Favourite sights, tips and resources
Whether you're here for a week or a longer stay, make sure to explore the city of Oxford. We've drawn together some of our favourite sights, tips and resources, to help you get to know – or re-acquaint yourself – with our wonderful city.
The University's online interactive map that lets you choose what locations you'd like to see – including university colleges, departments, museums, libraries - plus a 'lifestyle' tab that includes pubs, ATMs and public transport.
A map of suggested Oxford itineraries is provided by Oxford City Guide, who also list events.
Things to see and do
Oxford's gardens, libraries and museums – collectively named 'GLAM' – should be among your first ports of call during your stay in Oxford. GLAM have created a handy landing page to guide you to their locations and events.
Individual members of GLAM are:
- The Ashmolean Musuem - the UK's oldest university museum, and nearest neighbour to Rewley House. Their collections are vast and varied. Don't miss the exhibition of Raphael's drawings, on until 3 September.
- Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum - Founded in 1621, the Botanic Garden collections have been used in teaching, research and conservation for almost 400 years. Unfamiliar and exotic plants grown at the Botanic Garden still amaze visitors today. With 98% of the collection on public display, there are over 150 botanical families and more than 1200 different species grown in the glasshouses.
- Museum of Natural History - and check in on the nesting swifts in the Museum's tower via the Swifts Webam
- Pitt Rivers Museum - adjoins the Museum of Natural History. It is one of the world’s great collections of anthropology and world archaeology. It includes tens of thousands of everyday objects which illustrate the diversity of cultural solutions to the same basic problems that we all face as humans beings.
- Museum of the History of Science - an unrivalled collection of early scientific instruments in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building. The museum’s collections of astrolabes and sundials are the largest in the world and include instruments once owned by Queen Elizabeth I, Cardinal Wolsey, and Nostradamus. The Islamic world is particularly strongly represented, from the 9th to the 19th century.
- The Bodleian Libraries - the largest university library system in the United Kingdom. It includes the principal University library - the Bodleian Library - which has been a library of legal deposit for 400 years; as well as 30 libraries across Oxford including major research libraries and faculty, departmental and institutional libraries.
A page of college visiting information, hosted by the University, should help you to start exploring a few of Oxford's most notable colleges. There are quite a few of them – 44 colleges and private halls – so be prepared to save some for your next trip!
Punting and river cruising
Oxford's two rivers are the Thames (known as the Isis where it passes through Oxford) and the Cherwell. Getting out on either or both rivers is arguably the most 'Oxford' thing you can do - particuarly punting.
There are two main places to rent punts in Oxford:
For a river cruise, or to rent a small river boat, visit Salter's just off Folly Bridge. Salter's Oxford's longest-established boatyard, founded 1858.
Bill Spectre's Ghost Trail has been cited by The Guardian as one of 'The Top 10 UK guided walks and tours' - check his site for times, and meet him at the Oxford Castle for a historical walking tour with a difference.
The University's events listing has talks, concerts, exhibitions, plays and more, all open to the public.
Daily Info offers one of the city's most comprehensive 'what's on' calendars.
Experience Oxfordshire's 'Things to do' listing looks beyond the city and into the surrounding area.
Oxford at a Glance tells you the short (and longer) facts and figures of the University of Oxford.