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.

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 vividly evoke 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 written in later years, notably that of Daniel Defoe.

The Great Fire of London. Pepys' 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.

Field trip to the Museum of London to view the 'War, Plague and Fire' gallery. There will follow a walking tour of sites connected with Samuel Pepys and the Great Fire, from the Fire Monument, along the river from the site of old London Bridge to St Olave’s, Hart Street, Pepys’ parish church.

The Court of Charles II. Pepys offers numerous insights into the world of this flamboyant yet deeply flawed monarch during 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.

Field trip
Destination: Museum of London; City of London
Excursion rating: Moderate - up to two hours’ walk on even ground or up to an hour’s walk on uneven/unpaved surface and/or steep/hilly ground including lots of stairs and steps in houses and gardens.



Description Costs
Fee option 1 (single en suite accom and meals) £1715.00
Fee option 2 (single standard accom and meals) £1520.00
Fee option 3 (twin en suite accom and meals) £1617.50
Fee option 4 (double en suite accom and meals) £1617.50
Fee option 5 (twin set standard accom and meals) £1520.00
Fee option 6 (no accom; incl lunch and dinner) £1200.00


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

Please be aware that all payments made via non-UK credit/debit cards and bank accounts are subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

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

1. Cancellation by you

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 2022 – OUDCE will retain an administration fee of £100 per week booked; all other fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received between 1-31 May 2022 – OUDCE will retain 60% of the fees paid; the remaining 40% of fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received on and after 1 June 2022 - no refunds will be made.

Where course fees have been paid in currencies other than pounds sterling, refunds will be subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

2. Cancellation by us

OUDCE reserves the right to cancel a course where there is good reason, for example, if exceptionally low enrolment would make it educationally unviable. In these cases we will refund the course fees that you have already paid. If we cancel a course, our liability is limited to the fees that we have received from you; this means that we will not compensate you for any pre-booked travel costs or any other expenses incurred.

Where course fees have been paid in currencies other than pounds sterling, refunds will be subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

The status of this course will be reviewed on 1 May 2022. If it is likely that the course may be cancelled, all those affected will be notified by email within 7 days; if you have not heard from OUDCE by 8 May 2022, you should assume that your course will be running. You may wish to delay finalising your travel arrangements until after this date.

3. Travel insurance

You need to purchase travel insurance to cover the programme fee, travel costs, and any other expenses incurred.


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 twenty 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 2022.

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:

Level and demands

The Oxford Experience is aimed at non-specialists: no prior knowledge is required, and classes are pitched at an introductory level. The courses are designed for an international audience aged 18 and over.


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.