Guided tour

Oxford: Oxford and Empire Walking Tour – by Oxford Students

Activity provider: Uncomfortable Oxford Ltd.
Guided tour

Oxford: Oxford and Empire Walking Tour – by Oxford Students

Activity provider: Uncomfortable Oxford Ltd.

From US$ 22.01 per person

Discover the many historical entanglements between the British Empire, University of Oxford, and academic expertise. This tour highlights the links between learning, knowledge, and colonialism.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund
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Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures are in place. Check your activity voucher once you book for full details.
Duration 1.5 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Live tour guide
Wheelchair accessible


  • Learn about the colonial origins of museum collections and how they transformed how we understand the world
  • Discuss the intersections between sciences, imperialism, and power through the historical foundations of the University of Oxford's fields of study
  • Explore the networks of people that gravitated towards Oxford through the structures of the British Empire, and who later went out to uphold it.
Full description
The Oxford and Empire Walking Tour focuses on the University as an institution that produced knowledge, qualifications, and networks, which found their more durable expression on a global scale. ‘Oxford and Empire’ starts at the Natural History Museum, highlighting the close links between the development of knowledge about the natural world and the early explorations voyages, the start of a documentation of the natural world on European terms. This rise of the sciences within the University courses coincided with the development and rise of the high imperial period in Britain. The Great Evolution Debate took place at the Natural History Museum, and its legacy loomed large with the creation of the Pitt Rivers Museum in a back building shortly after, to host the university’s anthropological collections in a typography which reflected fast developing social Darwinists’ beliefs in a hierarchy of civilisations. The tour thereafter takes us to the Rhodes house, interrogating the origins and legacies of a scholarship made of white men from the colonies, and further questions the imperial origins of a series of faculties in Oxford, such as Geography, Plant Science, and International Development. Ultimately, it is a tour that aims to highlight the complex and reciprocal relationship between Oxford and the Empire, and how it endures through the University's global appeal to this day.
  • Expert Uncomfortable Oxford guide
  • Free uncomfortable Oxford branded Sticker
  • Access to relevant reading list for further learning
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Food and drinks
  • Gratuities

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Meeting point

Meet your guide on the lawn outside the Museum of Natural History on Parks Road. Look for the guide holding a tote bag with the activity provider's name on it.

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Important information

Know before you go

  • The tour includes some street crossings and sections with cobblestones
  • The tour covers about 2 km and lasts 1.5 h
  • On weekends, central streets may be quite busy
  • You can cancel your ticket free of charge up to 24h before the tour. You can change your ticket for a different date free of charge up to 24h before the tour, and at the discretion of the organisers if cancelled last minute.

Product ID: 418559