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Culture Vulture Recommendations

Whether you’re here for a city break or returning for a nostalgic trip, take a look at our top recommendations for your Culture Vulture visit.

Walking Tours

Oxford is best explored on foot and the many walking tours available make an excellent way to discover the city’s highlights with the specialist knowledge of a tour guide.

Join one of the tours from Experience Oxfordshire and see the very best of Oxford’s main attractions. You can choose from a wide range of themed tours that include: University sights, Inspector Morse, Lewis and Endeavour TV series locations, Harry Potter Highlights, C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien haunts and the official Philip Pullman tour where you can discover the Oxford of His Dark Materials. If none of that appeals you can even create your own private tour.

Which will you choose?

Museums

Oxford has numerous museums, including the oldest museum in the UK, the world-famous Ashmolean Museum. Book your tickets in advance to access the museum and the current Tokyo: Art & Photography exhibition which explores Japan’s capital city through the art it has generated over 400 years.

Just across the road from our very own Keble College are the Natural History Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum, which holds a unique collection of artefacts equalled only by its unique layout and display philosophy.

Book at least two days in advance to access your free ticket entry.

Oxford University

You simply can’t escape the University in Oxford – it’s integral to the city, and is arguably the most famous university in the world (our light blue colleagues in Cambridge may disagree!).

Victorian poet Matthew Arnold described Oxford as ‘The City of Dreaming Spires’ after the stunning architecture of the university buildings. Oxford University has a collegiate structure and is made up of 39 Colleges, each unique with its own stunning architecture, grounds and history. There are also six permanent private halls which are similar to colleges except they tend to be slightly smaller and were founded by particular Christian denominations. Together they form a close academic community which brings together students and researchers from different disciplines, cultures and countries. This helps to foster the outstanding research achievement that has made Oxford a leader in so many fields. During the summer, many of the colleges are open to visitors to tour and get a glimpse of what goes on in this amazing institution.

Book a #keblestaycation this summer and wake up to the distinctive red, white and blue brickwork of Keble College, one of the largest colleges in Oxford.

Book inspirations

Oxford has inspired many classic books (some were also later made into films).

Explore Magdalen College, where CS Lewis taught English and where he wrote The Chronicles of Narnia. JRR Tolkien also wrote the Lord of the Rings Trilogy whilst studying and teaching in Oxford.

Many of the colleges featured in the Harry Potter films. Keble College’s very own Gothic Dining Hall was inspiration for the Great Hall you see in the Harry Potter films. With a #keblestaycation we include a full English breakfast in Keble Hall – a sight to see in its own right! Find out more at www.keble.ox.ac.uk/conferences/accommodation.

You’ll find many shops in Oxford selling Harry Potter merchandise, including light up wands!

Oxford is also home to author Philip Pullman who based His Dark Materials trilogy in the city as well as his new ‘The Book of Dust’ series. A two hour Walking Tour with Experience Oxford is endorsed by the author himself and provides a fascinating insight into the stories and places that inspired his world-renowned books.

Gigs and music

Oxford is also home to a vibrant music scene. From a concert by the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra at the architecturally stunning Sheldonian Theatre to a live music gig at The Bullingdon, a pub with 135 year history of bringing up-and-coming bands, such as Radiohead and Supergrass, to the Oxford scene.  Have a look at Daily Info to find out what’s on during your visit.

An offer not to miss

This summer we’re launching #keblestaycations where you can create your own unique, authentically Oxford experience. Keble College is opening its historic doors this summer to offer you the chance to stay in the college, with a choice of single, double or twin room, deep cleaned and ready for the UK Staycation of 2021 AND including a delicious breakfast in the Gothic Dining Hall (said to be an inspiration for the great hall in the Harry Potter series).

Bookings are now open for August and September 2021!