Top attractions in Oxford
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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
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 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?
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
- British Pound (£)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+00:00)
- Country Code
- 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.
Other Sightseeing Options in Oxford
Want to discover all there is to do in Oxford? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Oxford
Great 2 hours spent with our very knowledgeable guide, Trevor, in torrential rain...Trevor kept the stories and history coming to keep our spirits high. The walk was probably a mile or so at most and perfectly split to allow plenty of time for photographs and questions.
It was a wonderful trip around Costwolds and Oxford. The tour guide was absolutely entertainment telling us enjoyable stories about the royalty and countryside. Also give us enough information to visit key points in each part of the trip.
A brilliant walking tour, brought to life by Heidi, our guide. Her knowledge & the way she told the stories was great & very insightful. She was also very helpful on what to do for the rest of the day, highly recommend!
Very informative guide. We were really pleased to have the guide as we wouldn't have known where to start. I'd suggest having the morning tour as all the tickets for the library and halls were sold out in the afternoon.
James was a great tour guide, very knowledgeable, amusing. It was a cold rainy December day and he definitely helped to make it a bit brighter! Good luck with the rest of your studies and for the future.