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What are the Top Historic Sites to Visit in Oxford?

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What are the Top Historic Sites to Visit in Oxford?

Oxford has many amazing historical sites that draw tourists from all over the world. A walk or a tour through this city of culture and learning is a must-do if you’re visiting England. Oxford offers so much to see, whether you’re looking to marvel at magnificent architecture, stroll through stunning botanical gardens, or explore some of the oldest places in the world.

From grand university colleges with hidden alleyways to atmospheric ponds and one of Britain’s most photographed buildings, here are some of the top historic sites to visit when you’re in Oxford.

The Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library is one of the oldest and most iconic academic libraries in the world. Founded in the early 16th century by Sir Thomas Bodley, its collections contain more than 11 million printed items from the first printed book to modern works. The oldest part of the library, the Divinity School, was designed by William Orchard in 1320 and gets a lot of recognition for its beautiful architecture. Make sure to book in advance as visitors are only admitted when led by an official guide.

Christ Church

Christ Church College is one of the most spectacular buildings in Oxford. Established in 1524, Christ Church was one of the earliest and largest colleges in Oxford. Its buildings are beautifully preserved and contain many historic artifacts and works of art. The site also includes a priory and parts of a 12th-century tower and cloisters, as well as Trinity College Chapel, which has been seating students since 1167 and is renowned for its stained glass windows.

The Oxford Covered Market

The Oxford Covered Market is one of Oxford’s oldest and most enduring attractions. Home to more than 80 independent shops, it’s been a major attraction in the city centre since 1774. Many visitors come to take in its buzzing atmosphere, sample delicious local food and browse quaint stalls selling artisanal homeware and souvenirs.

The Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean Museum is Oxford’s oldest purpose-built gallery, established in 1683. You can get lost for hours here, exploring its world-renowned collections, which range from ancient archaeological artefacts to timeless paintings. The museum also houses a fascinating library with thousands of books, manuscripts and archives for art researchers to explore.

St John’s College

One of the city’s largest colleges, St John’s was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas White. Its buildings are renowned for their historic grandeur, with impressive cloisters, a chapel and a splendid Georgian dining hall. The college grounds are also popular with visitors who enjoy their tranquil gardens and sprawling lawns.

University Parks

University Parks is a Picturesque 54-acre botanical garden which has been open to the public since 1864. It includes a range of gardens with different themes such as Japanese styles, cultivated flower beds as well as wilder areas with ponds and meadows. University Parks also contains several historic monuments, including an old stone bridge across one of its picturesque streams.

The Radcliffe Camera

The Radcliffe Camera is one of Oxford’s most recognisable landmarks located on Radcliffe Square in the centre of the city. The beautiful neoclassical building was designed by James Gibbs in 1737 and holds part of the Bodleian Library’s collections as well as two scientific research institutes. One can also catch a glimpse of Radcliffe Camera from the gardens at University Parks.

Nuclear Bunker (Oxford Castle)

The Oxford Castle (now an entertainment centre) was once an imposing fortress used by Henry I as one of his chief residences. The fascinating history of this 800-year-old castle has been preserved so visitors can experience this unique landmark with guided tours and audio-visual presentations that bring its past to life. This includes exploring the former nuclear bunker situated underneath the castle grounds during the Cold War era.

Oxford Castle Unlocked Guided Tour

The Oxford Castle Unlocked guided tour is an entertaining way to learn about 800 years of Oxford’s history. Guide Yvonne will introduce you to the secret past of this incredible landmark as you explore its many fascinating features, including the former prison cells and Norman chapel. The tour culminates in a stirring show on the castle’s open-air rooftop terrace which will leave you feeling inspired by its unique heritage.

Exploring with a Student Guide

Exploring Oxford with a student guide might be the best way to discover this ancient city’s hidden gems. Traditional guided tours take you through the narrow alleyways, college cloisters, university libraries, theatres and galleries that make Oxford one of Europe’s most cultured destinations.

For something different why not go on a walking tour that introduces you to some of Oxford’s best pubs? Oxford: Historic Pub Tour with Student Guide, offered through GetYourGuide, is an excellent way to discover local life while enjoying stories about the city’s landmarks and heritage through the eyes of Oxford’s friendly student guides.

These are just some of Oxford’s most remarkable historic sites and attractions that offer up a unique blend of culture and history. Spending time exploring these architectural masterpieces under summer skies will leave you feeling both inspired and enriched.

Whether you’re looking for a day trip away from London or planning an extended stay in Oxford, be sure to visit the incredible assortment of historical treasures that make this city so special. From grand libraries and picturesque grounds to former prisons, castle walls and pubs inhabited by students hundreds of years ago – they’re all there, ready to be seen and discovered!

For more information about visiting Oxford, please visit You can also find other useful resources including a list of top ten attractions for your trip at VisitBritain.

If you’re planning a visit to Oxford don’t forget that Oxford: Historic Pub Tour with Student Guide is also available through GetYourGuide and provides visitors with an unique insight into local history while enjoying some fascinating stories about Oxford’s famous landmarks told by its friendly student guides!

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What are the Top Historic Sites to Visit in Oxford?

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!