Top 10 things to do in Oxford and Oxfordshire
Explore the top 10 things to do in Oxford and Oxfordshire. With so much going on in the county, sometimes it is hard to decide what to do when you arrive. So here we have collected our favourite experiences for Oxfordshire!
Top 10 things to do in Oxford
1. Visit the University of Oxford
“Where is the famous Oxford University?” is a question many visitors ask and the answer is: everywhere! The University is made up of 38 independent colleges, including the magnificent Christ Church and Wadham College, and their quads and buildings can be found all over the city. Take a walking tour to explore and find out more about Oxford University’s history, architecture and traditions.
2. Visit the historical museums
There are many historical museums to visit in Oxford, including the world famous Ashmolean Museum founded in 1683, the Pitt Rivers Museum, The Museum of Natural History, Museum of Oxford, Museum of the History of Science – home to Charles Dodgson’s camera and a blackboard used by Albert Einstein during a lecture in Oxford in 1931, and the beautiful Weston Library exhibiting some of the Bodleian Library’s greatest treasures, from ancient Magna Carta and Jane Austen manuscripts, Shakespeare’s first folio to a letter from Albert Einstein! If you are looking for contemporary art, Modern Art Oxford is the place for you!
3. Explore the Oxford Castle
Oxford Castle Unlocked is a great place to immerse yourself in 1,000 years of history! Visitors can enjoy a guided tour and meet past inhabitants of Oxford Castle and discover their true stories. If you are looking at extending your experience, you can stay the night in an actual prison at the Malmaison Hotel‘s many cells! The Oxford Castle Quarter next to the castle is home to an exciting hub of bars and restaurants, and is the perfect place to treat yourself to a delicious meal or pint!
4. Discover famous TV & Film locations in Oxford
Oxford is the birthplace of Alice in Wonderland! Even though neither of the movies were filmed in Oxford, its many surroundings, such as Christ Church College where Alice Liddell (the real Alice) lived, did inspire Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) in 1862 to write this enchanting story that we all love. Along with Christ Church, the New College and Bodleian Libraries were featured in the Harry Potter movies and the Randolph Hotel’s Morse Bar is just one of the famous places used in the filming of the Inspector Morse tv series in Oxford. Find out more TV and Film locations here.
5. Take a Punt!
Punting – a truly timeless tradition in Oxford. Cherwell Boathouse is Oxford’s biggest punt station and has over 80 handmade punts for hire to take on the River Cherwell where you will pass Parsons Pleasure where University Dons used to sunbathe in the nude or go down the River Thames – home to the University of Oxford rowing clubs, with Salter’s Steamers who offer chauffeured punts if booked in advance.
6. Climb a Tower
When in Oxford, one must climb a tower to enjoy the beautiful views over the city’s famous dreaming spires. The historical Saxon Tower at St Michael at the North Gate is an easy climb to the top which will reward you with a view of bustling Cornmarket Street and the spires and rooftops of Oxford ancient and modern. The University Church of St Mary the Virgin gives the visitor a beautiful view of the colleges and city or climb the Saxon St George’s Tower at the Oxford Castle Unlocked, one of Oxford’s oldest building, and enjoy the stunning 360° views.
7. Go shopping
Oxford is packed with beautiful independent shops and a cluster of these can be found in the famous Oxford Covered Market. The University of Oxford Shop makes sure visitors find their perfect Oxford-themed souvenir, Alice’s Shop sells a wide range of Alice in Wonderland souvenirs and the new Westgate Oxford in the city centre boasts an exciting mix of shops and restaurants. Jericho is another popular place for shopping and if you head down there, pop into Demijohn for a unique experience at this liquid deli.
8. Visit the Theatre
Oxford is a great place to enjoy a good musical or theatrical performance in one of its many theatres across the city. New Theatre Oxford is known for its famous Broadway shows and the Oxford Playhouse showcases the best of British and international drama, family shows, and much more. The Old Fire Station is known for its quality art aimed at adults, the renowned Sheldonian Theatre is home to beautiful classical music performances and the North Wall Arts Centre located in Summertown showcases a variety of music and drama performances.
9. Enjoy Choral Evensong
Every day during term-time, starting between 5.15 and 6.45 pm, many Oxford college chapel choirs and some parish churches sing beautiful music in Choral Evensong – a service which is free-of-charge and open to all. Participating in this living tradition is a great way to experience the life of different colleges of Oxford from within.
10. Join a Tour
Joining a tour is the best way to explore Oxford. From cycling, walking, brewery and boat tours, there are many ways you can learn more about our beautiful city’s hidden secrets and discover historical venues.