Whether you’re in Oxford for a weekend or a few days, there are plenty of things to see and do. From the city’s dreaming spires to its storied past, here are some of the best things to do in Oxford!
One of the most important things to do in Oxford is visit the Bodleian Library. This ancient university library is home to some of the most incredible art and architecture in England.
Radcliffe Square is a picturesque site that gives visitors an idea of what Oxford must have looked like centuries ago. Surrounded by historic buildings such as the University Church of St Mary the Virgin and the Bodleian Library, this is one of the city's most iconic attractions.
The central point of this square is the imposing Radcliffe Camera designed by James Gibbs. With its circular dome and Palladian architecture, it's one of the most recognizable sights in the city.
The Bodleian Library
The Bodleian Library is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and the main research library for the University of Oxford. Its name derives from its founder Sir Thomas Bodley who rescued the library in the 1590s and financed its rebuilding.
The building originally housed a collection of 281 manuscripts donated by Duke Humfrey, the younger brother of King Henry V. However, in the 1550s the Dean of Christ Church, Richard Cox, removed all the books he considered unsuitable and burnt them.
The Bodleian has expanded over the centuries to accommodate its ever-growing stock of books. It now houses the most important book collections in the UK.
The Ashmolean Museum
The Ashmolean Museum is Britain’s oldest public museum, and it houses a huge collection of art and archaeology. Its treasures include the world’s greatest Raphael drawings, the most important Egyptian pre-Dynastic sculpture outside Cairo, and the foremost collection of modern Chinese painting in the Western world.
The museum’s collections represent half a million years of human history and creativity. From ancient Egyptian mummies to modern art, the Ashmolean Museum is a must-visit when in Oxford.
The museum is open all day, and it’s also wheelchair accessible. You can explore it independently or as part of a sightseeing tour of Oxford, which often includes other attractions such as the Bodleian Library and Christ Church College.
The Sheldonian Theatre
The Sheldonian Theatre is one of the most well known Oxford attractions. It was designed by Christopher Wren and is a beautiful Grade I listed building.
The Theatre is used for University ceremonies such as matriculation and graduation. It also hosts lectures, music concerts and other events throughout the year.
The Theatre is located at the eastern end of Broad Street, behind the Clarendon Building and the Bodleian Library. It is usually open Monday-Saturday, except when it is used for University functions.
The Old Fire Station Building
Oxford is a city of many historical buildings and attractions. It has an amazing collection of universities, churches, houses and other buildings that all have their own special story to tell and some are even special listed buildings of national and international importance.
The Old Fire Station Building was built in 1894 and formerly a fire station. In 1971 it was leased by the Meadows Players Company and is now a centre for performance, dance, drama and musical performances together with lectures and recitals.
Oxford is a city that has so much to offer visitors, from soaring spires and winding alleyways of cobblestone to the breath-taking colleges it is famed for. Yet dining out here can be a challenge as most of the city's best restaurants are dominated by chain restaurants.
The latest addition to the restaurant scene in Oxford is Quod Restaurant, located beneath the Old Bank Hotel on the High Street. This smart bistro-style venue is perfect for Sunday lunch with the family or a cocktail with friends.
Head chef Rohan Kashid serves a range of European classics with an emphasis on British produce. His team create daily blackboard specials and a superb value weekday set lunch menu.