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Things to Do in Oxford

Activities To Do In Oxford

Whether it is marveling at the architecture of the Bodleian Libraries or exploring the stunning Ashmolean. Whether it is punting on the Cherwell, or walking around the intriguing exhibits at the Pitt Rivers Museum. There is really no dearth of classy, fun, and interesting things to do in Oxford. The city is known for its marvelous architecture, deep-seated history, and world-class heritage.  Irrespective of how many times you have visited Oxford, there is always something new and interesting awaiting you. It could be a hidden spot for you to discover, a fine restaurant in the city to try out, or a chance to walk down hallowed halls where top world leaders and Nobel laureates shared space.

You could also spend your time here simply soaking in the surrounding sights and sounds as you wander through the quaint lanes and alleyways. Apart from the universities and the overall conservative aura that the city exudes, Oxford has other interesting facets to it as well. The city boasts a rich industrial past and has multiple avenues to try out exciting water activities like kayaking or paddle boarding, as well as a rich arts and music scene. All these leave you with little to worry about when it comes to the top things to do in Oxford. 

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Oxford City Center

Oxford is well renowned for world-class universities, the most famous being Christ Church, Balliol, and Trinity. It is home to royalty and scholars for over 800 years. Explore the world-famous tourist sites and attractions that attract nine million visitors annually. The extraordinary city also hosts several shops and restaurants including peaceful parks and pastures.

University Church of St. Mary
St Mary the Virgin University Church is a vibrant church located on the north side of the High Street in Oxford, United Kingdom and it is the largest of the city’s parish churches. It has been recognized as a place of Christian worship for over seven hundred years with its dignified liturgy and elegant music. 
Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral located in the heart of the city center stands out for having the only college chapel that is also a cathedral founded in the eighth century. Christ Church is one of Oxford University’s largest colleges. Several famous people have been educated at Christ Church including historians, scientists, lawyers, and authors.

Radcliffe Square & the Bodleian Library

Radcliffe Square, the finest square in Europe, is the historic heart of Oxford University. Radcliffe Square is named after John Radcliffe who left a huge amount of land to Oxford University. The square is home to the 18th century which is connected to the Bodleian Library by an underground tunnel. 

Sheldonian Theatre

The Sheldonian theatre is the principal assembly room of the university of Oxford and the regular meeting place of Congregation, the body which controls the University’s affairs. It has beautifully served its purpose for over 350 years now with its elegant and stunning design and marvelously rich craftsmanship. It still provides an exquisite set-up for ceremonial occasions.

The Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean Museum was founded in 1953 and it is Oxford University’s Museum of art and archaeology. Discover the world-famous collections ranging from Egyptian mummies to contemporary and modern art, and listen to the stories of humans across culture and across time. 

History of Science Museum

History of Science Museum (also known as The Museum of the History of Science) at the University of Oxford is the headquarters of Britain’s Science Museum and it is one of the prominent museums of science and technology in the world. It holds a collection of early scientific instruments and apparatus.

Martyrs' Memorial

The Martyrs’ Memorial, the stone monument, is located in Oxford, England. This iconic memorial was completed in 1843. The Martyr’s Memorial is situated where Broad Road meets St Giles and is similar to an ornate church spire. This long tower honors the deaths of the martyrs of the English Reformation.

Cornmarket Street

Cornmarket Street (also known as Corn market or The Corn) is the major crammed shopping street and the major pedestrian passage in Oxford, England. The corn market was semi- pedestrianized and given limited access in 1999 and it is sided by Magdalen Street in the south and Carfax in the north.

Oxford Castle And Prison
The partly ruined Oxford castle was built in 1071 for William, the conqueror. It was largely destroyed after the English Civil War since it was used as a prison for destructed Royalists. Most of the original wooden structures and bailey castles were replaced with stone in the late 12th or beginning of the 13th century.
Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Oxford University Museum of Natural History also known as Oxford University Museum is a museum that displays many of the University of Oxford's natural history specimens including collections of geological and zoological specimens, located on Parks Road in Oxford. The building is listed as Grade 1 and it is well-known for its neo-Gothic architecture.

Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace, Oxford is located in a romantic park created by the famous landscape gardener ‘Capability’ Brown. It was built between 1705 and 1722 and characterized by a broad-ranging style and a return to national roots. It is a perfect example of an 18th-century princely dwelling place. Blenheim Palace is one of the beautiful oxford places to visit.
The Radcliffe Camera
The Radcliffe Camera is one of the iconic sights in Oxford, England. It was built between 1737 and 1749 with £40,000 bequeathed by the royal physician, Dr. John Radcliffe, and designed by several leading architects, including Nicholas Hawksmoor and James Gibbs. It is one of the unique landmarks in the city of distinctive landmarks.
The Pitt Rivers Museum

The Pitt Rivers Museum displays the world’s great collections of archaeological and anthropological collections of the University of Oxford, England. The museum can only be accessed through the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and The Pitt Rivers Museum is located to the east of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Oxford Botanic Gardens And Arboretum

The Oxford Botanic Garden was founded in 1621 and it is the oldest surviving Botanic Garden in Britain. The Botanic Garden was formerly known as Physick or Physic Garden and had a collection of medical plants. Now, the southwest corner of the Oxford Botanic Garden is home to a collection of modern medical plants.

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Oxford Things To Do FAQs

Which are the best things to do in Oxford?

1. Explore Britain’s oldest public museum, The Ashmolean: Also known as the first modern museum in the world, The Ashmolean holds a prestigious collection of historical and archaeological significance dating back to 1683. It also brings together a marvelous collection of relics and artifacts from various cultures across the world. Whether it is ceramics from the Middle East or life-sized casts of Greek and Roman sculptures, the museum has it all covered. It is certainly among the top things to do in Oxford and if you happen to tire from all the exploring, you can head to the rooftop café, also considered one of the best in the city. 

2. See the Sheldon Theater: One of the best things to see in Oxford is the Sheldon Theater, a Neoclassical style D-shaped building that is also an official ceremonial hall of Oxford University. Apart from its literary significance, the theater has immense architectural importance being the first significant project of Christopher Wren who went on to build other historical landmarks in England like St Paul’s Cathedral. You can also book a specially crafted Sheldonian tour which will give you a deeper insight into the university’s rich history as well as a chance to get a glimpse into the theater’s interior. 

3. Witness the University Church of St Mary’sThe imposing church that forms one entire side of Radcliffe Square is clustered by other notable buildings and is one of the top things to do in Oxford. Besides the church itself, you can have another spectacular experience when here. You can go up the St Mary’s tower for a small fee and enjoy breathtaking views of the city from the very top. Although the winding stairs of the medieval church are a little steep, they are definitely worth a try. Once at the top, you can take a walk around all four sides for completely unique but equally stunning vistas. 

Best Offers Only On: University Church of St. Mary Tickets

4. Visit The Oxford University Museum of Natural HistoryThe Oxford Museum of Natural History is housed within the same complex as the Pitt River Museum and boasts a mesmerizing collection of zoological and geological specimens. It is one of the cool things to do in Oxford, especially as you can witness massive dinosaur skeletons that form a major part of the museum’s collections. Get an up-and-close look at the fossils and replicas on the display of a variety of interesting species. There is also the Oxford Dodo, a major highlight at the museum and of the few of its kind on the entire planet. It is also believed to be the inspiration behind the famous character in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. 

5. Go scouting for the famous Harry Potter filming locations: If you are a Harry Potter enthusiast, you will definitely want to revisit the famous filming locations scattered around Oxford. This is considered to be among the cool things to do in Oxford as it is also an interesting way to explore various hidden corners of the city you would not have found otherwise. One such example is the atmospheric New College Cloisters which you would not have cared to visit if not for the Harry Potter charm. However, once you are here, you cannot deny the beauty of this hidden treasure and a new favorite spot. 

6. Relish an afternoon tea at the Grand Café: Enjoying a relaxing afternoon tea is not only a quintessentially English tradition but also one of the best things to do in Oxford. Enjoy this British pastime at the Grand Café, which is also one of England’s oldest coffee houses. See the perfectly made fluffy hot scones, and large slabs of cake served along with refreshing English tea and coffees. This is also a great place to unwind after a tiring tour of the city as you sip on their famous cream tea and dig into a fine selection of finger sandwiches.

7. Explore the Oxford Covered Market: The eighteenth-century Covered Market is a major landmark in the city and one of the top things to see in Oxford. The market features around forty stalls and shops of traders selling a wide variety of merchandise. Whether you want to buy anything on offer here or simply want to browse through the stuff, this market is an absolute must-visit. All you have to do is simply wander about the place and you will come across some of its most iconic outlets. You should not miss taking a look at the Colombia Coffee Roasters, which is an independent coffee shop that sources its beans from its own family farm in Colombia. 

Check This Out: Monuments In London

Which are the best places to visit in Oxford at night?

1. Head to the Big Society: If you are looking for the best places to Visit in Oxford at night, head towards this bar and restaurant for sumptuous American-style food. It is also worth trying your hands at interesting games like ping pong ball, football, and pub quizzes.

