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What is Oxford famous for?

“I envy you going to Oxford: it is the most flower-like time of one’s life.“ – Oscar Wilde

The city of Oxford is perhaps the most known in the UK after London. It has a world-wide presence, often associated with Oxford University, however, there is much more to discover!

From literary legends, stunning historical buildings and museums, to modern shopping centres, Oxford has it all.

Historical Pubs

Oxford is home to some of the oldest pubs in the UK. Some can be traced back to the 13th century, and have served refreshment and inspiration to great minds such as William Shakespeare and CS Lewis.

The oldest pub in Oxford is the Bear Inn, dating back to 1242. The pub is famous for its tie collection, a tradition that has resulted in more than 4,500 ties on the wall and ceiling, indicating university clubs, sports teams and college.

The Turf Tavern is a hidden treasure and notoriously hard to find! It was transformed into a pub in the 12th Century and was a regular to the Harry Potter film crew whilst they were filming the first movie. This pub is full of charm, with a very low ceiling, a beautiful garden and the slogan “an education in intoxication”.

Or check out the beautifully restored Plough at 38, one of the oldest buildings in Oxford dating back to 1195. After a brief period as a gentlemen’s outfitters, it is now back to its coaching house glory championing local artisan beers and spirits alongside its wider-ranging menu.

Oxford University

Oxford University is recognised world-wide, in fact you’ll find souveniers in most of the UKs tourist spots that feature the University name and logo.

More than 30 colleges make up Oxford University, spread across the city.

Each of these has a unique charm, with one of the largest colleges in Oxford being Keble College, most known for its unique brickwork, Gothic Dining Hall (think Harry Potter’s dining hall!) and grounds.

Marvellous Architecture

Nowhere can you find architecture like Oxford’s. Inside and out, and from up high, you’ll find beauty.

The Radcliffe Camera sits in the heart of Oxford, separate from other buildings that make it a focal point of the University of Oxford. From Radcliffe Street, you’ll also find the University Church of St Mary the Virgin and a stunning viewing platform that overlooks the city.

The Bodleian Library is one of the oldest working libraries in Europe and connected to the Radcliffe Camera by the underground Gladstone Link. It is the main research library of the University of Oxford and houses over 13 million printed items, including rare books, manuscripts and maps.

Its reading rooms have been home to famous scholars through the ages, including monarchs, Prime Ministers and writers (including J R R Tolkien and C S Lewis).


Oxford is home to 12 museums, fulfilling a selection of interests and curiosities. Visit the world famous Ashmolean Museum’s big-name art exhibitions or cultural showcases. Or the popular Pitt Rivers Museum, the archaeology and ethnography museum that contains more than half a million objects! The Oxford University of Natural History is a nature based museum housed in a neo-Gothic building that is very Oxford!

Most museums are free of charge, with some charges for events and exhibitions.


From shopping on the High Street through to the new Westgate Oxford centre – and no trip would be complete without visiting the Covered Market, a bustling market full of independent traders, trading since 1774.

Food and Drink

Oxford is not all tradition, you can find a choice of independent restaurants and cafes hidden around the city, most offering sustainable, local and ethically sourced food and drink.

Or navigate to Westgate Oxford, where you can choose from over 20 restaurants, bars and cafes spread over 3 floors, with rooftop bars and restaurants, mixed with some of Oxfords finest shops.

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!