Welcome to Oxford


The university

Although there’s more to Oxford than Oxford University, the university is very much the city’s defining feature. Consistently ranked among the world’s most prestigious academic institutions, the university can trace its history back to the 11th century. Within 200 years, it had taken shape as a loose association of independent colleges, and that medieval institution remains recognisable to this day. Modern visitors flock to Oxford to explore those same colleges, housed for the most part in their original historic buildings, and to admire shared university resources such as the magnificent Bodleian Library and the world-class Ashmolean Museum.

Architecture

A gloriously mellow ensemble of golden-hued wonders, Oxford unquestionably ranks among England’s most beautiful cities. In fact, as you stroll through its historic and homogenous core, it can be hard to believe you’re in modern England at all. Certain specific buildings stand out, like the domed and glowing Radcliffe Camera, and you can admire masterpieces by such great architects as Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor. Really, though, the joy of visiting Oxford lies in the sheer cumulative splendour of college after century-old college, each playing its own permutation of Gothic chapels, secluded cloisters, and tranquil quadrangles.

Literary Oxford

City of dreaming spires, or city of inspiring dreamers? Oxford authors have an extraordinary record for producing epic works of fantasy, imbued with dreamy, otherworldly qualities. The city would still look familiar to former dons such as Lewis Carroll, author of Alice In Wonderland, and JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, responsible for The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia respectively. Wind in the Willows author Kenneth Grahame went to school in Oxford, while Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials, revolves around alternative versions of the city. Even Dr Seuss (Theodore Geisel) was here, studying literature at Lincoln College.

Pubs

As befits a city of students and professors, Oxford is one of the last bastions of the great British pub. Irresistible old pubs dotted down its central lanes and alleyways include the charmingly convoluted Turf Tavern, the Bear Inn and the King’s Arms. Some double as literary landmarks, like the Lamb & Flag and the Eagle & Child, near neighbours and regular haunts of the ‘Inklings’, a group of writers that included CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Yet more lie out in the surrounding countryside, reached by idyllic riverside walks, like The Perch, The Trout and the Isis Farmhouse.


Top experiences in Oxford

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Oxford activities

$127.26 Cultural & Theme Tours

Stratford-upon-Avon, Cotswolds, Oxford Tour from London

Meet your guide at Victoria Coach Station to begin your tour. Hop aboard your first-class, luxury coach and relax as you travel northwest, away from the hustle and bustle of England’s capital.Your first stop is the medieval Warwick Castle, whose magnificent towers and ramparts remain mostly intact. Travel back through 1,000 years of history as you cross the footbridge to a bygone world of banquets, battles and ceremony. Climb the winding staircase to the Princess Tower, or, if you're feeling brave, visit the spine-chilling dungeons where prisoners were tortured. You might wish to take a stroll through the castle's lovingly tended gardens, where archery, falconry and jousting take place in the summer months.Next, head to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of the famous playwright William Shakespeare. Visit Shakespeare's Tudor-era home, with its typical parlor, bedrooms, kitchen and buttery. After, enjoy some free time for lunch (own expense) at one of the many charming eateries.Then make your way to Oxford. Known as the ‘City of Dreaming Spires,’ Oxford is home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world. On arrival, step out of your coach and enjoy a walking tour of the city center with your guide.Plug into your state-of-the-art headset and listen to your guide clearly as you pass by the elegant, timeworn buildings and courtyard that have inspired generation of scholars, including Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea, Hugh Grant and Kate Beckinsale. See the Bodleian Library and Christ Church College, where Harry Potter scenes were filmed and where Albert Einstein studied.Next, enjoy a brief stop for refreshments (own expense) before hopping back inside your coach and traveling through the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, an area steeped in gentle English beauty, history and heritage. Look out the window to admire the thatched-roof cottages and charming inns.Your day trip then concludes back at Victoria Coach Station in the evening.

