10 Things To Do In Oxford by an Oxonian

March 5, 2017

Bridge of Sigh in Oxford

Oxford is one of my favorite cities in the World. I spent a wonderful year there studying and I highly recommend everyone to visit this beautiful historical town when you visit England. You will be blown away but this magical city and all the history that surrounds you. things to do in oxford

Inside Christ Church Chapel -  Top 10 Things to Do in Oxford  

Inside Christ Church Chapel –  Top 10 Things to Do in Oxford

  Top 10 Things to Do in Oxford

  1. The Colleges of Oxford University

The main reason to visit Oxford is to explore the colleges of the 800 year old university. These colleges are truly spectacular. You should make sure to visit Christ Church College, which is probably the largest college in Oxford. Harry Potter was filmed in its spectacular dining room. Another beautiful college is Magdalen College. It has a beautiful garden with deers running around in it. Trinity and Balliol Colleges in the city center are also worth a visit. Trinity was founded in 1555 and it was the alma mater of many famous writers such as Graham Greene, Simon Tolkien. Balliol is famous, because this college prides itself to be one of the first colleges in Oxford. It is about 800 years old. All these colleges have a beautiful dining room and a charming little chapel. I also really like St-John’s College, which is the richest college in Oxford, therefore it is very decorated and beautiful. Keble College is another unique and interesting college with a very beautiful architecture. It was built with red bricks and it is very different in style from all the other colleges in Oxford. Check out the garden and the lake of Worcester College. It is a truly beautiful college with a fabulous garden. I spent many sunny afternoons in this garden tanning by the lake. Visiting the colleges is one of the main Oxford tourist attractions.

Christ Church College -  Top 10 Things to Do in Oxford  

Christ Church College –  Top 10 Things to Do in Oxford


  1. Bodleian Library

You should visit the Bodleian Library where Harry Potter studied in the movie. It is a beautiful historical place. Anyone can buy a ticket to walk in and visit this beautifully decorated library with a very long history. This historical library is one of the most important places to see in Oxford.

Bodleian Library -  Top 10 Things to Do in Oxford  

Bodleian Library –  Top 10 Things to Do in Oxford


  1. Ashmolean Theatre

Walk around the Ashmolean Theatre. This is the building where all the students are matriculated as they start their studies and that’s where we all graduated.

Radcliffe Camera in Oxford -  Top 10 Things to Do in Oxford  

Radcliffe Camera in Oxford –  Top 10 Things to Do in Oxford


  1. Discover the Oldest Pub in the UK

If you are wondering what to see in Oxford besides the colleges, check out the pubs. The Bear was founded in 1242 and it is the oldest pub in the UK. It is older than any colleges in Oxford. The ceiling is low, as people were shorter back in the days. The walls display a large tie collection. In the middle of the 20th century, men could exchange the snippet of their club ties for a pint at the Bear. There are about 4500 snippets of club ties displayed on the walls of the Bear.

The Oldest Pub in England, The Bear

The Oldest Pub in England, The Bear


  1. Have a high tea at the oldest Coffee Shop in England

The Grand Café in Oxford was established in 1650. It is a beautiful traditional coffee shop. You should drop by for a high tea. Next to it is the Examination School where all the students of Oxford University take their exams. If you hang around outside during the end of the term, you will likely to see students running around in their traditional Oxford examination attire called the sub-fusc. I used to just call it a Harry Potter outfit. Across the Street the Queens Lane Coffee House was established in 1654. The place prides itself for being the Oldest Established Coffee House in Europe. Visiting this place is one of the most fun things to see in Oxford.

The Oldest Coffee Shop in England

The Oldest Coffee Shop in England


  1. Visit the Malmaison Hotel and walk around in the old fortress

The hotel used to be a prison and it was converted to a hotel later. It is one of the most expensive hotels in Oxford. It is definitely worth a visit. The prison cells were converted to bedrooms. Today, it is a luxury hotel. It has a nice bar. The hotel looks like a big castle from outside. If you want to splurge, this is one of the best places to stay in Oxford.

Inside the Malmaison Hotel - An Old Forstress

Inside the Malmaison Hotel – An Old Forstress


  1. Visit the Ashmolean Museum

The museum is free and it is worth a quick visit. The building is really beautiful. The best part about the museum is the restaurant on the top with a spectacular view of the city from above. This museum is one of the cultural things to do in Oxford england

Ashmolean Museum

Ashmolean Museum


  1. Climb Up to the Top of the Carfax Tower

Carfax Tower is on the corner of St Aldate and Cornmarket Street. It is the highest tower in Oxford and if you make it to the top, you can see the entire city from above. The junction where the tower is considered to be the center of the city. You can see all the colleges below you from up there.


  1. Visit the Natural History Museum

The museum is situated a bit further North of Oxford. The building is so beautiful. It is the most beautiful Natural History Museum I have been to around the World. The collection is pretty interesting as well. You can see skeletons of dinos and butterflies.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

10. Visit the famous Pubs, Eagle & Child and Lamb & Flag

These pubs on St Giles are famous because of their long history and because C.S. Lewis and Tolkien used to spend time writing in these pubs. These pubs were funded in the 17th century and they are filled with history. They smell like beer inside, but that’s part of their glamour. These pubs are some of the most fun places to visit in Oxford.

