Top 10 Things to Do in Oxford | Ultimate Guide!

Welcome to the charming and historic city of Oxford, where history, culture, and beauty converge. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply looking to explore a vibrant city, Oxford has something for everyone. In this ultimate guide, we will take you through the top 10 things to do in Oxford, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this captivating destination.

Top 10 Things to Do in Oxford

From its world-renowned colleges to its captivating museums, iconic landmarks, and picturesque gardens, Oxford offers a plethora of attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. Immerse yourself in the city’s rich history as you explore its famous colleges, home to some of the greatest minds in the world.

1. Uncover the Treasures at the Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean Museum is Britain’s oldest public museum and is home to a remarkable collection of art and artifacts from around the world. Visitors can explore exhibits that span continents and cultures, including works by renowned artists such as Michelangelo and Turner. With its extensive collection and engaging displays, the Ashmolean Museum is a must-visit attraction for art enthusiasts and history lovers alike.

ashmolean museum

2. Step Into History with a University of Oxford Tour

The University of Oxford is one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world, known for its rich history that dates back centuries. A guided tour of the university allows visitors to explore its stunning architecture, picturesque college quads, and learn about the famous individuals who have studied there.

university of oxford tour

Embark on a University of Oxford tour and step into a world of academic and cultural heritage. Begin your journey at the iconic Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and marvel at its magnificent architecture. Discover the hallowed halls of Christ Church College, which famously served as a filming location for the Harry Potter movies.

As you stroll through the well-manicured college quads, you’ll feel the weight of history and scholarly pursuits that have taken place within these walls. Learn about the famous alumni who have walked these paths, including eminent scientists, writers, politicians, and Nobel laureates.

The University of Oxford tour offers a fascinating insight into the institution’s contributions to academia and society as a whole. Explore the Radcliffe Camera, an architectural masterpiece that houses the Bodleian’s science library, and admire the Sheldonian Theatre, which hosts graduation ceremonies and concerts.

With knowledgeable guides leading the way, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the university’s historical significance and the traditions that have shaped its esteemed reputation. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the academic brilliance and cultural legacy of the University of Oxford firsthand.

3. Tranquility in the Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum

For those seeking a peaceful escape from the bustle of the city, the Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum offers a tranquil oasis. Spanning 130 acres, the garden is home to thousands of plant species from around the world, including medicinal plants, carnivorous plants, and tropical wonders. Visitors can take leisurely strolls through the beautiful grounds, relax amidst the stunning flora, and learn about the diverse plant life that flourishes in this serene setting.

oxford botanic garden

The Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum is a haven for nature enthusiasts and those who enjoy outdoor activities in Oxford. The botanical gardens are meticulously curated, showcasing a vast collection of plant species that have been carefully cultivated for educational and conservation purposes. The gardens offer a unique opportunity to explore and learn about the incredible diversity of plant life.

Visitors can wander through themed sections, such as the Medicinal Garden or the Glasshouse Borders, and discover fascinating plant species from all corners of the globe. From towering trees to delicate flowers, the botanical gardens provide a feast for the senses and a chance to marvel at the wonders of the natural world.

In addition to the outdoor gardens, the Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum also boasts an arboretum, which is home to a wide variety of trees and woody plants. This expansive area offers nature walks in Oxford, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the peaceful surroundings and connect with the beauty of the natural environment. The arboretum is a perfect spot for leisurely strolls, picnics, or simply finding a tranquil place to relax.

Throughout the year, the Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum hosts events and workshops that further enrich the visitor experience. From guided tours to gardening demonstrations, there are plenty of opportunities to deepen your knowledge and appreciation for plant species. Whether you’re a seasoned botanist or simply a nature lover, a visit to the Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum is an enriching and rejuvenating experience.

4. Experience the Grandeur of Blenheim Palace

Just outside of Oxford lies the magnificent Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most remarkable stately homes in the country. With its breathtaking Baroque architecture and opulent interiors, Blenheim Palace offers visitors a glimpse into the grandeur of the past.

