Things to do in Oxford- enjoyable family weekend

Things to do in Oxford – City of Dreaming Spires

If you want inspiration for things to do over a weekend, why not consider a trip to Oxford? Oxford is believed to be one of the most recognised cities in the UK after London. The charming medieval city is a firm favourite with many families. The ability to just meander along the cobbled paths and take in the atmosphere is a relaxing thing to do. This is an article on all the things to do in Oxford if you are heading there with family.

The city of Oxford houses the prestigious University of Oxford. The city has been the seat of education for nearly a thousand years and the iconic spires of the medieval colleges has created the nickname “City of Dreaming Spires” for Oxford.

So here is our pick of favourite things to do in Oxford

Things to do in Oxford for free

1. Pitt Rivers Museum

If you’ve got kids over the age of five, a museum can be the perfect way to stimulate their curiosity and become a great learning tool.

Art museums might bore young children quickly, but the Pitt Rivers Museum is well loved by families for its treasure hunt and their dinosaur skeletons and Dodo birds. Why not pick up a child friendly quiz at the reception and get the kids engaged right away. The shrunken heads are something that entertain all ages.

2. Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

The Ashmolean Museum is another firm favourite with families when visiting Oxford. The ancient Egyptian collection of artefacts entrances the imagination of kids as they try and think of what life was like all those thousands of years ago.

For the older kids, there’s plenty of artefacts that can help them with their homework. You’d be surprised that even fussy teenagers can enjoy this museum.

3. Walking tour of Oxford

The city centre of Oxford is perfect for a meander. If you choose to do this by yourself, then you can simply look and try and locate some of the iconic bits of Oxford including Radcliffe Square, Hertford Bridge or the Bridge of Sighs, the Bodleian Library and some of the beautiful colleges.

things to do in oxford

You can also join a walking tour and be guided into several of the colleges to inspect from up close. There are walking tours where you pay what you think it was worth.  

4. High Street & Covered Market

The covered market is a place to explore with its variety of quaint and wonderful shops. You can spend a reasonable amount of time simply window shopping. The High Street is also quite different to many other cities in the UK and well worth a stroll.

5. Headington Shark

Walk past and take a picture of the Headington Shark on 2 New High Street. This headless shark has become a famous resident of Headington and is just over thirty years old.

6. Bridge of Sighs

things to do in oxford

Photo credit:iStock

The Hertford Bridge is one of those much-photographed architectural landmarks of Oxford and its appeared in plenty of TV. Walk on pavements under the bridge soak in the atmosphere.

Things to Do in Oxford for a fee

Let’s start with places that have connections to Harry Potter films

7. The “Great Hall”, Christ Church College 

While producers of the Harry Potter recreated this location in a studio, the “Great Hall” located in Christ Church College is a pilgrimage destination for Harry Potter fans.

8. Bodleian Library

The iconic library has a nice short 30 minute tour that kids tend to love because of the Harry Potter connection.

9. Mob Quad

If you get to Oxford, then you must discover a “quad”. A quad is an enclosed courtyard that is usually surrounded by two or three-storey buildings all around. Usually, the dining room or chapel also overlooks the quad. Why not visit the iconic Mob quad at Merton college?

Mob Quad from Chapel Tower

10. Narnia Door

If you visit Brasenose college, you get to see a beautiful wood carving on a door that’s meant to have been the inspiration for C.S.Lewis’ Narnia chronicles. If you and your kids were fascinated by those stories, a visit to see this door will make their day. It certainly looks like the door to Narnia.

things to do in oxford - Narnia door

Photo credit :iStock

11. Glide on the river 

If you are fortunate enough to visit Oxford in good weather, one of the relaxing things to do is to glide on the river while students steer the punt for you. There’s plenty to see and you get a different view of the city from the river.

things to do in oxford - Magdalen bridge

Photo credit: iStock

12. Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is a beautiful ornate architectural landmark in Oxfordshire close to Oxford. Blenheim Palace was the birth place and home of Sir Winston Churchill. It’s also been featured in so many TV series and films that there is something about seeing it in the flesh. You can also take a walk around the park and gardens and allow the kids to run around and let off some steam.

Oxford is a great place to spend a weekend. Arrive on a Saturday and do some looking around, enjoy a meal at a pub or any number of the small interesting restaurants that dot the city. There are enough things to do in Oxford where you can fit a few into each day to not make it too tiring. Stay over either in a B&B or a luxury hotel and explore a bit more and then head back having had a splendid experience in this beautiful city.