Renowned for its history & heritage and home to England’s oldest university, it’s well worth spending a day in Oxford - its dreaming spires won’t fail to enchant. Effortlessly combining old and new, there’s lots to see within the small radius of the city centre.
Climb the 99 steps to the top of Carfax Tower, the remains of what once was a 14th century church, and enjoy a panoramic view of the city’s famous, spire-studded vista.
Open 10am until 5.30pm. £2.20 ad / £1.10 ch.
Oxford Castle Unlocked
This ancient medieval castle was used as a prison up until 1996! Part of this historic castle has been converted into a unique hotel (Malmaison Hotel Oxford) but the rest has been preserved for you to enjoy.
Open daily from 10am with the last tour departing at 4.20pm. £9.95 ad / £6.95 ch. 15% discount by booking online at oxfordcastleunlocked.co.uk.
Open-top bus tours
Take a tour of Oxford with ‘City Sightseeing’ and, not only will you get to see the city from the top deck of an open-top double-decker, you’ll be able to hop on and off as much as you like – tickets are valid for 24 hours. With 20 stops to choose from, you can see the sights from your seat or get off to explore on foot.
The on-board commentary is fascinating and you get to learn so much more about the various colleges and University buildings.
Useful information: tickets are available from the bus driver at any of the 20 stops around the city including Oxford Castle, Christ Church and the Sheldonian Theatre. £13 ad / £7 ch / family tickets available.
The numerous colleges that make up Oxford’s famous University are scattered throughout the city in countless grand and historic buildings. Many are right in the city centre and are in easy walking distance of each other. Most colleges allow visitors inside the quads, cloisters, dining halls and chapels.
You can’t go inside, but it is worth a visit for its unique neo-classical architecture and circular design – it was England’s first round library!
Here you’ll find yourself in, not only the University’s first exam hall, but also in the Hogwart’s hospital wing of Harry Potter fame!
Tours start from £5. As it is a working building it is advised to call ahead on 01865 287400 to check tours are running and to book.
One of the largest colleges in the University of Oxford and also the Cathedral Church for the Diocese of Oxford. It is also home to the Cathedral Choir as well as impressive collections of books and art. And some famous Harry Potter scenes were filmed here as well.
This is a working building so it is best to visit between 10am and 11.40am or 2.30pm and 4:45pm. £7 ad / £5.50 ch.
Theatres and museums
On Broad Street you’ll find the exquisite Grade I listed Sheldonian Theatre, open to the public when not in use. Tickets for a concert or show are available at The Oxford Playhouse or visit oxfordplayhouse.com. This street is also home to the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology – Britain’s first public museum. Countless other museums in Oxford include the Museum of Natural History… and why not pay a visit to Britain’s oldest botanic garden?
Useful information: Sheldonion Theatre open 10am until 1pm & 2pm until 4:30pm (Mon – Sat). £3.50 ad / £2.50 ch. Tours are available May to October. Both museums are open 10am until 5pm daily (Ashmolean closed Monday) and both are free. Botanic Gardens open 9am until at least 5pm. £4.50 ad / under 16s free.