Pitt Rivers Museum

Top choice in Oxford

Displays in the Pitt Rivers Museum.

©Amy Pay/Lonely Planet

If exploring an enormous room full of eccentric and unexpected artefacts sounds like your idea of the perfect afternoon, welcome to the amulets-to-zithers extravaganza that is the Pitt Rivers museum. Tucked behind Oxford’s natural-history museum, and dimly lit to protect its myriad treasures, it’s centred on an anthropological collection amassed by a Victorian general, and revels in exploring how differing cultures have tackled topics like ‘Smoking and Stimulants’ and ‘Treatment of Dead Enemies’.

Wandering its three balconied floors, you may come across anything from Mesopotamian temple receipts to Japanese Noh-theatre masks or a warrior’s helmet made from the skin of a porcupine fish. There’s even an entire case of lamellaphones (wait and see!).