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Oxford

Culture & History

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Our most recommended Oxford Culture & History

Oxford: University and City Walking Tour

1. Oxford: University and City Walking Tour

Join a university-educated guide, with years of experience and local knowledge of Oxford City and colleges. See the dreamy spires of one of the oldest universities in the world on a guided walking tour. Go inside some of the city’s most historic colleges, such as New College, founded in 1379 and more recently seen in the Harry Potter films and television productions of Inspector Morse and Lewis. Visit Exeter College, founded in 1314, and another favorite on most tours. Stop by Hertford College, with its romantic façade and Bridge of Sighs, instantly recognizable from Brideshead Revisited. See the University Library and learn about the collegiate system unique to Oxford and Cambridge. Discover famous alumni who studied and taught at the university, including the infamous Dr Spooner, whose portraits hang in New College Dining Hall and whose name is given to the playful linguistic phenomenon of spoonerisms.

Cambridge Uni Tour Led By Alumni w/ Optional Kings College

2. Cambridge Uni Tour Led By Alumni w/ Optional Kings College

Discover some of the most famous colleges in Cambridge. Learn more about student life at one of the world's most prestigious universities from a University of Cambridge graduate guide. Visit famous chapels and libraries and listen to fascinating anecdotes. See where Prince Charles, Sir Isaac Newton, and Stephen Hawking studied. Stroll from King's College on King's Parade and pass landmarks such as Trinity Hall College, Trinity College, and Corpus Christi College. Look inside Pembroke College and marvel at the vaulted ceiling of King's College Chapel. Admire The Senate House, Great St Mary’s Church, and The Eagle pub where Watson and Crick announced they had discovered the secret of life.

Oxford: Harry Potter Tour with Divinity School Entry

3. Oxford: Harry Potter Tour with Divinity School Entry

Follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and other characters from the Harry Potter movies. J.K. Rowling applied to study at Oxford University and so she was familiar with Oxford. When they were producing the films, Rowling walked the producers around Oxford, pointing out various sights which they could use, such as the statue that looks like 'Nearly Headless Nick', and Turf Tavern Lane, which looks like Knockturn Alley. This tour showcases where the Harry Potter movies were filmed in Oxford. It includes entry to 1 film site only via the Divinity School, where they filmed the classroom, dance, and infirmary scenes. You will be passing the city's famous sights and colleges from the outside. You will also be provided with lots of insights about the actors, the producers and about JK Rowling's inspirations. As you walk around, you will take part in a Harry Potter quiz to test your knowledge of the books and films. The guide will also describe how student life in Oxford compares with Hogwarts.

Blenheim Palace Admission Ticket

4. Blenheim Palace Admission Ticket

Discover the home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Wonder at this masterpiece of 18th century Baroque architecture, which houses some of the finest antique collections in Europe. Take a tour of the State Rooms and admire the portraits, tapestries and exquisite furniture while learning about the 300-year history of this National Treasure. Visit the Churchill Exhibition and learn all about the life of the great Prime Minister, starting with his birth at Blenheim Palace in 1874. The exhibition features photographs, extracts from his diaries, artefacts and a number of other elements. Explore this World Heritage Site set amongst over 2000 acres of parkland landscaped by one of the UK’s most famous landscape architects, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Take a stroll up to the Grand Cascades or around the lake to admire some of the finest views in England. Discover the array of Formal Gardens, including the Rose Garden, Churchill Memorial Garden, Water Terraces and Secret Garden. A short miniature train ride away from the Palace is the Pleasure Gardens, which boasts a Giant Hedge Maze, Butterfly House, Lavender Garden, and an exhibition about how the Gardens have been used and maintained throughout the Palace’s history.

Oxford: Afternoon Tea Sightseeing River Cruise

5. Oxford: Afternoon Tea Sightseeing River Cruise

Traveling down the University Regatta course, the boat passes Christ Church Meadows, the University College Boat Houses, and other landmarks on your way to Iffley lock. This is often a busy and vibrant section of the river where training rowing crews, punts, and pleasure boats jostle for river space in a wonderful display of Oxford at play. Passing through the lock at Iffley is an experience in itself. The river scenery and fascinating buildings combine to form a picture perfect location. Beyond Iffley you will travel into the tranquil water meadows that surround Oxford and there are abundant opportunities to spot wildlife amongst the green banks and overhanging willows. The boat turns for home at Rose Island, a favourite destination of Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell on their river journeys. Aboard the boat an indulgent afternoon tea is provided by the renowned riverside restaurant, the Folly. The traditional menu typically includes: a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, a selection of cakes, tarts, or petit fours, and tea.

Oxford: Official University and City Walking Tour

6. Oxford: Official University and City Walking Tour

Explore Oxford, the city of Dreaming Spires, on a walking tour with an expert guide from the city’s tourism board. Be shown the city’s most famous sights, uncover its hidden history, and enjoy all the astonishing stories about Oxford's key characters- real and fictional. Meet your guide at the grand and very old Broad Street (once the city's ditch) let them know where you come from and any special Oxford interests you may have and they will do their best to incorporate those.  Go to Martyrs' Memorial, the scene of terrible religious retributions in medieval times, and on to the oldest tower at St Michael of the Northgate built in Saxon times. Then, make your way to the very heart of the University and the inspiration behind Harry Potter's Hogwarts School. Pass by the pubs where the Inklings used to meet to discuss their writing as well as the pubs where Inspector Morse was filmed and the most popular student drinking holes in days of old. Discover the city that is home to several of Britain's most famous literary characters - both fictional and real - such as JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, Philip Pullman, and Colin Dexter as well as some of their most famous creations like Lyra and Will, and Inspector Morse. Admire Oxford's stupendous architecture, gargoyles and grotesques, so wonderfully preserved from every historical period and style, and take a stroll through the breathtaking Radcliffe Square. Cross the whimsical Bridge of Sighs as it's fondly known, just like the ones in Venice and Cambridge. See the Bodleian Libraries from the outside in the splendid Old Schools Quadrangle. Learn about the city’s famous museums including the Museum of the History of Science, containing Einstein's blackboard, The Pitt Rivers, once home to shrunken heads, and the fabulous Ashmolean, which was one of the very first ever museums in the world. If time allows, walk as far as to the beautiful Christ Church Meadows, where punting happens and cattle graze; a truly pastoral and quintessential English scene.