2. The Ashmolean: Live Fridays at The Ashmolean are among the most fun things to do in Oxford, particularly for art lovers. The museum keeps its doors open till 10:30 in the night on the last Friday of each month and this also includes food and drinks as well as talks, music, and exhibitions.

3. Thirsty Meeples Board Game Café: If board games interest you, this uniquely styled café should fall near the top of your list of fun things to do in Oxford at night. They boast a library comprising over 2,500 board games including most newly released games. 

4. O2 Academy Oxford: For music lovers, this is one of the most interesting things to do in Oxford with its wide range of musical acts. The place has individual bars, a cloakroom, as well as a counter where each band can sell their merchandise. 

Know More: Places To Visit In Oxford

What are the best things to do in Oxford with family?

1. Visit the Oxford Story Museum: Among the most fun things to do in Oxford UK with family is to visit an enchanting museum especially if you enjoy a good story. The museum features eight different rooms, each telling a different story including Narnia, Horrid Henry’s bedroom, the Hundred Acre Wood, and Wonderland.

2. Go punting with your family: If you are a family with older kids, you will certainly enjoy this activity, also known as one of the most fun things to do in Oxford UK. Punting essentially involves floating along the river on a long, flat-bottomed boat as someone steers it with the help of a long pole. It is an Oxford tradition that goes back to the 1800s.

3. Explore the Oxford colleges: Some of the most popular colleges you can visit include Christ Church College known for its exquisite architecture and multiple literary and film connections. Among the other interesting Oxford things to see as a family is Magdalen College which has its very own deer park and Merton and Balliol which are some of the oldest colleges here. 

4. Go on an Oxford Castle and Prison tourFor kids who are interested in history, going on a guided tour of the Castle and Prison is one of the best things to do in Oxford. The tour is made more interesting by being led by costumed guides who bring to life the ancient castle’s fascinating past in a fun way.

Checkout And Book: Oxford Castle And Prison Tour

What are the most romantic things to do in Oxford?

1. Spend a weekend at the Old Parsonage: The Old Parsonage Hotel is among the oldest and most historically rich places to put up in the city and definitely among the most romantic things to do in Oxford. You can also enjoy a calm and romantic afternoon High Tea at this place located at St Giles just across the road from University Parks. 

2. Enjoy a meal at The Cherwell Boathouse: This is one of the most romantic venues for dining and makes it on the list of the best things to do in Oxford as a couple. The boathouse is set picturesquely by the banks of the River Cherwell where you can enjoy a nice quiet meal together catching glimpses of the occasional boat as it sails by.

3. Go picnicking in Port Meadow: Go for a long walk along Walton Well Road all the way to Port Meadow. Once here, take the waterfront pathway and stroll along the river until you find a serene spot for a romantic picnic with your partner. This is one of the top things to do in Oxford not only because it is truly British but also to catch mesmerizing sunset views from here. 

4. Go for drinks at the Turf Tavern: Visit one of the city’s oldest pubs if you are looking for the most romantic things to do in Oxford. The tavern’s warmth and coziness give it a very traditional aura and make you feel like you truly belong there. 

Suggested Read: Things To Do In Oxford

Which are the best adventurous activities to do in Oxford?

1. Visit South Oxford Adventure Playground: The fun and sporty aura of this adventure park make for the top thing to do in Oxford. It comprises both indoor and outdoor spaces which are dotted with plenty of physically challenging apparatuses. You can try the zip wire, the football pitch, the wobbly bridge, and many other interesting entrapments.

2. Go on the Bernwood Butterfly Trail: This unique trail comprises vast stretches of exquisite forest lands with scenic vegetation and coniferous and broadleaf woodland. You can explore the area while going on a hunt for interesting butterfly habitats that include the Purple Emperor, Skippers, White Admiral, Marbled White, and rare Black Hairstreak. 

3. Enjoy a day at Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens: This is one of the most adventurous things to do in Oxford where you can discover a wide variety of animals ranging from creepy crawlies to large wild creatures. The place also features adventure playgrounds and a Tropical House.

4. Visit the Leys: This spacious and well-maintained outdoor adventure playground is excellent if you are looking for some of the best things to do in Oxford. There are paddling pools, tennis courts, a skate park, and seasonal crazy golf available here.

Recommended Read: Things To Do In London

Which are the best theme parks in Oxford for kids?

1. Gulliver’s Land: This is a magical place to visit with kids that is full of surprises whether it is classic theme park rides, animatronic dinosaurs, or family entertainment shows. The park also hosts a variety of themed activities and interesting adventures that you can enjoy with your little ones.

2. Bekonscot Model Village: This model Village and Railway is the world’s oldest of its kind and one of the most interesting things to see in Oxford, particularly for kids. The miniature kingdom is set in the 1930s and comprises farmlands, castles, churches, woods, lakes, and rolling hills.

