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Oxford Open Doors

Has anyone been in Oxford during the Oxford Open Doors weekend? We're using Oxford as base for seeing both Oxford and some surrounding sites and just learned that we will be there during this annual event. If I understand it, Oxford Open Doors is primarily aimed at local residents to encourage them to view local sites without charge. I think as tourists we are also allowed to take advantage of this opportunity but I'm wondering how crowded it becomes. I also wonder if sites I planned to visit will be partially closed because of large numbers of visitors. Has anyone experienced this event?

Posted by
6603 posts

We were there for this event several years ago, by chance. It was a great opportunity to get into places that aren't normally open to the public, like the Examinations Schools and All Souls College. Tourists from all over were as welcome as local residents. Here's a list of what's open in Oxford itself. I don't remember any of the places we visited being crowded.

Posted by
33107 posts

The Open Days programme, this year run for the first time in the UK by the National Trust, is throughout Europe. The weekends chosen vary by country - this year in England it will be for two weeks in September, with different places participating on all, some, a few or one day through the period.

I was excited when I was in Esslingen yesterday to be told at the TI that there will be one day this year during this period that the walkway between the two towers of the St Dionisus Church will be open for visitors to walk across.

Oxford often does another, city-wide, opening on the same weekend as the Open Days has traditionally been held, called Oxford Open Doors. I've visited all sorts of things over the years, courtesy of both programmes.

There is zero chance that you will run out of things to visit and see. And they are all over the city.

Most places have little to no queues, but some, particularly Harry Potter related, have massive queues and several attractions are often only by prior reservation.

Best plan is to get on to both websites and try to sketch out a plan and also a plan B. Use a streetmap and map of the colleges to see how things are physically bunched together and how they are bunched by open time.

There are often classic buses (one of the open places in the programme) running between several of the places.

This is a great way to see Colleges normally closed or their gardens or special rooms, such as the museum of musical instruments.


Posted by
545 posts

Thank you for the information. It sounds like a great opportunity.