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Best of London to Oxford Tours

London to Oxford Day Trips 2020

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 Tours Post-COVID 19

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.

Health Measures & Guidelines at Oxford

  • To ensure the safety of visitors, most Oxford attractions are operating at reduced capacity in order to avoid overcrowding. 
  • It is essential that visitors carry their own masks and keep them on at all times.
  • Social distancing is mandatory, and hand sanitizing stations are available at the entry of most venues. Guests are also encouraged to carry their own hand sanitisers and use them as necessary.  
  • It is recommended that visitors pre-book their tickets and tours, as some attractions such as the Bodleian Libraries, do not allow walk-in visits and have to be booked to visit in advance.

Why take London to Oxford Day Trip?

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. 

Distance

Oxford is located about 92 kilometers northwest of London.

All Your Oxford Day Tour Options

london to oxford day trip
Guided Tour of Oxford

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.

Day trip to oxford
Non-guided tour of Oxford

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.

london to oxford day trip
Oxford Tour Combos

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.

Guided vs. Non-guided Tours of Oxford

oxford to london
Guided Tours
  • You will be accompanied by an expert guide throughout your trip, right from pick up to drop off.
  • In a guided tour, you will usually be a part of a larger group.
  • As part of a guided tour, your pick up, drop off, and transportation will be included.
  • Guided tours are usually done in a set schedule with a fixed itinerary.
london to oxford
Non-guided Tours
  • You can explore Oxford at your own pace, and visit the sights and locations you want to.
  • A non-guided tour isn’t done as part of a group.
  • Transportation is not included in non-guided tours. You will have to arrange it on your own.
  • Non-guided tours are flexible - you can explore the locations you want to, at your own pace.

Which London to Oxford Day Trips Should You Pick?

1. For those on a budget

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.

2. For those looking for a guided tour

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. 

3. For those who want to explore beyond Oxford

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. 

What to See in Oxford

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.

london to oxford day tour
1. Bodleian Library

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.

oxford university tour
2. Radcliffe Camera

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.

Oxford day trip
3. University Church of St Mary the Virgin

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.

london to oxford day tour
4. Oxford University Museum of Natural History

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.

oxford day tours
5. Ashmolean Museum

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.

oxford sheldonian theatre
6. The Sheldonian Theatre

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.

oxford bridge of sighs
7. Bridge of Sighs

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 and prison day tour
8. Oxford Castle and Prison

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.

Plan Your London to Oxford Day Trip

Getting there
Best time to visit
Food & drink
Stay
Shopping
Must-do
london to oxford
  • Coach: You can take a London to Oxford bus from Victoria Station. These are frequent, with one every 10-15 minutes, and have multiple pick up and drop off points. Your travel time would be around 1 hour 40 minutes.
  • Train: You can take a train from London to Oxford from Paddington station. These run frequently as well, nearly one every 30 minutes. Your travel time would be about an hour.
  • Car: One can also drive down to Oxford from London. Take the M25 to the M40 and get off at the A40 to reach Oxford. While this is a convenient way, keep in mind that parking in Oxford can be expensive. If you drive at a decent speed, the journey could take you about 1.5 hours.
  • Guided tour: As part of a guided tour, your transportation from London to Oxford is arranged in a private bus, usually with free WiFi.
best time to visit

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.

what to eat in oxford

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.

where to stay in oxford

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:

  • Hostels: Oxford Backpackers, YHA Youth Hostel, and Central Backpackers.
  • Camp sites: Diamond Farm, Oxford Camping and Caravanning Club Site, and Valley Farm.
  • Hotels: Royal Oxford Hotel, Jurys Inn, and Oxford Spires Four Pillars.
  • B&Bs: Artist Cottage B&B, Marlborough House Hotel, and Conifers Guest House.
  • Apartments: The Oxford Townhouse Serviced Apartment, Ashbrook Serviced Apartments, and The Garden Quarter.
where to shop at oxford

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.

what to do in oxford

Here are some things that are a must-do when in Oxford:

  • Take a tour of the University of Oxford.
  • Visit the Oxford Botanic Gardens & Arboretum.
  • Harry Potter fans can indulge in a tour of all film shooting locations.
  • Explore the Oxford Covered Market.
  • Visit the Bridge of Sighs.
  • Go punting.
  • Discover our origins at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
  • Take a trip back in time at Oxford Castle & Prison.
  • Visit the world’s oldest public museum: Ashmolean Museum, and eat at the Rooftop Restaurant.
  • Discover the city’s waterways, starting with Thames (which is called River Isis in Oxford).

Visitor Tips for London to Oxford Day Trip

  • Oxford consists of 38 colleges that make up the university. While some of them charge tourists to enter and visit, others are free. Lincoln College, Lady Margeret Hall, Worcester College, All Souls College, and St. Peter's College are some that are free to visit.
  • Ensure you carry your own mask and hand sanitizer. Keep the mask on at all times on the tour and sanitize your hands frequently.
  • Oxford hop on hop off is currently operational. It is a great way to cover the attractions of the city at your own pace.
  • To avoid the crowds, visit the city mid-week, as most visitors tend to come down during the weekend.
  • Oxford is home to some wonderful free museums, such as the Ashmolean Museum, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and the Pitt Rivers Museum.
  • When in Oxford, do try to go punting, where you can go boating in a small flat-bottomed boat (a punt).

All Your London to Oxford Day Trip Questions Answered

Is there a direct London to Oxford train?

Yes, there are frequent direct trains from London to Oxford, where you do not need to change trains.

Can I take a guided London to Oxford day trip?

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.

What can I do in Oxford?

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.

Is Oxford Museum of Natural History open?

The museum will be open September 22, 2020 onwards. Guests must carry their free timed entry tickets, as walk-ins are not allowed.

Where can I eat in Oxford?

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.

What's a cheap way to get around the city?

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.

Is Oxford wheelchair-accessible?

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. 

What are the best Oxford tour tickets?

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.

What sights are covered on Oxford sightseeing tours?

While this depends solely on the tour, some popular attractions covered include Bridge of Sighs, Trinity College, Ashmolean Museum, and The Sheldonian Theatre.

Can I visit Oxford University for free?

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.

Can I avail discounts on Oxford attractions?

This depends on the attraction. However, most attractions offer discounts to children, seniors, and disabled individuals.

Can I purchase same day tickets to Oxford attractions?

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.

What is the duration of a London to Oxford day tour?

Day trips from Oxford to London usually take ten hours, including transfers.

Should I purchase my Oxford tickets in advance?

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.

What is the best time to visit Oxford?

The best time to visit Oxford is between May and September, when the weather is mild and pleasant.