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Looking for an easy day trip from London? Consider taking a day trip to Oxford!
Visiting the University of Oxford is probably every super nerd’s dream. It’s where scenes from Harry Potter where filmed, where JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis crafted their literary genius, and where some of the most famous academics attended University. If you’re looking to admire the life of the famed playwright, Shakespeare, consider another great day trip from London to Warwickshire. Even if you aren’t a nerd or bookworm, visiting Oxford is a great day trip from London!
Here is your guide to visiting Oxford in one day if you’re taking a day trip from London!
Taking a Day Trip to Oxford from London
How to Spend One Day in Oxford
Practical Information for Visiting Oxford University
Transportation to Oxford from London is fairly easy, you can take public transit or take the 90-minute drive to the city.
Bus: The Oxford Tube and the X90 leave London’s Victoria Station every 12-20 minutes
Train: Trains from London leave Paddington every half hour
Suggested Oxford Day Trip Tours
JRR Tolkien and the Inklings Walking Tour: a walking tour of Oxford highlighting the works and friendships of JRR Tolkien while he was a professor at Oxford
Oxford: University and City Walking Tour with Alumni Guide: Get an inside look of Oxford from the lens of an alumni
From London: Full-Day Windsor, Stonehenge & Oxford Tour: See more than just Oxford with this full-day tour including Windsor Castle and Stonehenge!
Explore Oxford University
Did you know Oxford isn’t just one school? It’s actually composed of 38 constituent colleges! Oxford has been a place for education and teaching since 1096 making Oxford is the oldest English speaking university. It continued to grow rapidly after Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.
Since Oxford is famed for its rich academic history, notable alumni, and influence in literature and movies, it’s worth the visit! Some of Oxford’s notable alumni include JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Lewis Carroll and Oscar Wilde.
See the Bridge of Sighs
Because the colleges at Oxford are so old, they are full of interesting architecture. The Hertford Bridge, or “the Bridge of Sighs”, is a skyway joining Hertford College over New College Lane. This bridge is one of Oxford’s famous landmarks.
Consider a Tour of Oxford
If you visit Oxford, taking a tour is a great way to see some of the highlights. You can take tours themed on Harry Potter and JRR Tolkien if you’re interested in taking the nerdy route! Oxford has so much to see because of it’s rich history and beautiful architecture so even just walking around on your own with a map is a great way to see the town!
See the Radcliff Camera
Completed in 1748, the Radcliffe Camera is a neoclassical style library and study for students at Oxford University. The word “camera” is most often associated with photography, though in this context, the word is used in its original meaning, which is simply “room.” The Radcliff Camera is one of the most iconic sites at Oxford because, well, look at it! It’s so beautiful! Another library at Oxford worth visiting is the Bodleian Library.
Across from the Radcliff, Camera is the Univesity Church. If you climb to the top, you can get a great view of the Camera!
Climb the Tower of University Church
After you stop by the Radcliff Camera, stop by the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. Here, you can climb the tower of the church to get an panoramic view of the Radcliff Camera and Oxford.
Hours: Monday-Saturday • 9:30am – 5.00pm Sunday • 12noon – 5.00pm
See the Ornate Door and Lamp Post that Inspired CS Lewis
Nearby the Radcliff Camera is an interesting site with a fun story to go along with it! Apparently, on a snowy night, CS was inspired by this doorway and lamp post for the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Although it might just be a story, it would make sense by the looks of it!
Have Lunch with JRR Tolkien at The Eagle and Child
For the fans of Lord of the Rings, you can see many sites at Oxford that are notable for their association with JRR Tolkien. For lunch, stop at the Eagle and Child, where JRR Tolkien and his friends, like CS Lewis, would meet to discuss their works. Interestingly, JRR Tolkien wasn’t a big fan of CS Lewis’s work! At the Eagle and Child, or known as the Bird and the Baby, you can see where Tolkien would engage with his friends. You can also visit Tolkien’s former home, resting place, the Botanic Gardens that inspired his work, the Merton College where he taught, and the Exeter College where Tolkien attended college.
What: JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis’s Meeting Place at Oxford
Where: 49 St. Giles, Oxford OX1 3LU, UK
Hours: Everyday 11-11
View Einstein’s Handwriting at the Science Museum
At the Museum of the History of Science, you can view scientific artifacts, but the most interesting is Einstein’s handwriting! Einstein gave a talk at Oxford on May 16, 1931. The blackboard displays the equations taken from a model of the universe, the Friedmann-Einstein universe, that Einstein proposed in May 1931.
Where: Broad Street Oxford OX1 3AZ
What: A Science Nerds Heaven
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 12 — 5pm
Visit Harry Potter Film Sites at Oxford
The architecture and beauty of Oxford University inspired the scenes of the Harry Potter films. So much so that many of the scenes from the movies were filmed at Oxford!
Learn More About Things to Do in London
Learn more about visiting London in our other posts!
- Five Days in London Itinerary
- Your Ultimate Guides to the Museums of London