Samuel Pepys' London


The diaries of Samuel Pepys provide a unique access into the world of 1660s London, from its teeming streets, theatres and taverns to the machinations of the court of Charles II. Starting from Pepys' record of events, we will explore the life of the City during what was unquestionably its most eventful decade. Themes of special interest will be the impact of the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of the following year. We will then leave the City via Temple Bar to explore the rapidly developing West End, and on to Whitehall and the court of Charles II to reassess the historical accuracy of Pepys' impressions of this flamboyant and deeply flawed monarch.

Programme details

Seminars meet each weekday morning, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study, or exploring the many places of interest in and around the city.

Please note that OUDCE reserves the right to alter course content and/or cancel field trips in accordance with government guidance.

Samuel Pepys comes to London. Taking the earlier years of his diary as our guide, we will explore the tensions which gripped the capital during the final days of the Commonwealth. Pepys' preoccupations over money and professional advancement and his enthusiastic pursuit of the pleasures London had to offer provide unique insights into the life of the city.

The Great Plague of 1665. Unlike most of his wealthier neighbours and colleagues, Pepys remained in London throughout the epidemic. His objective account of life in the city during that summer and autumn challenges popular assumptions shaped by the melodramatic and fictionalised descriptions of later years, notably that of Daniel Defoe.

The Great Fire of London. Pepys' vivid, day-by-day account of this cataclysm is arguably the most widely familiar section in his diaries. We will retrace his steps during those four terrible days as he struggled to balance his private and public interests. We will then consider the fire’s aftermath, the impacts on London society and the various proposals that were made for London's regeneration into a modern city.

A virtual tour of the City and its environs will compare the London known by Pepys with the City today. It may be found that there is as much continuity as there is change in the fabric of the City and the habits of its inhabitants.

The Court of Charles II. Pepys offers numerous insights into the world of this flamboyant monarch during the later years of the 1660s, as London struggled to reinvent itself following the Great Fire. The diaries provide a vivid picture of a court and capital city on the verge of profound transformations.


Description Costs
Fee option 1 (single en suite accom and meals) £1565.00
Fee option 2 (single standard accom and meals) £1380.00
Fee option 3 (twin en suite accom and meals) £1472.50
Fee option 4 (double en suite accom and meals) £1472.50
Fee option 5 (twin set standard accom and meals) £1380.00
Fee option 6 (no accom; incl lunch and dinner) £1070.00


All fees are charged on a per week, per person basis.

Please be aware that all payments (and refunds) are subject to exchange rates at the time of processing.

Payment terms

  • If enrolling online: full payment by credit/debit card at the time of booking
  • If submitting an application form: full payment online by credit/debit card or via bank transfer within 30 days of invoice date

Cancellations and refunds

Participants who wish to cancel must inform the Programme Administrator in writing: by email to or by post to The Oxford Experience, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, OXFORD, OX1 2JA, UK.

The following cancellation and refund policy applies in all cases:

  • Cancellation within 14 days of online enrolment / payment of fees – full refund of all fees paid

  • Cancellations received up to and including 30 April 2021 – OUDCE will retain an administration fee of £100 per week booked; all other fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received between 1-31 May 2021 – OUDCE will retain 60% of the fees paid; the remaining 40% of fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received on and after 1 June 2021 - no refunds will be made.

Important note: You need to take out travel insurance to cover the programme fee and travel costs.


Dr Kees Windland

Kees Windland is a graduate of St Cross College, University of Oxford and is a specialist in modern British cultural history. He has conducted a wide variety of courses for OUDCE over the past eighteen years and is a notorious frequenter of the seamier corners of 17th c. London.

Teaching methods

Participants will be taught in seminar groups of up to 12 people. Elements of this teaching will normally include mini lectures and presentations by tutors and tutor-led class discussions.

Assessment methods

There are no assessments for this course.


Registration closes on 1 May 2021.

Please note: most courses fill up fast so early registration is strongly recommended.

Single accommodation and non-residential places may be booked online by clicking on the “Book now” button in the “Course details” box at the top right-hand side of the course page.

If you experience any difficulties enrolling online please contact the Programme Administrator at

Those requiring twin or double accommodation should complete an application form as these rooms cannot be booked online. Completed forms should be sent:


During your course, you will stay in typical Oxford student accommodation at Christ Church in buildings which range from the 18th to the 20th century.

Participants should note that bedrooms are modestly-furnished, do not have air-conditioning and are arranged on a staircase of four or five floors.

The following types of accommodation are available:

  • Single en suite

  • Single standard

  • Twin en suite

  • Double en suite

  • Standard ‘twin set’

En suite rooms include private bathroom facilities (shower, washbasin and toilet). Standard rooms have their own washbasin and shaver point but bathroom facilities are shared. ‘Twin sets’ comprise two single rooms opening off a sitting room.

Please note that only single accommodation may be booked online; those requiring twin or double accommodation should complete an application form. (See “Application”.)

Please indicate your accommodation preferences (either online or on your application form), together with a note of any mobility problems.

We regret that we are unable to offer you accommodation at Christ Church prior to or following your course. Additionally, family or friends who are not enrolled in the programme cannot be accommodated in college.

We also offer places on a non-residential basis whereby participants can take classes and have meals (lunch and dinner) at the college, having arranged their own accommodation elsewhere.