Tours of Oxford
Explore the city and colleges in the company of an official and highly qualified guide, either by open topped bus or on foot.
Official Guided Walking Tours of Oxford
Walking tours of the city centre depart from the Oxford Visitor Information Centre (unless otherwise stated) and last between 1.5 and 2 hours. As well as introductory guided walking tours, specially themed tours are also available.
Tickets, prices and more details are available from the Oxford Visitor Information Centre, 15-16 Broad Street, Oxford. Telephone 01865 252200.
Types of public tours available
Current walking tours of Oxford include:
The University and City Tour (& The University and City Tour with the Divinity School)
The most popular introductory tour, taken by the majority of visitors. the guide will lead you through the heart of the historic city centre illustrating the history of Oxford and its University and describing the architecture and traditions of its most famous buildings and institutions.
These tours depart daily except on Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year's Day.
This tour is also available in French, German or Spanish on selected dates during the year.
The first tour of the day may include a visit to the Divinity School (except on a Saturday). The University and City Tour with Divinity School is confirmed on a Friday for the week ahead.
Inspector Morse Tour
Follow in the footsteps of the city's celebrated TV detective and his successor, Lewis, created by oxford author Colin Dexter. Visit the scenes of their best-known cases with lots of lively anecdotes along the way.
This tour departs at 13:30 every Saturday, with additional tours every Mondays and Friday between March and September.
Fun in Oxford for all the family! Take part in this informal tour and share in a light-hearted look at the surprises and delights Oxford has to offer children and adults alike. Have even more fun with our free activity sheet!
This tour departs at 13:30 during the english school holidays.
C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien Tour
Two university lecturers and friends, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, wrote some of the most popular books of the 20th century. Share the environment in which they studied, lived and spent their leisure time in their beloved Oxford.
First and last dates in 2012 for this tour 4th Feb & 18th Nov 2012
Civil War Tour
Oxford in the Civil War was at the centre of the national stage, with King Charles making his Headquarters at Christ Church. Ramparts enclosed the city, college silver was melted down to make coins and Oxford became a garrison rather than a university town. Join this tour to hear more about life in Oxford during the Civil War.
Only date in 2012 for this tour 22nd June 2012.
Oxford is full of gardens and parks such as the vast expanse of Christ Church Meadow, the delightful University Parks and the unique Botanic Garden, as well as many hidden college gardens. Enjoy their varied beauty in all seasons from stunning carpets of spring bulbs, through magnificent summer herbaceous borders to glorious autumn leaves.
Only date in 2012 for this tour 30th June 2012.
Gargoyles & Grotesques Tour
Symbols, emblems, motifs, animals and demons cling to the roofs and walls of buildings in Oxford. Medieval and modern stonemasons used imagination and humour in creating a wealth of amazing stone carvings. Let the guide highlight the inventiveness and delights to be seen. Bring your binoculars!
First and last dates in 2012 for this tour 6th May & 14th Oct 2012.
Jewish Heritage Tour
Walk around what was once the medieval Jewish Quarter and learn about Jewish life in the city and significant events before the expulsion of 1290. Come up to date with the story of the Jewish population since the 17th century re-admission and remarkable facts about the Jewish contribution to Oxford University in the 20th century.
Only date in 2012 for this tour 28th Sept 2012.
Over the centuries many famous writers: poets, novelists, critics and children's authors have studied or lived in Oxford. Explore this rich heritage with one of our knowledgeable guides.
First and last dates in 2012 for this tour 25th March & 21st Sept 2012.
Magic, Murder & Mayhem Tour
An alternative tour of Oxford to find out about secret societies, alchemists, martyrs, traitors, rogues and criminals. Discover too, one of the world's largest collections of amulets, talismans and magical items.
First and last dates in 2012 for this tour 23rd June & 28th Oct 2012.
Oxford's Olympic History Tour
Both Oxford Town and Gown have long sporting traditions. The city has produced many eminent rowers, athletes and household sporting names. Join a walking tour of the city and learn about Oxonian Olympic gold medallists such as Stephanie Cook, David Hemmings, Jack Lovelock and Metthew Pinsent.
First and last dates in 2012 for this tour 8th April & 20th Aug 2012.
Oxford Children's Stories Tour
Explore the Oxford of Alice and the Dodo, Lyra & Will, Prince Caspian & Aslan, characters created by well-known Oxford authors in "Alice in Wonderland", "His Dark Materials" trilogy (filmed as "The Golden Compass") and "The Chronicles of Narnia". Delight in the make-believe, as you discover places which inspired Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman amongst others.
First and last dates in 2012 for this tour 25th Feb & 19th Oct 2012.
