While London is home to some of the most beautiful attractions and experiences in the world, there is a lot to do and see beyond this fast-paced city. The United Kingdom is well-connected through an extensive network of roads and railways. Due to this, it is easy to plan a day trip from London, which is especially close to towns and cities such as Windsor, Cambridge, Bath, and Stonehenge. One popular day trip destination is Oxford, home to the world-renowned Oxford University. Read on to find out everything you need to plan your London to Oxford day trip.
Oxford is open to visit, with safety measures and guidelines in place to ensure visitors’ safety. You can now explore this old city as it slowly opens up. Please note that some attractions are not yet open to visitors, so it is advised that you check before you go.
Located about 90 kilometers from London, with a travel time of about 1.5 hours, Oxford is a university city and home to one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Oxford University was founded in the 12th century, and thus, the city of Oxford has buildings in nearly every style of English architecture. Visitors can discover all the filming locations used in the Harry Potter film franchise here, drink at a bar where J. R. R. Tolkien frequented, or try their hand at punting - a popular Oxford pastime.
Oxford is located about 92 kilometers northwest of London.
This is the most convenient way to explore Oxford. When taking an Oxford day trip, guided tours typically cover your transfers from one location to another. These also include a knowledgeable tour guide who can tell you about the history of the city and its many secrets.
A non-guided tour is one where visitors can explore Oxford on their own and at their own leisure. Non-guided tours give you the flexibility to choose when, how, and where you will go.
In a combo tour, you will visit Oxford along with other locations. You can pick from Windsor, Stonehenge, Cambridge, Stratford, and more. Transportation is arranged and you will be accompanied by an expert guide to ensure a hassle-free visit.
If you're on a budget Oxford tour, purchase coach tickets from London, and tickets to the particular Oxford attractions you want to visit. Try to get audioguides wherever available.
If you’re looking to explore the city in-depth, opt for a guided London to Oxford day trip. Your professional tour guide will lead you to all major attractions in Oxford, such as Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library, and Bridge of Sighs, and give you interesting facts and insights into this medieval city.
Explore beyond Oxford with a combo tour. Some popular cities visitors can discover are Cambridge, Bath, Windsor, Stonehenge, and Startford, among others, with these tickets.
The following are some popular tourist attractions in Oxford, most of which are covered in Oxford tours. Please note that the Oxford Museum of Natural History is set to reopen on September 22, 2020, while the Sheldonian Theatre remains temporarily closed.
The second largest library in the UK, after the British Library, this is a must-visit when in Oxford. The library has 12 million items and has about 400 years of records of English literature. The Bodleian Library is also famous for being entitled to receive a free copy of every single book published in England.
Also referred to as the “Heart of Oxford”, the Radcliffe Camera is one of the city’s most iconic buildings. It was Oxford’s first circular library, and today, it has become the main reading room of the Bodleian Library.
Initially, in the 12th century, the church was used by those at the university for occasions like awarding degrees or services. Today, it serves as a church and as a tourist attraction - one from where visitors can get unparalleled views of the city.
This museum was established in 1850 and displays many of the university’s natural history specimens. The building has a neo-Gothic architectural style, and houses fossils, rocks & minerals, and zoological items, among others.
Established over three centuries ago, the Ashmolean Museum is the world's first university museum. This museum is dedicated to art and archaeology, with massive collections of each. Some of the pieces found here are drawings by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci; the Kish tablet; and a Viking hoard.
The Sheldonian Theatre serves as the official ceremonial hall for the University of Oxford. It was built between 1664 and 1669 and is best known for its complex D-shaped timber roof.
The Hertford Bridge connects two parts of Hertford College, thus deriving its name. It is, however, popularly known as the Bridge of Sighs due to its similarity to the original Venetian bridge.
Oxford Castle is a medieval castle that was built for William the Conqueror in 1071. By the 18th century, after most of the building was destroyed, the remains of the building were used as a prison. Today, this is a popular tourist attraction where visitors can see the remains, along with St. George’s Tower, the motte, and the crypt.