$79.04 Cultural & Theme Tours

Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford Custom Day Trip

Leave London on your air-conditioned coach and travel west to Windsor, the home of Windsor Castle, an official residence of Queen Elizabeth II. Extending over 13 acres (five hectares), this imposing castle houses lavish State Apartments, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and magnificent St George’s Chapel, the burial place of King Henry VIII. On arrival, show your pre-booked ticket or pay your entrance fee (depending on the option selected), and head inside to view the State Apartments, St George’s Chapel and other highlights, all brought to life by audio guide commentary. The display of British pageantry that is the Changing of the Guard takes place in the Castle precincts on an almost daily basis, so you may catch this colorful morning ceremony if your tour takes place on one of the days it occurs and if you have purchased an entrance ticket to the Castle. Alternatively, use your time to explore the town of Windsor and stroll around its quaint streets. You may also see the New or Old Guard of soldiers marching to the Castle if your tour coincides with a Changing of the Guard ceremony. Usually accompanied by a military band, the Guards march through central Windsor in their bright red tunics and bearskin helmets, making an impressive sight. From 26 October 2018 to 6 January 2019 (closed on 23 Nov & 14 Dec) ,  A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex  will form part of your visit to Windsor Castle. This special exhibition will feature the wedding outfits worn by the couple at their wedding in May 2018. After visiting in Windsor, head for Stonehenge. This UNESCO-listed stone circle rears dramatically from Salisbury Plain and is cloaked in mystery. Perhaps purchase an entrance ticket from your guide and take an audio-guided tour that delves into the stones’ spiritual importance and their associations with figures such as King Arthur and Merlin. Or view Stonehenge independently from outside and ponder its mysteries yourself as you take photos of this incredible prehistoric monument. Later, continue to Oxford. Home to Britain’s oldest university, the colleges of this honey-stoned town inspired scholars such as Lewis Carroll and J R R Tolkien. Take an included walking tour to admire Christchurch College, the Bodleian Library and Sheldonian Theatre as you listen to your guide’s crystal-clear commentary on your Vox headphones. Afterward, return to London where your tour ends with a drop-off at Victoria coach station.

$159.14 Cultural & Theme Tours

Downton Abbey, Oxford, and Highclere Castle from London

Meet your expert guide in London and set off by coach to the historic city of Oxford, approximately a 1.5-hour drive away. As you travel, your guide will keep you entertained with stories about this must-visit city, home to the world-famous Oxford University. The colleges that make up Oxford University represent the city’s architectural highlights, and you’ll explore these during a comprehensive walking tour. Wander through ornate chapels, lavish libraries and spacious halls. Before leaving the city, you’ll have free time to discover its endearing charms independently. Perhaps visit one of its famous ‘Old English’ inns for lunch (own expense) or maybe explore Oxford’s wealth of interesting streets and independent shops. In the early afternoon, hop back on board your luxury coach and head to the pretty village of Bampton in Oxfordshire, the setting for the exterior village scenes in the TV show 'Downton Abbey'. See Matthew Crawley's mother's house as well as the hospital from the second series. Learn about how the current villagers' homes are transformed into the Post Office and the pub for the TV show, and explore the Bampton Archive and local exhibitions to learn about the village history. After visiting Bamtpon, head south to Highclere Castle in Hampshire. Famous as the filming location for the hit TV series Downton Abbey, the stately castle dates to the Victorian era and is set in the middle of 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of stunning parkland. With your guide, tour this incredible castle and see rooms frequented by the likes of Lady Mary, Cousin Matthew, Lord Grantham and other characters in the popular Edwardian drama. Venture through the magnificent main hall, library and sitting rooms, and learn about the real-life family — the Carnarvons — who lived in the castle since the 17th century. After your walking tour of Highclere Castle, enjoy some free time to explore the beautiful grounds or relax with a hot drink and cake in the castle's tea rooms (own expense). Your full-day tour finishes back in London, where you’ll arrive in the early evening. Upgrade to include a signed copy of “At Home at Highclere: Entertaining at The Real Downtown Abbey” book written by Lady Carnarvon.