Oxford Film Sites Tour
Oxford is one of Britain's busiest and most instantly recognisable film and TV drama locations. See the backdrop for historical re-creations and literary adaptations from fantasies to thrillers. Hear of the links with some of the biggest names in cinematic history.
First and last dates in 2012 for this tour 21st April & 27th Oct 2012.
Plaques of Oxford Tour
The many and varied plaques adorning the buildings and monuments of Oxford are a delightful and beguiling feature of the city. Each brief inscription hides a fascinating story. Join this walk to find out more about the amazing men and women commemorated in the plaques and the events which shaped Oxford's history.
First and last dates in 2012 24th Mar & 1st Sept 2012.
Oxford West End Tour
The Western Quarter of Oxford is one of the city's little known secrets containing a late 18th century prison, now a hotel, and the remains of a Norman Castle. There is evidence of occupation from the Bronze Age and the Roman period and of early Anglo Saxon settlements. The tour offers riveting stories of the area's long history and its ancient buildings where friars lived and beer was brewed.
Two dates in 2012 for this tour 7th July & 11th Aug 2012.
Pottering in Harry's Footsteps Tour
Tour the locations where memorable Harry Potter scenes were inspired and shot and enter the magical wizarding world yourself.
First and last dates in 2012 for this tour 10th Feb & 9th Nov 2012.
Religion at Oxford Tour
Join this tour to learn how religion and faith shaped the early university. Follow in the footsteps of the martyrs, the founders of Methodism, the Oxford Movement, and Oxford's recent saints.
Two dates in 2012 for this tour 31st Mar & 21st July 2012.
Science at Oxford Tour
Take a fascinating tour about the study of science at Oxford. By the 14th century Oxford was famous for the work of Bacon and Grosseteste and for developments in mathematics and astronomy. The 17th century saw Harvey, Boyle, Hooke and Halley make their ground-breaking discoveries. In the 20th century, it was the penicillin scientists under Professor Florey who made the greatest impact. Find out about Oxford's role at the leading edge of science right up to the 21st century.
Two dates in 2012 for this tour 9th July & 25th Aug 2012.
Stained Glass Tour
The city of Oxford has some of the finest stained glass in the UK. Almost every style and period of English glass-painting is represented, from medieval to modern including particularly beautiful 17th century windows and a wealth of 19th century glass by William Morris and Co. Enjoy the opportunity of seeing some fascinating craftsmanship. Bring your binoculars!
First and last dates in 2012 for this tour 28th April & 10th Nov 2012.
The Jericho Tour
Jericho, Oxford's first suburb to the north-west of the city, is less known than other parts of Oxford but not lacking in history and stories. Home of Oxford University Press and the remarkable church of St Barnabas, it also encompasses the Oxford Canal, St Sepulchre's Cemetery, and was been used as a setting for the Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure", the Inspector Morse murders and Philip Pullman's Lyra stories.
Two dates in 2012 for this tour 15th July & 25th Aug 2012.
Tudor Oxford Tour
The Tudor period roughly coincided with the great change in church life known as the Reformation. Walk and hear history in the making in Oxford, from Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, Queen Mary's persecution of Protestants for their faith, to Queen Elizabeth I's encouragement of University revival.
First and last dates in 2012 for this tour 26th May & 24th Aug 2012.
When Alice met Harry Tour
"Alice in Wonderland" was inspired by Alice Liddell. She spent her early years in Oxford, and her friendship with Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, led to the writing of the two "Alice" books. Another favourite, Harry Potter, appeared here when some of his film scenes were shot in Oxford locations. Join this tour to explore their worlds of wonder and wizardry.
First and last dates in 2012 for this tour 18th Feb & 17th Nov 2012.
William Morris & Victorian Oxford Tour
The Pre-Raphaelites were closely connected with Oxford. Edward Burne-Jones and Morris studied here, and together with Holman Hunt they left the city with some outstanding artistic works. Join a tour with emphasis on this delightful period of Victorian art.
First and last dates in 2012 for this tour 5th April & 10th Aug 2012.
Women in Oxford Tour
Learn about the many women connected with Oxford and how women fought to become accepted as full members of the University. From St Frideswide, Patron Saint of Oxford to Empress Matilda; from Dorothy Wadham, college founder; to future Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto; from authors Dorothy L. Sayers and Iris Murdoch to Barbara Pym, Oxford owes much to its women and their story is a fascinating one.
The only date in 2012 for this tour 30th July 2012.
Open top bus tours operate regularly through the city.
For a guided tour of Oxford and the colleges try the City Sightseeing Oxford Tour, with daily departures of every 15 minutes in the summer, every 30 minutes in the Winter.
Please also visit our special tours directory pages for links to individual tour company websites.