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Facts about Oxford

How To Have The Perfect Oxford Day Trip

Are you taking a 1 day trip to Oxford? It’s easy to visit Oxford in a day. With our ideas and itinerary below, we believe that you are going to have a wonderful time!

Our Oxford day trip itinerary includes the most famous Oxford University colleges, museums, famous literary spots, Harry Potter highlights and beautiful outdoor activities.

 

The Perfect Oxford Day Trip

We can’t guarantee that you are going to fit all of this in, so pick and choose what you most want to see to suit your own tastes and pace. Let’s discover Oxford in one day!

Facts about Oxford
Punting in Oxford

Visit the most prestigious University in the World

All Souls College is the most prestigious academic institution in the whole world. As you peek through the gates, you’re looking at a University which the majority of people will never step in. 80 hopefuls apply to study here each year and only 2 manage to get in.

The good news is that once you are accepted, you can stay and study here as long as you wish to! Famous past students include English architect Christopher Wren, the leading physician Richard Master and British philosopher Stephen R. L. Clark.

Want to get in to just take a peek? You can visit the college free of charge from 2pm to 4pm during the week and when it is open on Sunday.

Visit a museum (or two or three!)

Oxford has such an array of fantastic and prestigious museums to visit, that it is impossible to visit all of them in one day.

Here are our three favourites.

We recommend a short visit to a couple of them, or to put your efforts into just one and make the most of what it has to offer.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Founded in 1860 and proudly housed in a magnificent neo-Gothic building, there are plenty of specimens and artifacts to enjoy at Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Highlights include the extinct dodo bird, the oldest remains of a human burial found in the UK ever and a stunning butterfly and moth collection; renowned as one of the most beautiful and scientifically important in Britain. The museum is open every day from 10am to 5pm. Entry is free.

Modern Art Oxford

Fast forward to today and this is your chance to see exciting, bold and international contemporary art at Modern Art OxfordIt’s free to visit here and is open 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday. It’s closed on Mondays and open 12pm to 5pm on Sundays.

Stand below the Bridge of Sighs

There’s no denying that the University of Oxford and Cambridge University have had a turbulent history together – with an ongoing rivalry that still exists today. One way that they compete with each other is through the Bridge of Sighs.

Cambridge University built theirs first over the River Cam in 1831. The University of Oxford saw it and thought they would build their own in 1913. Which one is better? We’ll let you decide!

See 12 million books in the Bodleian Library

Welcome to one of the oldest libraries in Europe! The Bodleian Library holds over 12 million items and is only here today thanks to an incredibly generous donation of £23,000,000 from the Weston family.

We recommend taking a 30-minute tour to experience the most beautiful parts of this historic library. The tour includes Duke Humphrey’s library as well as the 15th-century Divinity School! Tours run from Monday to Saturday. Check the tour times here.

Visit the largest bookshop in the world

Next door to the Bodleian Library just so happens to be the largest bookshop in the entire world: Blackwells Bookshop. It may look quite small from the front, but once you step inside, a whole new world opens up. Blackwells Bookshop holds around 150,000 books!

You will have a lot of fun looking through the aisles: just make sure to keep an eye on the time otherwise you may end up being here all day – lost within the nooks and crannies of this bookshop maze.

See Radcliffe Camera

Whilst you are in this area of town, you must make a quick stop at Radcliffe Camera. You may mistake this building to actually contain a camera inside; yet ‘camera’ simply means ‘room’ in Latin. Instead, the Radcliffe camera holds many history books within its walls.

There’s an underground tunnel connecting it to the Bodleian library – so if you need anything from here, it will be moved along a conveyor belt and delivered to you shortly!

Have lunch in Oxford’s 1770s covered market

Oxford’s heritage covered market is a very unique and special experience that we recommend visiting around lunchtime! You’ll find independent local vendors inside, selling the most delicious food, fresh flowers, unique jewellery, special gifts and so much more.

You can visit from 8am till 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 4pm on Sundays.

Eat sweets where the real Alice in Wonderland did

Are you a fan of the Alice in Wonderland books by Lewis Carroll? Alice was a real girl whose father was the leader of Christ Church College in the 1850s (more about visiting Christ Church later in this article!).

Lewis Carroll was a professor of Mathematics and Logic when he met Alice at the University. He never thought that his story involving a rabbit, a Mad Hatter and a very angry Queen would be so popular, but we, along with many others, adore the books.

You can get lost down the rabbit hole yourself by stepping into Alice’s shop on 83 St Aldate’s. This is exactly where the real Alice bought sweets for herself 150 years ago.

Enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

For all the Harry Potter fans reading this, an Oxford trip is not complete without visiting the Christ Church College Great Hall.

The Great Hall, Christ Church College

This is where the filmmakers drew their inspiration from for the Harry Potter films; so much so that they built a replica of the hall in their studios in London.

Christ Church College Hall

Memorable scenes from the films where shot here nonetheless. The staircase is where the famous entrance scene is shot as Professor McGonagall greets Harry, Ron and Hermione and the hallways were used in different scenes too.

Christ Church College is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4.15pm and 2pm to 4.15pm on Sundays.

Divinity School

If you have stepped into the Bodleian Library already today, this means you have already seen Hogwarts’ Infirmary and Hogwarts’ Library. Take the 30-minute tour if you haven’t done so already to see both magical places!

Discover more Harry Potter in Oxford here

Discover Britain’s oldest botanic garden

Did you know that Oxford has Britain’s oldest botanic garden? Founded in 1621, this oasis has around 6000 different types of plant, some of the UK’s oldest redwood trees and is right in the city centre. With it being so easy to access, and a respite from the city centre, we highly recommend a visit!

Go punting along the river

It’s more difficult than it looks, but any visitor to Oxford should give this traditional and quirky sporting and leisure activity a go! Just around the corner from our SBC Oxford school at Dragon School is the perfect place to go punting.

Hire a punt and pole, and enjoy gliding up and down the river with your friends and family. Mid-March to mid-October is the perfect time to try.

See a show at the Sheldonian Theatre or Oxford Castle

To finish your Oxford day tour in style, we believe seeing a Shakespeare play at the Sheldonian Theatre or at Oxford Castle is the perfect evening activity. You will find many different Shakespeare plays in various locations throughout Oxford regularly throughout the year. Even if English isn’t your first language – you will still have a lot of fun watching the actors and the props and sets they use.

What activities will you choose for your Oxford day trip?

With all of these ideas for an Oxford 1 day itinerary, we hope you’re feeling inspired to explore this fascinating city! At Summer Boarding courses we run English language residential Summer Schools in the UK for international students aged 8 to 17. Many of our schools are in Oxford!

Why not come and spend a Summer in Oxford with us to enjoy all of these activities and sights with international students from around the world?

Find out more about studying with us!