City Guide

Things to Do in Oxford

Ben Maples  · Feb 3rd 2023
Oxford historical buildings and townhouses

Oxford is home to one of the best universities in the world and is also home to some of the best activities & culture you can find in the UK, it's no wonder that students are climbing over each other to study in this great city.

In this guide, we will show you the various things to do in Oxford.

Things to do in Oxford


Located fifty-seven miles from London, sixty-nine miles from Bristol and sixty-five miles from both Southampton and Birmingham is the city of Oxford. One of the most popular university cities in the UK, Oxford boasts a population of 159,994 according to the most recent figures.

Things to do in Oxford

Part of the attraction of university is being able to go out and experience the nightlife of the city and Oxford has certainly got you covered there! We’ve compiled a list of three places that we think will be perfect for you, no matter what you’re looking for we have the best places for you.

The first place that we have for you is The Bridge, which is the perfect nightclub for you and it recently celebrated its fifteenth anniversary. One of the best things about this nightclub is the DJ sets and the beautiful cocktails that they have to offer too!

Next up we have one of the coolest bars that you’re likely to find in Oxford, The Duke of Cambridge. A favourite night, full of cosmopolitan cocktails and the best that you can find in gin and various other drinks. Truly the coolest night out that you’ll find in Oxford and we cannot recommend it enough.

Finally, we have Raoul’s Bar, which has some of the best food and the widest variety of drinks that you’ll see in Oxford. An enticing atmosphere and a welcoming manner from everyone including the regulars will have you coming back again and again; we cannot recommend it highly enough.

Founded in the eighth century, the city has a rich and decadent history. The city immortalises its history and culture in the various museums such as the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Ashmolean Museum, Pitt Rivers Museum and the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments all of which are affordable and accessible to members of the public.

If you’re looking for some of the latest and greatest in cinema right now, then Oxford has got you covered. With a number of cinemas such as the two Odeons that offer some of the best that Hollywood has to offer and Vue Cinemas which also has some of the very best to offer too, although with the added benefit of tiered seating.

Oxford has a wide variety of different festivals and the like that are run all the time and have everything from live music through to general community events so that you can meet new people. One event that we recommend is the Wilderness Festival, which offers some of the very best in live music at the moment.


The transportation services in the city are wide ranging.

There are a number of bus services in the city with Oxford Bus Company, Stagecoach Oxfordshire, Arriva Shires & Essex and Thames Travel, all operating in the city. There are also five different Park and Ride systems in the city, which are: Pear Tree, Redbridge, Seacourt, Thornhill and Water Eaton and Oxford Parkway. The city also has Hybrid Buses which use battery power with a small diesel generator, Oxford Bus also introduced a fleet of 20 new buses with flywheel energy storage (FES) in 2014.

The main train station in Oxford is Oxford Railway Station, which has connecting trains to London, Reading, Didcot, Watford, Denham, Wycombe, Birmingham and Cambridge. There are three train stations in the city, Grandpont, Rewley Road and Oxford Parkway.

There is an airport in the city, Oxford Airport, which is a regional and commercial airport, though it does offer some short-haul international flights; for those looking to go further afield, there are other airports in the nearby cities to use as well.

Things to do with kids in Oxford

Universities in the City

There are two universities in the city.

The first is the city’s most well-known university, the University of Oxford.

The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and is the second oldest university in the world. It is also part of the prestigious Russell Group of Universities and is considered to be one of the best universities in the world and is often compared with the University of Cambridge with the two being known colloquially as “Oxbridge”.

The university student body is represented by the Oxford University Student Union (OUSU), now known as the Oxford SU. The union represents all students and represents many of the university’s clubs and societies. The union also oversees the printing of the two student newspapers Cherwell and The Oxford Student as well as the student magazine Isis, Oxymoron, a satirical magazine and the Oxonian Review. The union also handles the student media in other areas as well, such as Oxide Radio, the student radio station.

The university’s press is the second oldest university press in the world, with the Oxford University Press publishing 6,000 new books annually.

The university has a proud sporting tradition and is usually found to be competing against the aforementioned University of Cambridge in annual regattas (including the annual Boat Race, which is also broadcast on TV) and varsity matches. Inter-university sports are known as Cuppers.

The university has also had three British Prime Ministers attend the university, which were Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Boris Johnson.

The second university in the city is Oxford Brookes University, it was originally designed as the Oxford School of Art in 1865 and received university status in 1992, when it rebranded as Oxford Brookes University. The university is part of the coveted University Alliance.

The student body of the university is represented by the Oxford Brookes Students’ Union (OBSU). It is also the first university in the world to be awarded Fairtrade Status.


Despite the University of Oxford’s long and varied history, the settlement of Oxford wasn’t really inhabited until around the time of the Middle Ages, when it was used as a military frontier town.

During the Norman Invasion of England in 1066, Oxford was very heavily damaged. After the Normans had attacked the town, it was assigned to governor Robert D'Oyly, who ordered work to begin on the construction of Oxford Castle.

Though the town’s prestige is helped in part by the advent of the University of Oxford, the town was also helped by its first charter, which was granted by King Henry II, which essentially gave citizens the same privileges and the same exemptions as people who enjoyed the capital of the kingdom.

Oxford was given city status in 1542. King Charles I would move to Oxford during the English Civil War, after he was expelled from London and was also the home of Charles II when the Great Plague hit London 1665.

Publishing and printing became a huge part of Oxford’s industry around the turn of the 29th century and around the time of World War I, new hospitals were built in the city, which treated many of the war’s injured soldiers. Oxford’s lack of industry is likely why the city was largely ignored by the German Luftwaffe in World War II.

Things to do with family in Oxford


The sport in the city is extensive.

The city’s main football club is Oxford United, who currently play in League One and actually played as high as Division One (now the Championship) in 1996. The club plays at the Kassam Stadium. The city’s other football club is a semi-professional club named Oxford City FC, who play in the Conference South.

Oxford Rugby League is the city’s main Rugby League team and they play in the semi-professional Championship 1. There is also the Oxford Cavaliers, who play in the Conference League South.

The city’s main Rugby Union team is the Oxford Harlequins RFC, who play in the South West Division, there is also Oxford R.F.C who is the city’s oldest team and plays in the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Championship.

Who’s from Oxford?

There are many famous people from Oxford too including; J.R.R. Tolkien, Emma Watson, Hugh Grant, Kate Beckinsale, CS Lewis & Terry Jones.

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