What’s the first word that pops into your head when you hear Oxford? The answer is ‘university,’ right? Well, Oxford is more than just a magnet for today’s best and brightest.
It’s true that many of this city’s most iconic attractions have some link to the University. However, Oxford is a picturesque tourist destination that attracts intellectuals, history buffs and nature lovers alike.
Gourmet thrills, world-class museums and upmarket shopping all make Oxford a must-visit city. While you’re here, make time to visit these five top attractions.
Let’s kick off our list with a magnificent palace that isn’t really a palace – even if it deserves to be. Blenheim Palace is famous for being the birthplace of Winston Churchill, one of the most celebrated leaders of the UK. This country house, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, is now open to the public for tours.
If the Baroque architecture of historical significance of this palace doesn’t blow you away, we’re confident the 2,000 acres of landscaped parklands will seal the deal.
The University of Oxford
The University of Oxford has long been a world-leading research institute. Almost every bookworm in the world dreams of earning their degree here. Students aside, the University attracts tourists thanks to its splendid architecture and rich history. Many of the buildings here look so otherworldly that they were used to film scenes in the Harry Potter films (and yes, there are Harry Potter Locations Tours available).
Eagle and Child Pub
Looking for an excuse to drink a quick pint while you’re trekking around Oxford? Head to the Eagle and Child Pub, where the history is just as interesting as the drinks are delicious. This pub was the preferred boozer of world-renowned writers such as JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. To be a fly on the wall in this famous pub…
Oxford Botanic Gardens & Arboretum
The university may be the main draw in this fantastic city, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your fill of nature while you’re here. Established in the 17th-century, the Oxford Botanic Gardens are the oldest in the UK. Over 8,000 plant species scattered across around 130 acres of woodland make it a horticulturalist’s paradise.
The Arboretum is just ten minutes away from the Gardens. Here, free-roaming peacocks add even more colour to the already colourful nature-reserve. Japanese Maples, Bluebell beds and pink rhododendrons make the Arboretum feel truly enchanting.
Some people say that Oxford’s museums rival London’s. Ok, London has more, but there are plenty of weird, wonderful and fascinating things on display in Oxford. Get to grips with the history of the city by visiting the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Yearning for something a little freakier? Next door, you’ll find the Pitts River Museum.
You can peruse over 500,000 items at the Pitts River Museum. Leave your squeamish side at the door – there’s a collection of shrunken human heads complete with skin and hair inside.
The easiest way to discover Oxford is on one of our fantastic coach tours from the capital. See the very best of England’s cities and sites without the hassle of booking everything yourself.