While Oxford is charming throughout the year, the best time to visit Oxford is between May and September. The weather is pleasant, and one can indulge in many outdoor activities.
However, please note that July-August is peak tourist season in the city, so ensure you visit before or after this time if you want to avoid the crowd.
Oxford has a range of places for people to eat and drink at - from pubs & cafes to Michelin-star restaurants, you will find it all here.
When in Oxford, you must try Pad Thai at Oli's Thai, tapas at Arbequina, and curry at Yeti. Other popular eateries include the Rooftop Restaurant at the Ashmolean, Gee’s, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, and Kazbar. If you’re looking for a traditional tea experience, head to Queen's Lane Coffee House, which has been serving up delicious beverages since 1654.
Do note that the city centre of Oxford has all the expensive restaurants and shops. If you’re looking for something cheaper, head to areas like Jericho and Cowley Road.
Oxford has many options when it comes to accommodation options. If you’re looking for budget-friendly places you can opt for a hostel or camping. For a mid-sized budget, you can choose a B&B, cottage, apartment, or a guesthouse. If you're looking for something high-end, you can pick from an array of luxury hotels and resorts.
Here are some recommendations to help you get started:
When in Oxford, head to Queen Street, Cornmarket Street, and Westgate Shopping Centre, if you are looking for chain retailers.
The Covered market is a historic market with stores inside the building. It opened in 1774, and has been open to visitors since. Here, you can find a plethora of unique boutiques selling everything you want, and more.
If you’re looking for more luxury retail, you can either head to the city center or Bicester Village, which is a half-hour train away from the city.
Here are some things that are a must-do when in Oxford:
Yes, there are frequent direct trains from London to Oxford, where you do not need to change trains.
Yes, there are many options available for a London to Oxford tour. In fact, it’s best to opt for a guided tour, as you can get information about the city, which enriches your travel experience. Additionally, your transfers are taken care of, ensuring your visit is hassle-free.
When in Oxford, you can visit its stunning colleges, brilliant museums, or go punting. You can also try traditional English food or grab a pint of beer at one of the pubs. Other sights to visit are Radcliffe Camera, Oxford Castle, and the Bridge of Sighs.
The museum will be open September 22, 2020 onwards. Guests must carry their free timed entry tickets, as walk-ins are not allowed.
As Oxford is generally an expensive city, head to areas where students frequent to get a good and cheap meal. Walton Street, Jericho, and Cowley Road are popular places to eat at in Oxford.
You can use bicycles to get around Oxford. Apps like Pony Bikes and Mobike are popular and cheap options for dockless bikes, or you can also rent bikes for a full day. Oxford is a very bike-friendly city, so just stick to the lane and you should be fine.
Oxford is a wheelchair-accessible city. Oxford Shopmobility also allows for visitors to borrow a manual or electric wheelchair or scooter to travel in the City Centre based on prior booking. Please note that the Railway Station is fully accessible as well.
The best type of Oxford tickets are those that include guided tours. While slightly expensive, these are worth every penny as they give you an enriching experience.
While this depends solely on the tour, some popular attractions covered include Bridge of Sighs, Trinity College, Ashmolean Museum, and The Sheldonian Theatre.
Oxford University is made up of 38 colleges. While some are free to visit, others charge a nominal fee for visitors to gain access inside.
This depends on the attraction. However, most attractions offer discounts to children, seniors, and disabled individuals.
Again, this depends on the attraction. However, please note that most attractions have made it mandatory for visitors to book tickets in advance, such as the Bodleian Library.
Day trips from Oxford to London usually take ten hours, including transfers.
Yes, it is best to purchase your tickets in advance, as most attractions do not allow walk-in visits. With a pre-booked ticket, you can visit on the date and time of your preference.
The best time to visit Oxford is between May and September, when the weather is mild and pleasant.