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How to Spend 1 Day in Oxford

How to Spend 1 Day in Oxford

With attractive medieval streets, an assortment of beautiful buildings, and atmospheric old alehouses patronized by literary greats, Oxford is a joy to explore—even for time-tight travelers. In case you have only 24 hours to tour this world-famous hub of learning, we’ve put together the ultimate 1-day itinerary to help you maximize every moment.

Morning: Tour the University

The university has been at the heart of Oxford for centuries, and touring it is a must. Take a student-led walking tour for insights into college life, a filming locations tour to see backdrops used inHarry Potter andInspector Morse, a bike tour to cover more ground in less time, or a flexible hop-on hop-off tour to craft your own itinerary. No matter your method, Oxford University highlights include the renowned Christ Church College, Bodleian Library, and the Ashmolean Museum, whose treasure-filled collection includes everything from Egyptian artifacts to J.M.W. Turner paintings.

Afternoon: Treat the Taste Buds

There’s more to Oxford than mere academic institutions—it also has a flourishing culinary scene. Join a guided food tour for a local’s take on the town’s eating highlights. Sample gourmet goods—including Oxford blue, a creamy and tangy veined cheese produced in the region—from artisan shops, markets, and street stalls. Sweet-toothed travelers may prefer a chocolate-themed tour with stops at Oxford’s finest chocolatiers, cafés, and candy shops. If you’re more partial to a tipple than a sweet treat, take a tour of the Oxford Artisan Distillery (TOAD) instead, which produces spirits such as gin, absinthe, rye whiskey, and vodka. 

Night: River Cruises and Pub-Hopping

Spend the evening drifting down the Thames, floating past the university boathouses, Christ Church Meadow, and tranquil riverside pastures. Choose a cruise that includes dinner at a riverside restaurant, or opt for a cruising package that includes a prepacked picnic to be enjoyed alfresco.

If all that sounds a little too genteel for your taste, opt for a pub-hopping tour instead. Oxford is packed with historic watering holes, many of which were frequented by famous writers such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. A guide can bring you to the best of them, reveal anecdotes about well-known clientele, and introduce you to the best of British real ale. 

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9 Tours and Activities | All Oxford Tours

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Oxford University Walking Tour With University Alumni Guide

Oxford University Walking Tour With University Alumni Guide

star-5
Walk the halls of one of the world’s oldest and most famous universities on this walking tour of Oxford University. Get a glimpse of student life as you peek inside the famous Bodleian Library and see landmarks like the University Church of St. Mary, Radcliffe Camera, and Trinity College. Learn about the prestigious university’s famous alumni, hear fascinating stories and anecdotes about its history, and see on-campus locations used in the Harry Potter films.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$25.91
From
$25.91
Taking safety measures

City Sightseeing Oxford Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

City Sightseeing Oxford Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

star-4
Experience one of the world’s greatest university cities on this hop-on hop-off Oxford bus tour. With a 24- or 48-hour pass, design a personalized itinerary with several possible stops including the University of Oxford buildings (some featured in the 'Harry Potter' films), Oxford Castle, and Bodleian Library, one of the world’s oldest public libraries. Enjoy unobstructed views from the open-top viewing deck and fun onboard commentary as you savor this elegant city.
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  • 40 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$21.39
From
$21.39
Taking safety measures

'Inspector Morse,' 'Lewis,' and 'Endeavour' Walking Tour of Oxford

'Inspector Morse,' 'Lewis,' and 'Endeavour' Walking Tour of Oxford

star-5
Follow in the footsteps of Inspector Morse, star of the British TV detective drama that was filmed on the streets of Oxford. With a guide, you’ll see the eminent university city through the eyes of Morse and his sidekick Lewis, visiting filming sites such as pubs and even one of the university colleges. Along the way you’ll learn all about the cast and crew who were involved in the much-loved productions of Inspector Morse, the Lewis spin-off series, and the Endeavour prequel—all filmed in the city.
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  • 2 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$25.27
From
$25.27
Taking safety measures

