Away from the crowds of London, there is a cute city, calm and relaxing. Well known as the city of dreaming spires, this guide will show you the perfect itinerary of Oxford in one day. As an easy day trip from London, Oxford can give you the freedom to walk around the cobblestoned streets, feeling the vibes of the university city. Oxford one day itinerary is not just a guide to unwind, but also the perfect trip to enjoy magnificent architecture and a superb cultural hub.
Living in London, sometimes we feel the need to escape from the routine and the fast pace of living in a metropolis. Oxford is the perfect place to slow down and enjoy the perfect day out in London.
It’s now time to get in the heart of our topic, walking you through our Oxford day trip guide. It is possible to enjoy the most important sightseeing of Oxford in just one day, so continue to scroll down and enjoy our guide. A detailed itinerary from morning to evening, with some tips on where to eat in Oxford, and why not, where to stay overnight in Oxford too.
Things to know before your Oxford day trip
Let’s start with the first and most important fact about Oxford. This compact city groups some of the most prestigious universities in the world.
Being a small city it is easy to walk around, also because most of the old town and the city centre is completely walkable and close to vehicles.
The cobbled lanes of Oxford are awesome and will let you step back in the past, walking around the little alleys, discovering narrow passages between the buildings. Wear comfortable shoes while visiting Oxford, the pavement is not appropriate for high heels.
This enjoyable city, just an hour away from London, can be overcrowded, however, there are some parts of the year when you can experience Oxford without people around. We will talk about that later, but you should know that the shoulder season is the best time to plan a one day in Oxford.
Even if it is your first time in Britain, Oxford should be on your UK bucket list. The city is awesome and ideal for families, leaving the kids free to roam around the traditional English Gardens.
When to visit Oxford
In late spring. This might be the most interesting topic until now. When to visit Oxford is not easy to answer, because it depends on many variables, like special events held by the University, bank holidays in the United Kingdom and others. However, as a very general answer, we can assure you that travelling to Oxford in late spring or early autumn can make your trip enjoyable.
The best period to consider for a one day in Oxford is for sure anything around summer, before or after, so the prices are not yet high, and there are not many tourists around.
Temperatures in Oxford are generally lower compared to London, and this makes it easy to find snow in winter, especially in January and February. Experience Oxford in winter is incredible, with more fairy tale vibes.
What to plan in your Oxford one day itinerary
Travel time to time can be very expensive, and Oxford is just two steps away from London. Doesn’t matter if it is the desire to explore more, or is just a way to recharge your batteries to embrace another week at work.
Oxford is an easy day trip from London by train, pleasing to plan even on the go. Not just one day in Oxford, but we suggest staying overnight as well, and why not for the weekend. Planning the perfect one-day itinerary in Oxford, you don’t need that much preparation.
The ticket for the train can be purchased at the machine at Paddington Station, and trains are regular. You can also opt for a coach, taking it from Victoria or Marble Arch inside the London city centre, sometimes this is the cheapest way to reach Oxford.
Prices in Oxford city are similar to London, and eating in a local pub doesn’t cost a fortune as you might think.
How to reach Oxford for a day trip from London
Oxford is only about 1 hour away from London, 65 miles (ca. 105 kilometres) Northwest of the England Capital. Thanks to the great public transport, it is easy to reach Oxford from London as a day trip. There are many options available, but the easiest way is to reach Oxford by train. Many routes connect London to Oxford, with services departing from Paddington every 30/45 minutes and Marylebone (the nearby to the city centre). Also, cars and coaches are other great alternatives too. There are direct links between the two cities, and trains and buses are at all times.
The train is not always the cheapest solution, but you can look into booking the ticket by Bus, using National Express, Megabus, or the Oxford Tube Bus Company. By bus, it will take a bit longer with a few stops on the way, however, you will enjoy a bit more of Oxfordshire, which is very pretty. Instead, using a car to reach Oxford will allow you to stretch the length to the nearby pretty villages in the Cotswold as well. From Oxford, it is easy to reach other places, and proper British villages like Witney, Bibury, Bicester or Burford.
LONDON TO OXFORD TRAINS
Oxford One day Itinerary
London Paddington to Oxford | 53 minutes journey | 1st Class available | Tickets from £5.40
Check on Sunday morning with a return about 5.30pm | The Service runs from 4am to 12.30am
London Marylebone to Oxford | 1h 10 minutes journey | Tickets from £8
The Service runs from 5am to 1am
London to Oxford by bus
Several companies are servicing the route between London and Oxford. In our opinion, all of that is reliable with affordable prices.
National Express, Oxford Tube and Megabus cover the journey in about 1h and a half. All the coaches depart from London’s Victoria Station, and there is a bus service every 20 minutes from 00.15am to 11.55pm.