$132.62 Day Trips & Excursions

Oxford, Warwick Castle, Stratford-upon-Avon Tour from London

After a pickup from Victoria Coach Station, travel by coach to Stratford-upon-Avon to visit the birthplace of William Shakespeare: one of the greatest writers in the English language. Take a private tour of Shakespeare's Schoolroom before it opens to the public, and enjoy a school lesson included with your tour. Then, enjoy some free time to explore the market town that’s home to the theaters of the famous Royal Shakespeare Company. A river winds its way through the town past Holy Trinity church, where Shakespeare is buried. There are half-wooden buildings which date back to Shakespeare's time, including the cottage of Anne Hathaway, who he married in 1582. After exploring, enjoy lunch in one of the town’s many cafes or restaurants (own expense).Continue from Stratford-upon-Avon to Warwick, home to Warwick Castle. With a history dating back over 1,000 years, the castle will take you to an era of banquets, battles and royal splendor. After entering, your guide will leave you to explore independently. Listen to an introduction to the historical site from Warwick Castle’s history team, and then explore the site at leisure. See the waxwork displays from Madame Tussauds that are showcased at the castle, and see and hear of the Earl of Warwick's preparations for battle. Then, perhaps take a look at the ghostly dungeons where prisoners were tortured.Then travel to Oxford, a city that boasts one of the world's greatest and oldest universities as well as some of the finest architecture in Europe. See it all on a walking tour, and learn all about the colleges themselves, with their ivy-clad stone walls that protect the beautiful chapels, halls and libraries.Then, simply meet your guide back on board your coach to travel back to central London.

$212.99 Multi-day & Extended Tours

2-Day Cotswolds, Bath and Oxford Small-Group Tour from London

Leave the hustle and bustle of London behind for two lovely days in the picturesque English countryside. This two-day tour takes you to the Cotswolds, Bath and Oxford. Day 1: Your first destination is Wiltshire, a rural county of small villages and scenic landscapes, perfect for a relaxing day in the country. Visit the three stone circles of Avebury, the lesser-known sister of Stonehenge. Stop by the Marlborough White Horse, which is a hill figure, cut in the ground in 1804 by school pupils and the Abbey house, which was once home to the Talbot family. Then head to the village of Lacock, the setting for many TV and film productions, including Pride and Prejudice and the Harry Potter films. Your guide will then take you to the city of Bath, famous for its Georgian architecture, where you will see the city’s renowned Roman Baths. You'll have enough free time there to explore the town and grab lunch. (at owns expense) Take a deep breath of the hot steam and feel a bit like the Romans felt 2000 years ago. Your first day ends in Cirencester, a small market town in the heart of the Cotswolds, where you’ll stay the night in your choice of either a 3-star bed and breakfast or 3-star hotel. Your guide will recommend you some local restaurants, where you can enjoy your dinner (at own expense).Day 2:After breakfast (included), explore more of the Cotswolds. Visit Bibury, a village that typifies the region’; Stow-on-the Wold, a small market town; and Bampton, better known as Downton Village where scenes from the hit Downton Abbey TV series are filmed.Last but not least, make your way to Oxford and discover the charming college courtyards and winding alleys. Harry Potter fans may recognize a few places used in the films! Head back to London with a new appreciation for the English countryside.

$20.08 Cultural & Theme Tours

Oxford University Walking Tour with Bodleian Library and Entry

This 2-hour Oxford University walking tour, starting in central Oxford at 2pm (departures at 11am and 2pm on weekends), is designed to show you the world behind the doors. Using Oxford University students as your guide, the walking tour unearths the drama behind this historic institution with a unique style. Small intimate groups enable the guides to concentrate on more diverse aspects of University life and you to ask more from them. Go inside one of oldest College of the University, as well as the Bodleian Library, experience a taste student life. Get an in-depth history of the University colleges, including All Souls College, Trinity College, Oriel College, Hertford College, Merton College, Radcliffe Camera, University Church of St Mary and many more University sights.Also get an equally in-depth history of the town. Learn about ceremonies at Oxford, famous graduates, and their little known experiences at Oxford, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland and also the famous "finishing story" which details how the most powerful Archbishop of Canterbury England has ever seen, came to be burnt at the stake in Oxford!