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Things to do in Oxford

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Restaurant
“Tourist favourite for reasonable price / quality food. Beautiful location positioned by the river”
  • 23 locals recommend
University
“Magdalen welcomes visitors throughout the year. As a busy and lively working academic community we like to ensure you will enjoy your visit whether it is as a potential student here, an alumnus, an academic visitor, or as a tourist. We do this by making the College accessible at regular times of the day and with particular facilities open for you to see. The principal areas of the College that are normally open are the Hall, Chapel and Old Kitchen Bar. In addition the gardens, grounds and parkland, including the water walks beside the River Cherwell are open. The Deer Park can be viewed from the path.”
  • 15 locals recommend
Restaurant
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“Gee’s Restaurant offers locals and visitors a uniquely rustic, Mediterranean dining experience set in an iconic Victorian Glasshouse…Enjoy a house cocktail at the marble topped bar, dine in the light-filled conservatory amidst olive trees and plants, choose from a daily evolving seasonal menu inspired by the regional dishes of Spain and Italy, cooked on the wood fire oven and charcoal grill…”
  • 20 locals recommend
Castle
“Oxford Castle is a large, partly ruined Norman medieval castle on the western side of central Oxford in Oxfordshire, England. Most of the original moated, wooden motte and bailey castle was replaced in stone in the late 12th or early 13th century and the castle played an important role in the conflict of the Anarchy. In the 14th century the military value of the castle diminished and the site became used primarily for county administration and as a prison. The surviving rectangular St George's Tower is now believed to pre-date the remainder of the castle and be a watch tower associated with the original Saxon west gate of the city. Most of the castle was destroyed in the English Civil War and by the 18th century the remaining buildings had become Oxford's local prison. A new prison complex was built on the site from 1785 onwards and expanded in 1876; this became HM Prison Oxford. The prison closed in 1996 and was redeveloped as a hotel and visitor attraction. The medieval remains of the castle, including the motte and St George's Tower and crypt, are Grade I listed buildings and a Scheduled Monument.”
  • 14 locals recommend
Trail
“This is a lovely and often overlooked part of Oxford. The country park has lots of different routes and is, just about walkable and certainly runnable from the property. You can also drive up to the top of Shotover Hill and walk from there. ”
  • 15 locals recommend
Theater
“Oxford Playhouse and New Theatre Oxford (19 miles from Greyhounds) www.oxfordplayhouse.com www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-theatre-oxford/ Spoilt for choice, there are theatres in Oxford (Playhouse and New Theatre), Cheltenham (Everyman) and Chipping Norton with entertainment for all tastes and age groups all year round.”
  • 15 locals recommend
Park
“Open green space over 50 acres with paths and children's playground, plus views over the city”
  • 14 locals recommend
Entertainment
“The Sheldonian Theatre, an exquisite Grade I listed building situated in Oxford's city centre, is the official ceremonial hall of Oxford University. The Theatre is a popular tourist attraction particular because it offers one of the best indoor panoramic views of Oxford's famous skyline from its Cupola. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1664 and 1669. The Theatre offers self-guided tours or guided tours. On a one hour guided tour, learn about how the University was formed, how long it's been in existence and the secrets of its past. For availability, booking and opening hours information, please visit our website. Opening hours vary depending on University events and concerts, so please do check our website before your visit to avoid disappointment.”
  • 16 locals recommend
Store
“This is a drive away but on route to the M40 London bound. Located in headington, this serves an excellent brunch with locally sourced ingredients. its sister pub (also serving brunch) is located in Wolvercote - a 15/20 min drive in the other direction.”
  • 15 locals recommend
Pub
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“This is a lovely little chilled out pub with the best steak platter in the world. It is a sharing plate but boy is it delicious, I'm salivating just thinking about it. They don't do them every day so call to check before going there. ”
  • 19 locals recommend
Steakhouse
$$$
“Nestled on the High Street in Oxford, this is one of my favourite places to eat. Formerly was the ‘Old Bank’. Either serving breakfast, lunch and dinner . Ideal if you are sightseeing in Oxford and want to have a nice lunch or whatever you fancy.”