London: Full-Day Windsor, Stonehenge, and Oxford Tour

7. London: Full-Day Windsor, Stonehenge, and Oxford Tour

Enjoy a full day of English heritage visiting the exquisite Windsor Castle, captivating Stonehenge, and the beautiful university city of Oxford. On this day trip departing from London, you get the whistle-stop tour of these unique sites with interesting commentary from your guide along the way. Start your day at Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of HM Queen Elizabeth II. Visit the magnificent State Apartments still used for state occasions and royal receptions (if option selected). Take some time to explore the castle grounds and the 14th century St. George's Chapel, where you can admire one of the most beautiful examples of medieval church architecture in England. Next, go to the standing stones of Stonehenge, still clouded in mystery as an amazing feat of human engineering. Explore the prehistoric stone circle and learn about the theories around its construction (if option selected). Continue to the university city of Oxford, known as "The City of Dreaming Spires." A seat of learning since 1249, it's an idyllic location to explore on a fascinating walking tour.

Oxford Castle and Prison: Guided Tour

8. Oxford Castle and Prison: Guided Tour

Step into 1,000 years of Oxford’s history with a costumed tour guide. Climb the Saxon St. George’s Tower, descend deep underground into the 900-year-old Crypt, explore the Victorian Prison D-Wing and Debtors' Tower, and scale the Mound of the 11th-century Motte-and-Bailey castle. Built in 1071 and only closed in 1996, Oxford Castle & Prison is a site with so many fascinating tales to tell. From the modern day stretching all the way back to the barbaric medieval era. The site has links to the birth of education in Oxford, the famous legends of King Arthur, the valiant escape of Empress Matilda and the infamous modern-day cases of murderers and criminals. For hundreds of years, the site has held both famous and infamous residents, serving time as a religious site, a home for royalty, and a center of justice as the county jail. After your 50-minute tour, you will be led into the exhibition wing where you can explore at your own leisure.

Oxford Uni: Walking Tour with Optional Christ Church Entry

9. Oxford Uni: Walking Tour with Optional Christ Church Entry

Walk through pivotal moments of in Oxford history in this tour of Oxford University. Follow your Alumni guide and hear stories about the campus and admire architectural masterpieces.  See the lamp-post which inspired the world of Narnia and the architecture which inspired the book His Dark Materials. Marvel at some of the world’s greatest examples of Gothic and Baroque architecture. Enter Bodleian Library, which is one of the oldest in Europe and go into Jesus College.  Discover Oxford from a graduate that has first-hand experience with going to and getting into this prestigious institution. Enjoy hearing about what students really get up to on this classic 90 minute tour.

Full-Day Downton Abbey, Oxford and Bampton Tour from London

10. Full-Day Downton Abbey, Oxford and Bampton Tour from London

Explore Oxford, the City of Dreaming Spires, home to one of the world’s oldest universities. Admire the architectural highlights of the many colleges. Next on this 10-hour tour is a visit to Bampton, the setting for the exterior village scenes in Downton Abbey. See the church, the house of Matthew Crawley's mother, homes transformed into the post office and various pubs. Head to Highclere Castle, the country seat of the Earls of Carnarvon. The tour of the Castle’s public rooms includes the magnificent main hall, the library, sitting rooms and other rooms featured in Downton Abbey. Take home a copy of Lady Carnarvon's book as a souvenir of your visit.

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What people are saying about Oxford

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 3,353 reviews

This tour was excellent and informative. I could make the most of our day at Oxford thanks to this tour. Some feedback on this - The meeting point was very vague on both occasions and was a struggle to find. There were too many such walking groups around and we could not identify ours for a longish time. Perhaps instead of a generic postbox provide a proper shop name as the meeting. the walk from the ending point of the walking tour to punting point was too long and unmarked. You should end the tour close to the punting tour maybe ta the botanical garden. or the guide should take us to the punting place. we had to ask two people for directions despite asking for the name of the boat hire. We did not know the name from the guide till i asked.

It was a fantastic tour! The day tour was a surprise for my parents birthday, and they were thrileld. We really enjoyed discovering the british countryside with the excitement to see Downton Abbey real life places. The Castle was beautiful, and it really felt like jumping into the tv show. A wonderful guide was taking care of us, sharing interesting information and also giving us time to explore by ourselves, and enjoy the quiet. Bus was very comfortable, schedule was kept on time. Deeply recommended.

So much fun - our guide Josie was energetic and engaging, and had interesting stories to tell us, all while taking us on a lovely walk around Oxford and its different colleges. The punting was easy to find as well thanks to Josie's simple directions, and was a very relaxing way to spend some time on the water.

My husband and I really enjoyed the tour. Stratford, Cotswolds and Oxford are lovely and definitely worth visiting. The tour was informative and well organized. Great value for money. We highly recommend it.

Hannah was extremely well informed about Oxford and the places we visited. She was easy to understand and to listen to. Excellent tour guide.