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Top Tours & Activities in Oxford

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo: Deb Harkness@flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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.

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.

Punting

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 Oxford 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?

Getting around

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

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    British Pound (£)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+00:00)
  • Country Code
    +44
  • 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.

Things to Do in Oxford

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

Barry was brilliant- please give him a HUGE raise.

We had a wonderful day. Barry is a fantastic guide- hilarious and knowledgable and made a great trip wonderful. I will certainly book another trip with Anderson the next time we're in the U.K. And I will be highly recommending it to friends. Thanks guys.

Very informative and the right sort of length.

Our Guide had very good presence and kept everyone's attention completely. We saw an amazing amount of sites in such a relatively short space of time, but didn't feel at all rushed. He managed to show us into 2 amazing college chapels and dining halls which was lucky as several were closed for exams. He also gave us info outside numerous other sites such as St Mary's church and The Bodlean library, which then inspired us to go and look further ourselves. Just the right ratio of walking and talking. Would thoroughly recommend for anyone visiting Oxford who is interested in the history of the city and wants to know a little bit about the amazing buildings. Really enjoyed the experience.

Walking Tour of Oxford and University Reviewed by caroline, 01/16/2017

Really interesting, excellent, knowledgeable guide.

Our guide Peter was great. It was a very wet day, but he remained upbeat and gave us a good tour. He answered all our questions and despite the weather he took his time and didn't rush us.

Private ILoveOxford Walking Tour Reviewed by Sylvia Ann, 11/29/2016

Easily arranged, comprehensive, informative and well paced!

Excellent tour of the Oxford Colleges. Our guide was good fun, very knowledgeable and provided great guidance to maximize our few hours in this beautiful place. No hesitation in recommending!

Private ILoveOxford Walking Tour Reviewed by Kevin, 11/04/2016

Getting on the sightseeing bus at the station was a great asset.

Were very pleased with the bus tour, especially being able to get on and off at suitable intervals. Very good value.

24/48 Hour Oxford Hop-on Hop-off Tour Reviewed by Margaret, 10/13/2016

Oxford
4.4
Based on 163 reviews by GetYourGuide customers