3. Legoland: There is no place that can be more fun for children than a classic Legoland which not only stimulates their imagination but also involves active participation. Here they get to be anything from a brave knight taming dragons in Knight’s Kingdom to a courageous firefighter at the Fire Academy.

4. Harry Potter Studio Tour: Children fascinated by the magical world of Harry Potter are sure to enjoy this tour complete with its wonderful special effects and amazing creatures. Here they get a chance to go behind the scenes and see many things never captured on the camera.

Also Read: Places To Visit In London

What are the best things you can do in Oxford for free?

1. Visit The Ashmolean Museum: Visit the world’s first university museum and one of the best things to do in Oxford for free. Explore the vast museum housed in a beautiful classical building that has drawn inspiration from Greek architecture.

2. Enjoy the scenic beauty at Radcliffe Square
The four corners of the square comprise beautiful Oxford buildings- All Souls College, Brasenose College, Bodleian Library, and University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. It is a great place to visit if you wish to enjoy the city’s scenic beauty.

3. Take a stroll around the Christ Church Meadow
Walk down this scenic meadow complete with fields full of bulbs and a river flowing by. You can also find the Oxford College rowing teams going up and down the river along with numerous geese and ducks whom you can also feed.

Read More: Things To Do In Edinburgh

How to reach Oxford?

The airline operates nonstop flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports. You can take a train from either Heathrow or Gatwick to London, where you can switch to another train that will take you directly to Oxford. 

The Oxford Tube provides direct service between Oxford and London, running often from Monday through Sunday, making the journey between the two cities feel nearly seamless. There are taxi stands conveniently located at all of Oxford's major transportation hubs: the train station, the coach station, and St. Giles in the city center.

Check This Out: Fun Things To Do In Oxford

What is the best time to visit Oxford?

The best time to visit Oxford is between the months of May through September when the weather is warm and pleasant. It is the perfect time to go on all the sightseeing tours and other outdoor activities that the city has to offer.

What is Oxford famous for?

Oxford is famous for housing the best educational facilities in the world for study as well as research. It has students coming here from all over the world to study at the world’s top research colleges here.

How many days do you need in Oxford?

You should have at least 2 days in hand to experience and thoroughly enjoy all that Oxford has to offer. If you are a history lover, you will find a lot of avenues to explore especially the museums, colleges, and churches here.

How To Reach Oxford?

1. By Train: There are direct rail services from London Paddington and London Marylebone as well as from other parts of the country like Birmingham, Reading, and Didcot.

2. By Taxi: 
There are several taxi services that operate from London to Oxford that can easily take you to the city center in over an hour.

How far is Oxford from London?

Oxford is at a distance of about 56 miles from London and can be easily covered by train in approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes.

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Which are London's top activities and attraction tickets that I can book via Thrillophilia?

Here are some of London’s top activities and attraction tickets that you can book via Thrillophilia:
Windsor Castle Ticket
London Eye Ticket
Peppa Pig World Ticket
Abbey Westminster Tickets
London Dungeons Tickets
London Madame Tussauds Tickets

Oxford Things To Do Reviews

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Philip Coolsaet
Reviewed: 30 May 2023
5.0/5
Prachtig paleis en ruime tuinen. Met een rijke geschiedenis. Zeker een bezoek waard…
Philip coolsaet
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Isaiah Alvarez
Reviewed: 21 Dec 2022
5.0/5
Thrillophilia's fantastic tour made our full family tour in Oxford and it was an unforgettable experience. We visited the University Church of St Mary the Virgin and learned all about the history & cultural significance of the church. Thank you Thrillophilia for this fantastic experience.
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Adeline Wheeler
Reviewed: 31 Oct 2022
5.0/5
My partner and I had an amazing time at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford. Thrillophilia's booking process was seamless and hassle-free. We got instant confirmation and the discounted prices were an added bonus. The easily available tickets ensured that our entire experience was en... Read More
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Henry Gibson
Reviewed: 27 Oct 2022
5.0/5
I chose Thrillophilia for booking these church tickets for my family for their lowest prices. Their instant confirmation impressed me. The church's architecture, art collection, and spiritual ambience left us in love with the place.
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Sebastian Woods
Reviewed: 31 Oct 2022
5.0/5
I suggest everyone choose Thrillophilia to book their tickets to the University Church of St. Mary, as they provide a smooth booking approach and attractive discounts.
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Makayla Dixon
Reviewed: 19 Oct 2022
5.0/5
I was seeking an offbeat experience in Oxford so, I booked this tour through Thrillophilia and got instant booking confirmation with great discount.

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