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How to Spend 3 Days in Oxford

How to Spend 3 Days in Oxford

Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, has more to offer than showstopping architecture and rich academic heritage. It’s also within easy driving distance of historical sights such as Stonehenge and Blenheim Palace, and the picturesque Cotswolds region. Here’s how to enjoy three days exploring Oxford’s treasures and beyond the city limits. 

Day 1: Historic Oxford

Begin your Oxford adventure with the essential sights, checking off some of the university’s architectural heavy hitters and landmarks, from the neoclassical Radcliffe Camera to Christ Church College. This can be done while listening to commentary from the top deck of a hop-on hop-off tour bus or—for more historical and local insight—as part of a guided walking or bike tour. You can also explore Oxford through the lens of famous TV shows and movies with tours that visitHarry Potter andInspector Morse filming locations.

After a day of sightseeing, rest those legs on a leisurely cruise down the River Thames. Float past Christ Church Meadows and under Folly Bridge, stopping for a picnic dinner on the banks or for a 3-course meal at a riverside restaurant. 

Day 2: Day Trip into History or Nature

Oxford enjoys an enviable setting amid scenic rolling countryside, with many first-rate attractions nearby. History-keen travelers can take a day trip to two UNESCO World Heritage–listed sites: neolithic Stonehenge and the spa town of Bath. Spend the morning unpicking Stonehenge’s mysteries with the aid of an audio guide and the afternoon exploring the historical center of Bath. Alternatively, spend the day in the Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding National Beauty known for its gently undulating hills and quaint, time-warp villages—among them Great Tew, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Bourton-on-the-Water.

Back in Oxford, dedicate the evening to pub-hopping around town. Sink pints of ale paired with pub grub in the cozy nooks of characterful establishments where authors such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien used to socialize.

Day 3: Stately Homes and Culinary Discoveries

Squeeze in another side trip this morning to the magnificent Blenheim Palace. Just a 20-minute drive or 40-minute bus ride from town, this grandiose 18th-century home was gifted by Queen Anne to General John Churchill for his military efforts. It’s a lavish affair, set amid 2,000 acres (809 hectares) of grounds that encompass parkland, formal gardens, a butterfly house, and a hedge maze.

Return to Oxford for an afternoon tour that introduces you to the best under-the-radar foodie spots, from streets stalls to artisan sellers. Follow up the food tour with a visit to an Oxford distillery, where gin, vodka, and other spirits are made using locally grown organic grains. 

Come evening, sit down for dinner with a view at a waterside restaurant. You’ll find several options just outside the city center on the banks of the Cherwell and Thames rivers. 

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9 Tours and Activities | All Oxford Tours

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Cotswolds Villages Full-Day Small-Group Tour from Oxford

Cotswolds Villages Full-Day Small-Group Tour from Oxford

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Admire the best-known and hidden villages of England’s Cotswolds on this full-day small-group tour from Oxford. Traveling by air-conditioned minivan with a driver-guide, stop to explore villages such as Great Tew and Stow-on-the-Wold, and the hamlets of the Windrush valley. On route, enjoy lunch (own expense) in Burford, stroll around Bourton-on-the-Water, and visit the village and 15th-century ruins of Minster Lovell. Includes transport and central Oxford pickup and drop-off, with entrance fees at your expense.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$106.38
From
$106.38
Taking safety measures

1.5-hour Oxford University and Colleges Walking Tour

1.5-hour Oxford University and Colleges Walking Tour

star-4.5
Oxford University is one of the world’s most famous universities and this 90-minute walking tour takes you behind the scenes of its historic colleges. Follow in the footsteps of alumni such as Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, and J.R.R. Tolkien; admire architectural landmarks such as Trinity College, New College and the Radcliffe Camera; and peek inside the colleges, chapels, and halls.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$16.79
From
$16.79
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

2-Hour Cycle Tour of Oxford

2-Hour Cycle Tour of Oxford

star-5
See more of Oxford in less time, and get up close and personal with its world-famous scenery, on this small-group biking tour of the city and its major landmarks. Meet your guide in the center of Oxford, and climb on your cycle. Begin by discovering the Bridge of Sighs and other historical landmarks in the city center before heading to the Port Meadow and cycling along the Thames River. Finally, see the former residences of famous Oxford denizens like J.R.R. Tolkien.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$38.89
From
$38.89
Taking safety measures

Inspector Morse Filming Locations Walking Tour in Oxford

Inspector Morse Filming Locations Walking Tour in Oxford

star-4.5
Visit filming locations from the British television series 'Inspector Morse,' as well as spin-offs 'Lewis' and 'Endeavour,' on this Oxford walking tour. With a guide, learn about the making of the detective show and visit Oxford University colleges to gain insight into what it might be like to be a student here. End with an invitation to solve a murder mystery at one of Morse's favorite pubs. Entrance fees to university locations are included; drinks are not.
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  • 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$32.40
From
$32.40
Taking safety measures

Oxford PRIVATE Pub and City Evening Walking Tour

Oxford PRIVATE Pub and City Evening Walking Tour

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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

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

PUBLIC Morning Christ Church Harry Potter Film Site Tour

PUBLIC Morning Christ Church Harry Potter Film Site Tour

star-5
Fans of fantasy books won’t want to miss this 1.5-hour tour of Christ Church College, the setting and inspiration behind novels such as Alice and Wonderland and Harry Potter. By booking your ticket in advance, you’ll avoid the long lines outside of the prestigious Oxford University building, home to the Bodleian Library and adjoining Divinity School. Visit recognizable filming sites and learn about Lewis Carroll’s time at England’s oldest university.
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  • 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$64.81
From
$64.81
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