The Best 24 Things to Do in Oxford

Oxford, renowned for its historical allure, is a city that captures the imagination of both the intellectual and the adventurous spirit. As you stroll through its cobblestone streets, you’ll become engrossed in the city’s vibrant cultural legacy. Discover the 24 Best Things to Do in Oxford, where each experience guarantees a distinctive fusion of history, academia, and pure joy, making this enchanting city truly unforgettable.


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1. Explore the Bodleian Library:

   The Bodleian Library, one of the oldest in Europe, is a bibliophile’s paradise. Delve into the heart of literary history as you wander through its atmospheric reading rooms and marvel at the vast collection of books and manuscripts. Whether you’re a student of literature or just appreciate the written word, the Bodleian is an absolute must-visit.

For additional information about the Bodleian Library, click on this link.

2. Visit the Ashmolean Museum:

   The Ashmolean Museum, the world’s first university museum, is a treasure trove of art and antiquities. From ancient Egyptian mummies to Renaissance masterpieces, the museum’s diverse exhibits offer a captivating journey through human history. Take your time exploring the galleries, each corner revealing a new facet of art and culture.

3. Travel through time at Oxford Castle and Prison

Oxford Castle and Prison, a captivating historical site, transports visitors through centuries of English history. From the medieval castle’s formidable tower to the haunting prison’s echoing cells, the site breathes life into tales of royalty, rebellion, and justice. Explore the past within its stone walls for an unforgettable journey.

4. Roam the Oxford Botanic Garden:

   Escape the hustle and bustle of city life in the Oxford Botanic Garden, a haven of tranquility. Established in 1621, it’s the oldest botanic garden in the UK. Meander through themed borders, marvel at medicinal plants and breathe in the fragrant air. The garden is not just a feast for the eyes but also an educational journey through the world of plants.

5. Attend Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral:

   Immerse yourself in the divine sounds of Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral. The soaring architecture and ethereal music create an otherworldly experience. Whether you’re religious or not, the cathedral’s spiritual ambiance is truly captivating. Check the schedule for choral performances and lose yourself in the harmonies echoing through centuries.

6. Stroll through Port Meadow:

   Port Meadow, an expansive stretch of ancient grazing land, provides a rustic retreat just a stone’s throw from the city center. Take a leisurely stroll, enjoy a picnic, or simply revel in the open space. The meadow’s unspoiled beauty offers a stark contrast to the architectural splendors of Oxford, providing a refreshing escape.

7. Discover the Pitt Rivers Museum:

   The Pitt Rivers Museum is a cabinet of curiosities, a place where the weird and wonderful converge. With a collection ranging from shrunken heads to tribal artifacts, this anthropological treasure trove offers a fascinating glimpse into the diversity of human culture. Prepare to be enthralled by the sheer variety and complexity of the exhibits.

8. Ascend Carfax Tower:

   For panoramic views of the city, ascend Carfax Tower. Standing proudly in the heart of Oxford, this medieval tower provides a bird’s-eye perspective of the city’s spires and rooftops. The climb may be a bit steep, but the breathtaking vistas from the top make it well worth the effort.

9. Dine at the Turf Tavern:

   Tucked away down a narrow alley, the Turf Tavern exudes charm and character. In this locale, you’re not just entering a pub; you are delving into the very essence of Oxford itself. Frequented by scholars and locals alike, this historic pub has hosted the likes of Inspector Morse and Bill Clinton. Indulge in a hearty meal amidst the welcoming ambiance, and you will undoubtedly depart with fond memories.

10. Experience the Covered Market:

    A bustling hub of commerce since the 18th century, the Covered Market is a vibrant maze of shops and stalls. From fresh produce to unique souvenirs, the market offers a sensory delight. Lose yourself in the eclectic array of goods, and don’t forget to sample some local delicacies along the way.

11. Tour the Radcliffe Camera:

    The Radcliffe Camera, an iconic circular library, stands as a testament to Oxford’s commitment to learning. While its interior is reserved for scholars, the exterior is a masterpiece of neoclassical architecture. To visit this library, opt for a 90-minute guided tour of the Bodleian Library, encompassing the iconic Radcliffe Camera. Delve into its rich history and explore the library’s interior, gaining insights into its fascinating heritage. It’s a journey that unveils the beauty and significance of this Oxford landmark.

