With over 800 years of history, Oxford is a remarkable city that masterfully combines the old and the new, embracing modern advancements while holding on to centuries-old traditions. The University of Oxford, housed within the city, consists of 39 individual colleges with a total of over 20,000 students from around the world.
8:00 am — Start the day with a leisurely croissant and coffee breakfast at one of the local shops. I recommend the Starbucks on Cornmarket St. — not because it’s Starbucks but because the second floor windows allow for some of the best people watching in Oxford.
9:00 am — Climb 127 steps up the tower of St. Mary the Virgin for some commanding panoramas of Oxford’s famed “Dreaming Spires.”
10:30 am — Have a look around the Oxford Information Centre, ask questions, buy souvenirs, and grab some brochures.
10:45 am — Take a pre-booked University & City Walking Tour led by an experienced Blue Badge Guide.
12:00 pm — Explore the sights and smells of the historic Covered Market near the site where goldsmiths, tanners, and mercers would trade in the Middle Ages. Grab lunch at one of the quaint eateries like Brown’s Cafe or Sofi de France.
2:00 pm — Take a tour of the Bodleian Library, one the oldest libraries in Europe.
3:30 pm — Change your shoes for a “smart casual” look and head over to the Randolph Hotel. Relax in the quintessential British atmosphere of the Drawing Room as you enjoy traditional afternoon tea complete with warm, buttery scones, little cakes and pastries, and specialty tea sandwiches.
4:45 pm — Cross the street to the oldest public museum in Britain, the Ashmolean Museum. Allow more time or schedule a return trip if you are an avid museum fan.
6:00 pm — Attend Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral for an unforgettable experience that defies description.
7:30 pm — Do your research ahead of time and book tickets for one of the many concerts in Oxford’s historic venues such as Holywell Music Room (where Handel performed), Exeter College, New College, or the Sheldonian.
10:00 pm — Grab fish & chips at The Eagle & Child where C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and their fellow Inklings would read and discuss their unfinished manuscripts. This is a great place to chat with Oxford locals.
A Note About Reservations: If you only have one day in Oxford book your reservations for the walking tour and the afternoon tea at the Randolph in advance either by phone or by email. Booking for Bodleian tour must be done in person on the day of the tour.