Why we love Oxford
Just an hour by train from London and you’re in the city of dreaming spires. And Oxford is crammed with them. A seat of scholars for 800 years, it houses Britain’s oldest university, botanical gardens, and pubs. It has more quadrangles, gothic spires and listed buildings than you can shake a gown at. Add cobbled lanes, canals and the odd punt along its rivers and it becomes a real heart-breaker. Although bursting with museums, libraries and galleries, there’s more to this gem than its beauty and towering intellect. Harry Potter fans can spot film locations, shoppers will love its nearby bargains, foodies will drool over its lip-smacking choice. And if that isn’t enough, it sits on the doorstep to the Chilterns, the Cotswolds and the baroque country pile of Blenheim Palace.
Every book ever written at Bodleian Library
Take a guided tour of the country’s second largest library, which holds a copy of every single book every published in England since 1662.
An Aladdin’s cave of treasures, Unicorn is a centre of Oxford’s quirky vintage scene. It’s rammed to the rafters with vintage clothes, accessories and shoes from 1950s tea dresses to sequinned waistcoats.
Britain’s greatest palace is in the Cotswolds – the magnificent Blenheim Palace and the birthplace of Winston Churchill. One of the most popular attractions in the Cotswolds, you can take an upstairs or downstairs tour and wander around its famous maze.
Things to do in Oxford
Featured things to do
One of the city’s most beautiful spots
Located just opposite Magdalen College, you can dart in here and escape the bustle of the High Street and hide among the newly sprouting trees and blooms.Learn more about Magdalen College
Take a punt
Hop onto a relaxing punt down the River Cherwell. Discover the inspiration behind Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland, and enjoy a picnic aboard this hand-crafted beauty.Learn more about punting in Oxford
Head into history
For those who dare - check out tours of the castle and 900-year crypt. Learn about the ghost of Matilda, Henry I’s daughter, or a headless King Charles I.Learn more about Oxford Castle
An evening at a museum
The Ashmolean dusts off the old image of artefacts and adds a new twist, and find out just how a camel sculpture escaped the Nazis.Learn more about Ashmolean Museum
Places to stay in Oxford
Be among the oldest university in the English speaking world, checkout the architecture, the bookshops and cool bars, and The Malmaison - a former Victorian prison that you can stay in.
An affluent part of Oxford with red-brick Victorian houses and tree-lined streets. It’s peaceful nature, and you’re budget will go further here. Explore the canal network here.
Is diverse, full of life and has lots of diverse restaurants and bars, and is the home of Oxford’s street art. It’s close to Magdalen College and the Oxford Botanic Gardens are here too. It also has a summertime carnival.
For literary types and lovers of small pastel painted houses and independent cafes, this is your place. Situated in the north, you’ll find some cracking restaurants and cocktail bars. Both the Ashmolean Museum and the Museum of Natural History are here.
Getting to Oxford
Located in the heart of Oxfordshire, Oxford is 45 miles from Heathrow Airport and just over an hour by car. From London Heathrow and Gatwick airports, you can hop on The Airline coach service, which runs 24 hours a day. National Express services from Stansted Airport also serve Oxford, taking just under two hours.
Oxford is easily accessible from every corner of Britain, with London to Oxford train services taking around 60 minutes from London Paddington. Experience Oxfordshire has a range of maps and guides to help you plan your visit to Oxford. You can also explore using a bus tour operated by City Sightseeing Oxford.
Oxford’s main attractions are best explored by foot, a walk from the train station to the city centre is just 15 minutes.
The Oxford Bus Company provides frequent and affordable travel across Oxford, with quick and convenient contactless and cash payment options. Stagecoach offers city centre services and runs routes to the stately home at Blenheim Palace to the north, around 35 minutes away. Five Park and Ride locations exist to keep the city centre car free and run into the centre regularly.
If ever a city was made for cycling, it would be here. Oxford is home to several dockless bike hire operators, where you can access cycles via a free downloadable app by scanning a QR code. Bainton Bikes also provides cycle hire and self-guided tours. You can access a cycle route planner too.
Want to know more?
Check out Experience Oxfordshire for top insider tips and travel inspiration.