As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the grand state rooms, adorned with intricate detailing and adorned ceilings that showcase the elegance of the palace. Take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful palace gardens, where you can marvel at the meticulously manicured landscapes and serene palace lakes. The palace gardens are a true oasis of tranquility, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty that surrounds Blenheim Palace.

One of the most notable aspects of Blenheim Palace is its historical significance. This architectural masterpiece was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, one of Britain’s most iconic figures. Explore the exhibits and learn about the history and cultural heritage of this remarkable site, which has played a significant role in shaping the nation’s history.

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is not just a museum or historical site; it’s a living testament to the rich cultural heritage of Oxfordshire. From its magnificent architecture to its stunning palace gardens, Blenheim Palace offers a captivating experience that combines history, art, and natural beauty. A visit to this grand palace is an unmissable opportunity to immerse yourself in the opulence of the past and appreciate the cultural significance of this iconic landmark.

5. Discover World Cultures at the Pitt Rivers Museum

The Pitt Rivers Museum is a unique institution that specializes in anthropology and ethnography. Its extensive collection of artifacts from around the world offers a fascinating window into different cultures and societies. From African masks to ancient Egyptian artifacts, visitors can explore the diverse range of objects on display and learn about the rituals, customs, and beliefs of people from across the globe. The Pitt Rivers Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in understanding the rich tapestry of human history and culture.

pitt rivers museum

The museum, located in Oxford, is home to one of the world’s most significant ethnographic collections. With over 500,000 items, it is a treasure trove of cultural artifacts that span centuries and continents. Each object tells a story, offering insights into the lives and practices of different communities around the world.

Whether you’re interested in tribal art, ancient rituals, or the anthropology of Oxford itself, the Pitt Rivers Museum provides a unique and immersive experience. The museum’s layout, organized by themes rather than geography, encourages visitors to make connections and explore the similarities and differences between cultures.

One of the highlights of the museum is its vast collection of tribal art. From intricately carved masks to beautifully crafted textiles, the collection showcases the creativity and skill of indigenous cultures from every corner of the globe. Visitors can marvel at the exquisite craftsmanship and learn about the significance of these art forms within their cultural contexts.

A visit to the Pitt Rivers Museum is an opportunity to expand your horizons and gain a deeper understanding of our diverse world. It is a place where ancient traditions and contemporary cultures come together, offering a glimpse into the complexities of human existence. Whether you’re a student of anthropology, a lover of history, or simply curious about the world around you, the Pitt Rivers Museum is a must-see destination in Oxford.

6. Immerse in Oxford’s Music Scene with Divine Schism

Oxford is renowned for its vibrant music scene, which has produced internationally acclaimed bands like Radiohead and Foals. One of the key players in the local music scene is Divine Schism, an independent music promoter that brings together local bands and up-and-coming acts from around the world.

With a diverse range of genres on offer, including indie pop, rock, and punk, Oxford’s music gigs cater to all musical tastes. Whether you’re a dedicated music lover or simply looking for some lively entertainment, experiencing the live music scene in Oxford is sure to be a memorable experience.

There are numerous live music venues in Oxford that provide the perfect setting for these cultural events. From intimate pubs to larger concert halls, you’ll find a variety of venues where talented musicians showcase their skills and entertain the crowds. Some popular live music venues in Oxford include The Bullingdon, The Jericho Tavern, and The O2 Academy Oxford.

Attending a music gig in Oxford gives you the opportunity to discover local bands and immerse yourself in the city’s rich music culture. It’s a chance to witness the raw talent and creativity of up-and-coming artists as they take to the stage and captivate the audience with their performances.

So, if you’re looking to experience the energy and excitement of the Oxford music scene, be sure to check out the upcoming gigs and events organized by Divine Schism. Get ready to tap your feet, sing along, and enjoy a fantastic evening of live music in one of the UK’s most culturally vibrant cities.

