oxford Town Hall
    Address:
    Town Hall St. Aldates
    Oxford OX1 1BX
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 252195
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    08:00 - 19:00
    Sat
    10:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Oxford University Museum of Natural History
    Natural History Museums
    See more photos
    Sarah F Says:

    The Oxford Dodo, dinosaurs and the swifts in the tower are just some of the many delights in the city's natural history museum. Housed in a beautiful historic building, the museum has fabulous fossils and other artefacts, bound to entertain all the family.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Entrance is free.
    • It’s open from 10am to 5pm every day.
    • There’s a museum café overlooking the dinosaurs.
    • Great place to visit on a rainy weekend in Oxford.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 143 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Museum of Natural History 19/11/2018
    • Oasis for families ( and the rest) 17/11/2018
    • Oxford University Museum of Natural History
    Address:
    Museum of Natural History Parks Road
    Oxford OX1 3PW
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 272950
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • University of Oxford Botanic Garden
    Gardens
    See more photos
    Sarah F Says:

    Relax in the oldest botanical gardens in the world, where you can explore two colourful walled gardens and visit the seven glasshouses which cultivate plants from around the world.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Dogs are not allowed.
    • The gardens are open from 9am to 6pm, May to August. They close at 5pm during September, October, March and April, and at 4pm, November to February.
    • The gardens may close at short notice during bad weather.
    • The gardens close on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
    • You can take a guided tour which is worth doing to find out more about the gardens and their plants.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #23 of 143 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • An ancient treasure…. 16/11/2018
    • Beautiful 14/11/2018
    • University of Oxford Botanic Garden
    Address:
    Rose Lane
    Oxford OX1 4AZ
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 286690
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 16:00
    Other:
  • The Old Bookbinders Ale House
    Restaurants (French, Bar, Pub)
    See more photos
    Sarah F Says:

    Just off the city centre is the delightful Jericho district where you will find The Old Bookbinders Ale House. It has the feel of a traditional British pub with the bonus of serving fabulous food.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • It’s a dog and child-friendly pub.
    • Good range of real ales – ask the landlord if you don't know which one to try.
    • The pub is in Victor Street just off Walton Street in Jericho.
    • You can walk along the canal path from Hythe Bridge Street to the pub.
    • There’s very little parking in Jericho but the bus stops outside the pub.
    • Try the fish soup with garlic croutons, a savoury crepe, or one of the tasty home-made burgers.
    • Open 4pm to midnight, Tuesday and Wednesday; midday to midnight, Thursday to Saturday; and midday to 11pm on Sunday.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 557 restaurants in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Waiters 18/11/2018
    • What a wonderful place. 13/11/2018
    • The Old Bookbinders Ale House
    Address:
    17-18 Victor Street
    Jericho
    Oxford OX2 6BT
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 553549
    Price range:
    US$9 - US$23
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 - 23:00
    Other:
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