Visiting Oxford: Places to See and Things to Do

So, you’ve arrived at Oxford, and it’s time to plan your first adventures out in the city. But where do you start? Oxford is a beautiful place that offers activities and views for everyone. But, in a way, this can be a burden, too, because there’s just SO MUCH to do. And, if you’re only here for a short time, you won’t want to feel like you’re missing out on the really important places. So, I thought I would create this little guide to help you get started.

The purpose of this page is to give you a hand when it comes to planning your trip to Oxford and/or preparing for the things to see and do while you are there. I will list the ‘unmissable’ spots and why they can be good, and try to describe the various activities so you can pick the ones that best match your personality and interests. So, let’s get started.

Choosing The Best
Places to See in Oxford

From iconic historical landmarks to world-class museums and verdant parks, Oxford has something to suit every passion. One of the must-see destinations in Oxford is the University of Oxford, with its stunning architecture and rich history spanning centuries. You can wander through the historic colleges, such as Christ Church College, Magdalen College, and All Souls College, admiring their architectural splendor and learning about their storied past.

For those interested in delving into Oxford’s past, the city boasts an array of historical sites, including the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and the Radcliffe Camera, an iconic 18th-century building that serves as a reading room for the Bodleian. Art enthusiasts will delight in Oxford’s vibrant cultural scene, with world-class museums like the Ashmolean Museum, home to a diverse collection of art and antiquities spanning thousands of years, and the Modern Art Oxford, showcasing contemporary artworks from around the world.

And lastly, nature lovers can escape the hustle and bustle of the city by exploring Oxford’s picturesque parks and green spaces. Shotover Country Park, for instance, offers miles of scenic walking trails through woodlands and meadows, while University Parks provides a serene retreat along the banks of the River Cherwell

More Oxford Places

Beyond the well-known landmarks and institutions, Oxford harbors numerous hidden gems waiting to be discovered. These lesser-known spots often offer unique insights into the city’s character and charm. Here’s the complete list of places worth seeing in Oxford.

Things to Do in Oxford

In Oxford, there’s no shortage of activities to suit every taste and interest. Delve into the vibrant atmosphere of local markets, where you can browse artisanal crafts, sample gourmet treats, and mingle with friendly vendors. Catch the latest blockbuster at one of the city’s cinemas, or immerse yourself in the rich cultural scene by attending theater productions, concerts, or art exhibitions.

When it comes to gastronomy, Oxford boasts a diverse culinary landscape, ranging from cozy cafes serving up hearty breakfasts to Michelin-starred restaurants offering innovative cuisine. After a day of exploration, unwind in one of the city’s charming hotels, each with its own unique character and amenities to ensure a comfortable stay.

Sports enthusiasts will find plenty to keep them active, whether it’s rowing along the River Thames, cycling through picturesque countryside, or participating in local fitness classes and sporting events. Throughout the year, Oxford plays host to a myriad of festivals, markets, and cultural celebrations, providing endless opportunities to connect with the community and experience the city’s lively spirit.

And for those who love to shop, Oxford’s streets are lined with a mix of high-street brands, independent boutiques, and specialty stores, offering everything from fashion and homeware to books and artisanal goods. With so much to see and do, Oxford promises an unforgettable experience for visitors and residents alike. Here’s a partial list, you can use the button below to see more:

Oxford Taverns: The Bear. Image courtesy of Joanna Penn.

The Bear Inn

The Bear Inn (or “The Bear” for short) is one of Oxford’s oldest pubs. People have been visiting and drinking at The Bear since 1242, although the current building was built

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Shops to See in Oxford: Blackwell's Bookshop. A Massive Historical Store. Image courtesy of Chuca Cimas.

Blackwell’s Bookshop

Blackwell’s Bookshop first opened its doors in 1879, on Broad Street, Oxford. They have been trading continuously from there ever since. The History of Blackwell’s Bookshop The first Blackwell’s Bookshop

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Oxford University Colleges

Oxford Worcester College. Image courtesy of Dave_S.

Worcester College

A constituent college of the University of Oxford in England, Worcester College was founded in 1714 by Sir Thomas Cookes.

Oxford University: Wolfson College. Image courtesy of Iqbal Aalam.

Wolfson College

Wolfson College is an all-graduate college affiliated with the University of Oxford in England, located near the River Cherwell.

Oxford University: Wadham College. Image courtesy of Andrew Gray.

Wadham College

Wadham College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. It is located in the centre of Oxford.

Oxford University Libraries

Oxford University - Angus Library and Archive. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Angus Library and Archive

The over 70,000 items from the Angus Library and Archive are devoted to the history of the Baptist movement from 1612.

Oxford University - Vere Hamsworth Library. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Vere Hamsworth Library

The Vere Harmsworth Library is part of the Bodleian Libraries and houses a collection relating to the history of the United States.

Oxford University - Taylor Institution Library. Image courtesy of Lizzlebob.

Taylor Institution Library

The Taylor Institution Library (or the Taylorian) is Oxford University’s centre for the study of Modern European languages and literatures.