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Best Self-Guided Walking Tour of Oxford

Hi - I'm going to be in Oxford next Friday, leaving Saturday morning, and would like to do easy sight-seeing in Oxford as I get over jet lag. I have looked a little online for a good self-guided walking tour of Oxford - does anyone have a suggestion? Or is it better to do the Hop-on Hop-off bus tour and just go back to the places I'm interested in. The two places I don't want to miss are the Bodleian Library and Christ Church (most because of the Harry Potter sites, to be honest), though I would like to go to Evenson at Christ Church.

Posted by
78 posts

We went last Summer and you have to make reservations for tours. I don't think you can wander around on your own inside the colleges. We just walked around on our own in Oxford after our Christ Church College tour (that we had prebooked) and went punting with a guide at Magdalene Boathouse.

Posted by
1168 posts

IMO, Oxford is too small for the HOHO bus - and in such a small city, the bus exhaust fumes can become overwhelming. You can easily walk and use a guide book to see the outside of colleges. It looks to me as if Christ Church tours are not available for the 23rd - I could be wrong. You may be able to go to Evensong at 6. Also, I would most likely check nowish for the Oxford University Walking Tours (Google it). They have a few times each day, it seems, though I can't tell the open availability of any particular time.

Also, look at the top of this screen for the Search section and type in Oxford U walking tours to see this question asked and answered in the past. Of course, post-covid, some things will have changed, but you may get names of tours to investigate.

If you search Tours of Bodleian Libraries in Google, you may see this: Select tours go on sale one month in advance, with additional tours made available on the day.

I hope you have an enjoyable visit.

Edit: I completely overlooked the self-guided aspect of your request - sorry. When I search for that, I end on an site called Oxford Visit . com. Looks informative and may help you make a decision.

Posted by
8 posts

Debbie - no problem - I overlook things all the time, even in my own writings! Thanks for all the information. My reason for going to Oxford was really to give me a couple of days to recover from jet lag before meeting a tour. That's why I just want to take it easy. I am excited to see Oxford, though. It looks beautiful from the pictures I've seen.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks, Jeannie - that sounds like a relaxing schedule. I may follow it!

Posted by
1168 posts

Carolyn, I did a few summer "study" sessions in Oxford back in the day and have come to appreciate the mosey-around approach. Find the Turf Tavern. Visit the Covered Market. Get off the main drag and walk on small streets. Visit Blackwell's Bookshop. Myself, I would be visiting the Toast store and White Company. Visit the Castle. It looks like some Shakespeare is being presented in June. Take a local bus to Blenheim. Walk to Port Meadow. Ask your hotel for recommendations. Have a great time. Wish I were going!

Posted by
31548 posts

I am excited to see Oxford, though. It looks beautiful from the pictures I've seen.

the pictures don't lie. It is.

Colleges that are normally open in the afternoons are probably closed all day at the moment - it is exam time.

As you walk around you can get a tiny peek into the quads nearest the Porters Lodges by looking through. Not much but better than nothing.

If you go into the Covered Market - as suggested just above - be sure to make time for a stop at Moo Moos. More different kinds of milkshakes than you can imagine. They will chop up pretty much any candy bar and any syrup and they are GOOD!!. https://www.moo-moos.co.uk/ If you can't tell they are deeply into pink. Can't miss the place, just off the High on the town side.., They have been going for years. They used to have a couple of my redeemed points cards stapled to the wall - probably long replaced by younger customers' ones. Oh, did I forget to mention they are GOOD? Cause they are. Closed Sundays.

https://www.ashmolean.org/ The Ashmolean is a good place for a pit stop...

If you take a bus out to Blenheim Palace check their website for the best choices and hold onto your ticket for a big discount for arriving by bus.

Maybe the colleges may be open by now - my brain was saying this is still May, but it is June now isn't it?

Posted by
11070 posts

We just spent 3 nights in Oxford in early May and enjoyed it very much. We devoted a day and a half to Oxford and the better part of another day to Blenheim Palace.

In Oxford, we very much enjoyed a walking tour with an Oxford grad student, booked through Get Your Guide. Not only did we see much of the beautiful architecture and learn some history, he provided interesting insight on the student experience in this system so different from our US universities.

We also enjoyed walking the Christchurch Meadow on a sunny afternoon and the Bodleian tour is well worth scheduling. Blenheim Palace has amazing grounds and the bus trip was easy. As Nigel mentioned, the Covered Market is worth a look.

Enjoy your time there!