Eagle & Child Famous Pub in Oxford

Eagle & Child Famous Pub in Oxford

Lamb & Flag Famous Pub in Oxford

Lamb & Flag Famous Pub in Oxford

Best restaurants in Oxford:

  • Branca is an Italian restaurant that serves delicious Mediterranean dishes. The restaurant is in Jericho. 111 Walton Street. The food is the best I have had in Oxford. It is also not pricey. 
  • Rooftop Restaurant at Ashmolean – It is on the rooftop of the Ashmolean theatre with a magnificent view of the city and the nearby colleges. The dishes are beautifully presented.
  • Quod Brasserie & Bar – This restaurant in the center of the town (on High Street) serves mainly English dishes. It is a trendy popular place with delicious food. The impressive building used to be a bank.
  • Vaults & Garden – It is housed in the undercroft of the university church of St Mary’s, serving fresh, healthy dishes and many vegetarian options. It is open for breakfast or lunch. This is one of the healthiest places to eat in Oxford.

Oxford is a wonderful historical city and you will feel like you flew back in time, as you walk around the beautiful streets of this charming English town. I really love this town and I believe that there is no other place like Oxford, so everyone should go and visit it and I promise you will also fall in love. Visiting Oxford is one of the best things to do in Oxfordshire.

Punting In Oxford

Punting In Oxford

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Article Name
10 Things To Do In Oxford
The article details all the famous sites in Oxford and all the beautiful colleges one should visit as well as all the historical buildings, pubs and museums.

About Barbara

Barbara is a London based luxury travel and lifestyle blogger. She started traveling through Paris, London, New York, Milan, Tokyo at the age of 17 to conquer the World as a model. Ever since, she has visited 67 countries. She writes about the most exclusive jet-set destinations such as Cannes, Venice Film Festivals, Monaco Grand Prix, Oscar Parties in LA, Fashion Weeks in Milan or Paris as well as yacht parties in St-Tropez, Miami Art Basel, Biennale in Venice, Frieze in London or the Royal Wedding in Monaco.

  • Paige Brown

    I had no idea that Oxford had the oldest pub AND the oldest coffee shop in England! That’s really interesting. I’m heading to the U.K. for the first time next spring and you’d better believe that Oxford, its beautiful buildings/history and apparently oldest drinking holes are on my list of things to do!

    • Barb

      You will love it there. I m glad I sparked your interest about the city.

  • Guy Crotty

    Weirdly in nearly 5 years of living in London I’ve visited Cambridge a bunch of times but never been to Oxford. After this article, maybe it’s time for a change!

    • Barb

      You wont be disappointed if you go for a daytrip in Oxford. I can promise you that.

  • Vyjay Rao

    Though I have never been to Oxford, I feel so close to it. This is because of literature, my passion for reading and English literature ensures that I have a virtual relation to this beautiful university town. Punting is something which has always excited me whenever I have read about this in books. It is a dream to get there someday, in the interim enjoyed your post.

    • Barb

      Thanks for the kind words. I hope you will come here and discover it s interesting history one day.

  • Suruchi Mittal

    Oxford is beautiful in every way and it is a treat for the Harry Potter lovers. The oldest cafe and Pub are so fascinating and the prison converted to one of the luxurious hotels Wow! Your pictures are great.

    • Barb

      Thanks, appreciate it. Yes, it is a wonderful place to discover. Everyone, who visits England should see it.

  • I love Oxford. It is such a lovely city. High tea at the oldest Coffee Shop in England sounds good. Will try that the next time I visit.

    • Barb

      You will love it without a doubt. It s a magical place.

  • Claire Summers

    Oxford really is such a beautiful City. I really haven;t explored it enough. I’ve been several times but can’t say I’ve done any of the wonderful things on your list. Next time I wil make sure to visit some of the historic buildings, and of course one or two of the pubs!

    • Barb

      Sounds good! I m always happy to return back to OX. It s such a magical place

  • megan_claire

    Oxford is one of my favorite cities in the UK – such a beautiful and historic spot with beautiful historic buildings in elegant honey tones!! I do love that beyond the rich history and tradition, Oxford is a young city at heart – I guess that’s the influence of a big university city though. Wandering through the colleges was one of the highlights of my trip – thought also probably influenced by my Harry Potter obsession too!

    • Barb

      Yes, it is a paradise for HP fans. They come in massive vawes to discover Christ Church College, where the movie was filmed.

  • Katherine Nairn

    I’ve not heard of the converted prison, sounds an interesting place. Oxford is so nice for a day visit and full of so much history. Great article on all the things to do in Oxford.

    • Barb

      Thanks! Yes, it is a wonderful destination. I recommend everyone to visit this wonderful place.

  • Kavita

    Great selection of things to do, I think you’ve touched on all the things I’d recommend too, and I love the photo showing people punting! It’s such a gorgeous city, both architecturally and in terms of history and the fact that it’s a lively university city.

    • Barb

      Yes, it has a lot to offer to its visitors. I recommend everyone to visit the city, who visits London.

  • I stayed at the Malmaison hotel years ago, but had no idea Oxford was home to the UK’s oldest pub! Great guide, I’m heading back to Oxford in a few weeks for a wedding so will keep your suggestions in mind!

    • Barb

      Oh, lucky you! The Malmaison must have been fun!

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