7. Meandering Waters: Oxford River Cruising

Oxford is known for its picturesque rivers, including the Thames (known locally as the Isis) and the Cherwell. One popular activity is taking a river cruise or going punting along the waterways, offering a unique perspective of the city’s landmarks and scenic beauty.

Visitors can sit back, relax, and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere as they glide along the rivers, taking in the sights and sounds of Oxford from a different vantage point. River cruising in Oxford is a leisurely and delightful way to experience the city’s natural charm.

Whether you choose a guided boat tour or take control with punting, you’ll be treated to scenic waterways, relaxing river trips, and picturesque views. As you meander along the tranquil rivers, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the stunning scenery, including historic buildings, lush greenery, and charming bridges.

For a romantic outing with a loved one or a peaceful escape from the bustling city, Oxford River Cruises offers a range of options to suit every preference. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply want to unwind and soak in the beauty of Oxford, a river cruise is an experience you won’t want to miss.

8. Savour the Outdoors at Port Meadow

Port Meadow is a vast, open green space located just outside the city centre, offering a peaceful retreat for outdoor enthusiasts. With its sprawling meadows, tranquil waterways, and picturesque views, it is a haven for nature lovers and those seeking a break from the bustling city life.

Explore the green spaces of Port Meadow by taking leisurely walks along its well-maintained paths, allowing you to reconnect with nature and enjoy the fresh air. The meadow is also home to several nature reserves, where you can observe a variety of plants and wildlife in their natural habitat.

For those looking for a perfect spot to relax and enjoy a picnic, Port Meadow provides ample picnic spots with scenic views. You can unwind among the lush greenery, surrounded by the beauty of nature, while indulging in a delightful outdoor feast.

One of the highlights of Port Meadow is its stunning scenic views. From the meadow, you can admire the panoramic sight of the Oxford skyline, with its historic spires and architectural wonders, set against the backdrop of the tranquil River Thames. It’s truly a sight to behold and offers a sense of serenity and tranquillity.

Whether you are a local resident or a visitor to Oxford, a visit to Port Meadow is a must-do outdoor activity. This idyllic haven provides the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in nature, stroll along the riverside, or simply bask in the beauty of its vast green spaces. So, pack a picnic basket, grab a blanket, and spend a day at Port Meadow to savour the outdoors and enjoy the natural wonders it has to offer.

9. Indulge in the Best Sunday Roast at the Chester Arms

The Chester Arms is renowned for serving one of the best Sunday roasts in Oxford. This traditional British dish, consisting of roasted meat, vegetables, and Yorkshire pudding, is a beloved culinary tradition in the UK. Visitors can indulge in a hearty and delicious Sunday roast at this cosy pub, enjoying the warm and welcoming atmosphere while savoring the flavorful and comforting cuisine. The Chester Arms offers a gastronomic experience that showcases the best of British pub food.

Experience the culinary delights of traditional British cuisine at the Chester Arms, where the Sunday roast reigns supreme. The pub’s Sunday roast is legendary amongst locals and visitors alike, combining perfectly cooked meat, seasonal vegetables, crispy Yorkshire pudding, and rich gravy. Whether you’re a fan of succulent roast beef, tender roast chicken, or vegetarian options, the Chester Arms has something to satisfy every palate.

Step into the pub’s cosy and inviting atmosphere, where you’ll be greeted with friendly service and a warm smile. The Chester Arms exudes the quintessential charm of a British pub, with its traditional decor, wooden furnishings, and crackling fireplace. It’s the perfect setting to relax and enjoy a leisurely Sunday afternoon with friends and family.

  1. Start your Sunday roast experience with a selection of freshly baked bread rolls and butter, the perfect accompaniment to the upcoming feast.
  2. Next, feast your eyes on the centerpiece of the meal – the perfectly roasted meat. Choose from succulent cuts of beef, tender roast chicken, or a vegetarian alternative, such as a hearty nut roast.
  3. Complement the main course with an array of seasonal vegetables, including roast potatoes, honey-glazed carrots, buttered Brussels sprouts, and creamy cauliflower cheese.
  4. No Sunday roast is complete without a generous helping of Yorkshire pudding. These fluffy, golden delicacies are the heart and soul of the meal.
  5. Finally, drizzle the entire plate with rich, flavorsome gravy, bringing all the elements together in a symphony of taste.

