City of Oxford from Above at Sunset, United Kingdom
City of Oxford from Above at Sunset, United Kingdom

The best things to do in Oxford

 

The historic city of Oxford prides itself on being home to the oldest University in the English-speaking world! But it’s not all history and academia - Oxford has a thriving and diverse culture, with eclectic independents and a foodie scene to rival any big city.

If you’re wondering what to do in Oxford, these are the best things to do, from sightseeing and places to eat to shopping. Hop in a Zipcar to explore Oxford your way.

 

Eat and drink in Oxford

These cafes, bars, restaurants and places to eat in Oxford will take you from morning coffee to a nightcap in the wee hours.

The Handle Bar

The Handle Bar

The Handle Bar

Rub shoulders with students at this artsy and eclectic café-bar-restaurant-gig venue hybrid. The Handle Bar serves delicious breakfast, brunch, lunch, as well as delicious coffee, sweet treats, smoothies and even evening tapas dishes and cocktails on the weekend! Why not stop in for a slice of cake and a coffee to recharge after a walking tour?

Oli’s Thai

Pad thai

Oli’s Thai

A hinge-pin in Oxford’s Asian restaurant scene, Oli’s Thai is a tiny 5 table restaurant that pack big flavours into every one of its dishes. So much so that the restaurant has earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand four years running. If you love Thai food, it’s advisable to book waaaay in advance of your visit to Oxford. 

The Varsity Club

Cityscape of Oxford

The Varsity Club

The roof terrace at The Varsity Club boasts panoramic views in amongst the Dreaming Spires of Oxford. The perfect setting for a special occasion, romantic date or simply to treat yourself with an expertly crafted cocktail or a bite to eat as you admire the birds-eye view across the city.

Places to visit in Oxford

Iconic architecture, scenic parks and the winding river Thames makes Oxford a joy to explore. Be sure not to miss these sights while visiting the city.

Christ Church

Christ Church

Christ Church

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate this ancient marvel of British architecture. Not only is Christ Church a key college of Oxford University, but it has also featured in many famous movies, perhaps most notably the Hall of Christ Church, which was the Great Hall in the Harry Potter films.

Walking Tour

radcliffe Camera building

Walking Tour

Arguably the most popular thing to do in Oxford for tourists, walking tours are a fascinating way to learn more about the history, architecture and academia of this famous University city. Oxford walking tours are usually run by the students themselves, who can offer unique insights to life at one of the world’s leading seats of learning.

Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum

Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum

Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum

Oxford has many firsts, and the Botanic Garden is another one, as the first of it’s kind in the UK – founded in 1612. A stunning array of trees, plants and flowers can be found in the carefully tended gardens and glasshouses – over 5000 species in total. It’s a must-visit for any plant lover.

Shopping in Oxford

Pick up unique souvenirs from your trip and support local independent stores on your visit to Oxford.

Oxford Covered Market

oxford covered market

Oxford Covered Market

Support Oxford independent traders at this historic covered market dating back to the 1770s. Not only will you be contributing to Oxford’s heritage, but the narrow corridors, busy shop windows and colourful eaves make it highly Instagrammable!

Reign Vintage

vintage clothing

Reign Vintage

The very best in vintage fashion awaits at Reign. From vintage Levi jeans and reworked plaid shirts for everyday wear, to 80s cocktail dresses and statement jumpsuits, find your own unique and sustainable style at this vintage emporium. 

Objects of Use

garden fork and trowel

Objects of Use

Practical, useful and hardwearing items that will last a lifetime – Objects of Use might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of buying souvenirs in Oxford, but their expertly and sustainably crafted collection of household items are both intriguing to look at and actually serve a purpose.

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