  • 15 locals recommend
Restaurant
“We like to do things a bit differently here, so let's get the boring bit out of the way first Mmmm Burger Do we source the highest quality meat for our burgers? Yes Do we make our burgers by hand every day? Yes Do we cook food to order? Yes Do we have a secret recipe? Yes Do we use local suppliers? Yes BUT SO WHAT? Because, to be honest, any burger joint worth their pickle should be doing that anyway. Great Burgers ain't rocket science! Of we don't bring you a juicy, lip-smacking, belly filling burger than satisfies your soul we aren't doing our job properly. But Atomic Burger is about more than great foot We want to make you smile. We want to take you back to that time as a child when burgers could be as big as your head, summers lasted forever and simple things made you smile. So sit back and enjoy the music, look at the toys you always wante, argue about who the best superhero is and slurp milkshakes until you get a brain freeze. Enjoy life the Atomic Way and HAVE FUN!”
  • 20 locals recommend
Pub
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“The Bear Inn (or just "The Bear") is one of the oldest pubs in Oxford, England, dating back to 1242. Its circa-17th century incarnation stands on the corner of Alfred Street and Blue Boar Street, opposite Bear Lane in the centre of Oxford, just north of Christ Church. The earliest mention of the lands and buildings subsequently occupied by The Bear Inn are found in the Cartularies of St Frideswide. Christina Pady, who was part of the ruling group of burgess families in Oxford at this time, is recorded as having inherited these properties from her late husband, Laurence Kepeharme, the first Mayor of Oxford (died circa 1209) and from her uncle, John Pady. She bequeathed in frankalmoin the land comprising two properties Parn Hall (Pirnehalle) at the western corner of High Street and Alfred Street and another to the south, on the corner of Alfred Street and Blue Boar Street, to the Priory of St Frideswide, which stood on the current site of Christ Church Cathedral. This bequest was made around 1220 to 1230, and was completed on 28 April 1241. A lease dating from 1523 states that the Bear was bounded on the south by the cemetery of St Edward's Church, which lay beyond St Edward's Street (now Blue Boar Lane). It is thought that the two properties bequeathed by Christina Pady were joined and formed the yard of what became the Inn. The next mention is in the tenancy agreement of Thomas Pope in 1277, who with his wife and son were assured tenancy for the rest of their lives for a sum of two marks per year, with a deposit of 30 marks. The original building burnt down in 1421. In 1432, the inn was leased to John and Joan Berford, at which time it was known as Le Tabard. It was known as The Bear Inn by 1457, and a transfer of tenancy from Robert Mychegood to Henry Stanley took place in 1522. It was temporarily known as Furres Inn at some point. A margin note in Anthony Wood's Survey of the Antiquities of the City of Oxford (1661-66) states that the Furreses lived at the Bear in the time of Henry VIII (i.e in the first half of the 16th Century). The main text states that the inn came, under the name of The Bear Inne into the possession of brothers Richard and Roger Taverner following the dissolution of St Frideswide's Priory. Richard Edes, later Dean of Worcester, records the proprietor of The Bear in 1583 as a Matthew Harrison, who had a pet bear named Furze. An alternative explanation is that it adopted the emblem of the bear and ragged staff on the crest of Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick. It was especially fashionable in the 17th century, when judges and royal commissioners were among the patrons. The heir to the throne in Denmark visited in 1652. When it closed in 1801, there were over thirty bedrooms, with stabling for a similar number of horses. In the 18th century, the Bear served as the depot for the Oxford Machine coach, which carried passengers to London for a fare of 10 shillings. The present building was built in the early 17th century as the residence of the coaching inn's ostler. It was converted into a separate tavern, The Jolly Trooper, in 1774. The Bear Inn's premises at the High Street was rebuilt and converted into private housing in 1801 and its business name transferred to the former Jolly Trooper.”
  • 22 locals recommend
Italian Restaurant
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“Lively dining room and open kitchen serving classic Med dishes including pizza, plus takeaway. ”
  • 9 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Busy, buzzy place - small bar for cocktails. Always popular, good for families and groups. ”
  • 16 locals recommend
Bar
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“Restaurant, bar and gallery, the Jam Factory has become a safe haven for the food lovers and art enthusiasts of Oxford. Located just a stone's throw from Oxford train station, bus station, city centre shops, The Saïd Business School and Oxford's dreaming spires, the Jam Factory champions an unrivalled commitment to freshness and quality, served with a laid-back and welcoming ethos.”
  • 14 locals recommend