As you savor each bite, you’ll appreciate the culinary craftsmanship that goes into creating the perfect Sunday roast at the Chester Arms. The combination of tender meat, crispy Yorkshire pudding, and flavorful accompaniments will transport your taste buds to gastronomic bliss.

The Chester Arms is not just about the food – it’s about the experience. The pub’s warm and welcoming atmosphere creates a sense of belonging, making it the ideal place to unwind and enjoy a leisurely Sunday afternoon. Gather with friends and family, relax in the cosy ambience, and create lasting memories over a delicious meal.

So, when in Oxford, satisfy your cravings for a traditional British gastronomic experience by indulging in the best Sunday roast at the Chester Arms. You’ll discover why this beloved pub is a local dining favorite and how its exceptional cuisine captures the heart and soul of British pub food.

10. Explore the Wizarding World on a Harry Potter Locations Tour

Oxford has a special place in the hearts of Harry Potter fans, as several iconic locations in the city were used as filming sites for the movies. A Harry Potter Locations Tour allows visitors to step into the wizarding world and discover the real-life settings that inspired the magical world of Hogwarts.

From the Bodleian Library to Christ Church College, visitors can immerse themselves in the enchanting atmosphere of Harry Potter and learn fascinating behind-the-scenes stories. This tour showcases the filming locations that brought the beloved series to life, offering fans a chance to experience the magic firsthand.

As you explore the points of interest on the tour, you’ll be transported to the world of witches and wizards, discovering the Hogwarts inspiration behind these iconic locations. From the grand staircases to the beautiful courtyards, you’ll feel like you’re stepping into the pages of J.K. Rowling’s imagination.

Whether you’re a die-hard Harry Potter fan or simply curious about the film set locations that made the series so memorable, the Harry Potter Locations Tour in Oxford is an unforgettable experience. You’ll gain a new appreciation for the wizarding world and its connection to this historic city, making it a must-do activity for visitors of all ages.

Conclusion

Oxford is a city steeped in history and culture, offering a wide range of experiences for visitors to enjoy. Whether you have a passion for art, a love of nature, or a fascination with the world of Harry Potter, there is something for everyone in this charming city.

By following this ultimate guide and exploring the top 10 things to do in Oxford, you can create lasting memories and make the most of your visit. Take a step back in time with a University of Oxford tour, immerse yourself in art and history at the Ashmolean Museum, or relax amidst the natural beauty of the Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum.

From exploring grand palaces to discovering world cultures at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences. So whether you’re a local resident or a tourist from afar, don’t miss the chance to uncover the treasures of this historic city. Plan your trip today and embark on a journey of discovery in Oxford.

FAQs

What is there to do in Blenheim Palace?

At Blenheim Palace, you can explore the grand state rooms, wander through the beautiful gardens, and learn about the history of the palace, which was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

What can I see at the Pitt Rivers Museum?

The Pitt Rivers Museum specializes in anthropology and ethnography. It houses a diverse collection of artifacts from around the world, offering a unique insight into different cultures and societies.

Is there live music in Oxford?

Yes, Oxford has a thriving music scene. Divine Schism is an independent music promoter that organizes gigs featuring local bands and up-and-coming acts from around the world.

Can I go punting in Oxford?

Yes, punting along the rivers is a popular activity in Oxford. It offers a scenic and tranquil way to experience the city’s landmarks and natural beauty.

Which pub serves the best Sunday roast in Oxford?

The Chester Arms is renowned for serving one of the best Sunday roasts in Oxford. This cozy pub offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere where you can enjoy a delicious and traditional British meal.

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