Out of Town

7 of The Best Things to Do in Oxford

Spending the day or a weekend in Oxford? You won’t be short of things to see and do. It’s home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and its world-class museums are about on par with London’s.

But there’s more than just schools and museums to explore in Oxford. The city has a rich history to learn about. It’s also a paradise for fans of architecture, famous fiction and music lovers alike.

Even discussing all the things there are to do in Oxford could take a lifetime. So, to speed things along a little here’s our pick of the five best.

The University of Oxford

Let’s start off with the obvious. The University of Oxford is one of the world’s most prestigious names in research and education. While you’re in the city, you should book a tour to learn about the history of this school, which was established way back in 1096.

Due to its age, you’ll see buildings in Saxon, renaissance, Gothic-revival and postmodern styles as you explore the grounds. You can also view the beautiful botanical gardens and 70 hectares of landscaped grounds.

Visit the most famous of all university colleges, Christ Church College, on our tour of Oxford University.

The Pitt Rivers Museum

The Pitt Rivers Museum may not be as old as the University of Oxford, but it’s still a place of historical significance – it’ll be approaching its 150th birthday in just over a decade. However, the main historical draw of this museum is its archaeological and anthropological collections, which happen to belong to the uni.

Be warned – some eerie exhibits include authentic shrunken heads. Nevertheless, we can guarantee you’ll be blown away by the half a million artefacts.

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace may not be a real royal residence, but this spectacular baroque mansion is certainly fit for a King (or Queen). It’s where one of the UK’s most influential leaders, Winston Churchill, spent much of his childhood.

Since 1950, it’s been open to the public, and it’s one of Oxford’s most fabulous treasures. It’s an architectural masterpiece, and its interior reflects its grandeur. While you’re here, explore the parklands, which contain lakes, waterfalls, landscaped gardens and plenty of Instagrammable monuments.

Explore Blenheim Palace, the ‘Downton Abbey Village’ and beautiful English countryside on our fantastic day tour from London.

Harry Potter Tours

Oxford is a history buff’s paradise, but it’s also got something special for those who have a sweet tooth for fantasy. Potterheads (fans of Harry Potter) should embark on a Harry Potter Tour in Oxford, which includes visits to filming locations including the Bodleian Library, or the Divinity School as it’s known in Rowling’s world.

You’ll be mesmerised by the spell-binding tours around several Hogwarts sets. You’ll also get the chance to prove you’re a true fan after completing the end-of-tour quiz.

Jericho Tavern

We’ve discussed Oxford’s history, architecture and links to the world of Harry Potter, so now let’s talk music. Jericho Tavern is one of the best nightlife spots in the city, and it’s also where many of today’s major bands made a name for themselves. Radiohead graced this establishment’s stage in the 80s and 90s. It didn’t take long for Supergrass to secure a record deal after performing at Jericho Tavern.

Eagle and Child Pub

Looking for an excuse to drink a quick pint while you’re trekking around Oxford? Head to the Eagle and Child Pub, where the history is just as interesting as the drinks are delicious. This pub was the preferred boozer of world-renowned writers such as JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. To be a fly on the wall in this famous pub…

Oxford Botanic Gardens & Arboretum

The university may be the main draw in this fantastic city, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your fill of nature while you’re here. Established in the 17th-century, the Oxford Botanic Gardens are the oldest in the UK. Over 8,000 plant species scattered across around 130 acres of woodland make it a horticulturalist’s paradise.

The Arboretum is just ten minutes away from the Gardens. Here, free-roaming peacocks add even more colour to the already colourful nature-reserve. Japanese Maples, Bluebell beds and pink rhododendrons make the Arboretum feel truly enchanting.

For a chance to explore Oxford in all its glory, check out our fantastic Oxford tours leaving from London. See the best of the city plus other key locations such as Stonehenge and Windsor castle all in one trip.