Oxford PRIVATE Pub and City Evening Walking Tour

Oxford PRIVATE Pub and City Evening Walking Tour

star-5
Enjoy Oxford’s pubs and illuminated historical sights on this small-group evening walking tour. With a knowledgeable local guide, delve into the twilit streets and visit two or three pubs as you hear urban legends, stories about student antics, and tales of this university town’s past. Discover pubs favored by famous alumni, relax into the sociable atmosphere, and admire the exteriors of well-known colleges on route, all after the daytime sightseers have left.
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  • 2 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$142.59
Price varies by group size
From
$142.59
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Harry Potter Insights Oxford PUBLIC Tour with entry to Divinity School film site

Harry Potter Insights Oxford PUBLIC Tour with entry to Divinity School film site

star-4.5
Calling all fans of the world’s favorite wizard, this Oxford walking tour takes you to recognizable locations of the Harry Potter films. During this family-friendly tour, explore the grand buildings of Oxford University, including New College and Divinity School—both featured as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Learn of other literary legends that attended Oxford University and admire the Bodleian Library, home to more than 11 million books. This small-group tour is limited to 15 Harry Potter fans to maintain an intimate atmosphere. If you prefer, choose the private tour of New College with just your party and guide. 
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$32.40
From
$32.40
Taking safety measures

Oxford Sightseeing River Cruise Including a Picnic

Oxford Sightseeing River Cruise Including a Picnic

star-4.5
Explore one of England’s most ancient cities on this 2.5-hour sightseeing river cruise in Oxford. Cruise onto the tranquil Thames River as your skipper points out places of interest such as Christchurch College, the Meadows, the Oxford University boathouses, Osney Island, Port Meadow and Folly Bridge. See a side of Oxford's rich heritage that many visitors miss, and discover sites made famous by authors including Lewis Carroll and C S Lewis. Stop off along the way for a delicious picnic of delicacies such as potted salmon and Mediterranean vegetable loaf.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$59.84
From
$59.84
Taking safety measures

Sundowner Cruise with Three Course Riverside Dining

Sundowner Cruise with Three Course Riverside Dining

star-4.5
Make unforgettable memories in the heart of Oxford on this 2-hour dining experience with evening cruise. Step aboard your vessel as the sun slowly sinks on the horizon, and cruise out onto the Thames River. Sip chilled Prosecco as you wind your way along the tranquil waterway, and gaze out over Christchurch Meadows and the university boathouses. Afterwards, alight at the mooring outside The Folly restaurant and follow the candles and fairy lights to your table. Then, enjoy a delicious 3-course a la carte dinner in the restaurant’s romantic surroundings. 
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$77.70
From
$77.70
Taking safety measures

Oxford Bike Tour Including Full Day Bike Rental

Oxford Bike Tour Including Full Day Bike Rental

star-4.5
Explore Oxford’s historic town center and ivy-strewn university buildings on this bike tour. Cycle through the City of Dreaming Spires alongside a guide, and learn about the city’s history as you take in University of Oxford buildings where the likes of Oscar Wilde, J. R. R. Tolkien, and several British prime ministers have studied. This bike tour allows you to cover more ground than you would on a walking tour, as well as access pedestrianized areas inaccessible to tour buses.
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  • 2 hours
From
$35.31
From
$35.31

The Oxford Artisan Distillery Afternoon Tour

The Oxford Artisan Distillery Afternoon Tour

star-5
Taste and discover grass-to-glass spirits at TOAD (The Oxford Artisan Distillery.) The 1-hour tour gives you a behind the scenes look at the distilling process, with stops at the Old Threshing Barn, the lab, and the distillery itself.  Your tour is lead by a team member, ensuring an immersive and comprehensive experience. Try two of TOAD’s gins and vodka at the end of your visit.
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  • 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$25.93
From
$25.93
Taking safety measures