12. Climb to the Top of St. Mary’s Church:

    For a panoramic view rivaling that of Carfax Tower, ascend the spire of St. Mary’s Church. The climb may be challenging, but the vistas of Oxford’s skyline, with its mix of historic and modern structures, make it a rewarding experience. Capture the moment with a camera or simply soak in the beauty of the city below.

13. Visit the Museum of the History of Science:

    Step back in time at the Museum of the History of Science, where scientific instruments from various eras are on display. From astrolabes to early microscopes, the museum showcases the evolution of human understanding. Engage with the interactive exhibits, and gain a deeper appreciation for the role Oxford has played in shaping the scientific landscape.

14. Discover the Divinity School:

    Step into the Divinity School, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture that exudes an air of scholarly elegance. Marvel at the fan-vaulted ceiling and the historical significance of the space. Often used as a filming location for movies such as “Harry Potter,” the Divinity School is a visual feast for architecture enthusiasts and film buffs alike.

15. Wander through the Oxford University Parks:

    Embrace the natural beauty of the Oxford University Parks, a sprawling expanse of greenery perfect for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful afternoon picnic. The well-maintained lawns and meandering paths provide a serene retreat within the city. Engage in a game of cricket or simply bask in the beauty of the surrounding flora.

16. Visit the Sheldonian Theatre:

    The Sheldonian Theatre, designed by Christopher Wren, is a marvel of architectural precision. Take a guided tour to appreciate the intricacies of its construction and the historical events it has witnessed. If timing aligns, catch a performance within its walls and experience the grandeur of this centuries-old venue.

17. Attend a Lecture or Debate:

    Immerse yourself in the intellectual fervor of Oxford by attending a lecture or debate. Many are open to the public, offering a chance to witness the exchange of ideas among some of the brightest minds in academia. Check university calendars and event listings for topics that pique your interest.

18. Stargaze at Radcliffe Observatory:

    For a celestial experience, visit the Radcliffe Observatory. Check their schedule for public events, where you can gaze through telescopes and learn about the mysteries of the cosmos. Whether you’re an astronomy enthusiast or a casual observer, the night sky over Oxford offers a captivating spectacle.

19. Indulge in an Afternoon Tea at The Randolph Hotel:

    Elevate your afternoon with a traditional afternoon tea at The Randolph Hotel. Amidst opulent surroundings, savor delicate pastries, finger sandwiches, and the finest teas. This timeless ritual offers a taste of luxury and provides a welcome respite from a day of exploration.

20. Sample Local Flavors at Gloucester Green Market:

Are you interested in indulging in a culinary adventure and savoring local flavors? Head to Gloucester Green Market, where local vendors showcase a diverse array of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and international cuisines. Stroll through the vibrant stalls, engage with the passionate sellers, and savor the flavors that define Oxford’s culinary varieties.

21. Take a Literary Walking Tour:

    Embark on a literary journey through the streets that inspired literary greats. Join a guided walking tour to explore the haunts of Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien, and other literary luminaries. As you traverse the landscapes that stirred their imaginations, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the literary legacy woven into Oxford’s fabric.

22. Attend a Play at the Oxford Playhouse:

    Conclude your Oxford experience with a cultural flourish by attending a play at the Oxford Playhouse. This historic venue has hosted performances for over 80 years, showcasing a diverse range of theatrical productions. From classic plays to cutting-edge performances, the Oxford Playhouse offers a captivating finale to your exploration of this culturally rich city.

23. Stroll Through Oxford’s Historic Pulse, the High Street

Embark on a leisurely stroll down Oxford’s iconic High Street, where the city’s history meets the pulse of modern life. Admire the stunning architecture, peruse quaint bookshops, and feel the scholarly energy. This picturesque avenue promises a sensory journey through the heart of the city’s cultural tapestry.

24. Discover Harry Potter Shops in Oxford for a Magical Experience

Experience a magical adventure in Oxford by exploring its enchanting Harry Potter shops. Wander through wizarding wonderlands, discover spellbinding merchandise, and immerse yourself in the whimsical world of J.K. Rowling’s creation. Unleash your inner wizard as you stroll through these delightful shops, a spellbinding experience for any Potter enthusiast!

In conclusion, Oxford offers something intriguing for everyone. Whether you visit for architectural marvels, immerse yourself in the city’s ambiance, or seek Harry Potter-inspired adventures, one thing is certain, you’ll depart with wonderful experiences and unforgettable memories.

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