Every bus stops along the route to collect other passengers, especially students. The major stops toward Oxford, within London, are Marble Arch, Baker Street, Notting Hill and Shepherd’s Bush.
Drive from London to Oxford
This is one of the experiences we highly suggest. Driving across Oxfordshire, you will discover a different world compared to London. Coming from Europe, the adrenaline to drive on the other side of the road is breathless, however, be careful and drive safely.
The journey is about 56 miles (ca. 90 kilometres) from London to Oxford by car that will take about one hour and a half, but with a few stops on the way, we bet you can take longer. The M40 is the fastest way to reach your location, follow the route.
Topics | How to spend one day in Oxford
Oxford Day Trip Itinerary
Your Itinerary in Oxford
10+ things to don’t miss in Oxford
OXFORD DAY TRIP | MORNING
We are definitely not morning people, and a trip via train or bus can just make us more sleepy. Arriving in Oxford, our first intent is to find a cosy coffee shop to start our day with the right foot.
The Oxford coffee scene is pretty vibrant, with nice shops ideal for a break or a wake-up call. If you are in Oxford to visit the city, but at the same time need to reply to emails or calls, there is an abundance of coffee shops well organized to accommodate your needs, thanks to the many students around.
The Society Café is what you need to start your day well, with nice tasty coffee and lovely staff. The café have a cosy outdoor area, ideal for a sunny days (which is very unlikely).
Society Café | Open Monday to Sunday from 8.30am to 4.30pm
Many recognize Oxford only as a University City, however, our first sight in town was the beautiful Medieval Castle. This stunning building is on the border of the town, about a 5-minute walk from the local train station. The great history of this castle will let you walk through 1000 years of history and incredible British legends.
You can walk around the castle area free of charge, instead, the inside is at admission fee only. Also, to hike up the mound you have to purchase a ticket. Tours run every 20 minutes every day from 10am. The tour includes the medieval remains of the castle, including the mount and St George’s Tower and crypt, which are Grade I listed buildings and the Prisons.
RADCLIFFE CAMERA | FIRST STOP IN OXFORD
This is the most famous landmark of Oxford, a recognizable building right in the centre of the College area. The gorgeous neoclassical 17th-century building is the symbol of the city and part of the Bodleian Library, which we will talk about later.
The circular structure is perfectly amalgamated within the nearby building, becoming the soul of the entire district. The best view of the Radcliffe Camera is from the St. Mary the Virgin church tower. So head to the north and reach the top for the best view of Oxford.
The Radcliffe Camera is an unmissable sight to visit in Oxford in one day. To visit the inside unique features, you can book a 90-minute tour of the Bodleian Library, which will take you underground, through an interconnecting corridor to the Radcliffe Camera. A great experience to don’t miss in Oxford, book it now!
CHURCH OF ST MARY THE VIRGIN
Stunning gothic and baroque architecture, it is the centrepiece where the growth of the University of Oxford originated. The eccentric church is on the north side of High Street, at a short distance from the Radcliffe Camera. The high church tower offers you the best view over the Radcliffe Camera and the roofs of one of the most prestigious College Towns in the World.
St. Mary the Virgin is open every day, from Monday to Saturday from 9.30am to 5pm and on Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. You can go up to the tower deck until 30 minutes before closing time, and the admission just costs £5 per person. Check the tickets!
BRIDGE OF SIGHS | Hertford Bridge
The Hertford Bridge, or better known as the Bridge of Sighs of Oxford, is an awesome passage between the two wings of Hertford College. The Bridge crosses New College Lane and is a remarkable landmark of Oxford.
The perfect place to visit during your morning itinerary. Just at the exit of the Sheldonian Theater, you will find this architectural jewel. Is it easy to find students celebrating graduation around this area, and the Sheldonian Theater is the space for the event.
Student’s usually gathering around this site to take photos. The nickname “Bridge of sighs” comes from the most famous bridge in Venice, because of the architectural similarities. Make sure to don’t miss the Hertford Bridge while visiting Oxford in one day.
LUNCH IN OXFORD
It’s time for lunch, and Oxford will never leave you hungry. The beautiful city has a lot to offer in terms of markets, restaurants, bars, and tearooms. One of the best locations to get a quick bite on the go is the Covered Market of Oxford.
We love markets so much, it is only in these places that you can find the real life of a location you are visiting. The Covered Market is unique, but we will talk about the architecture later on. It is now time to talk about food and stalls.
Our suggestion is to check out local producers, which make the fresh product and sell it to the market. It is easy to recognize them, as the cheese stalls. The flavours, smells and colours of this market are just incredible. Roam around and find your perfect lunch break in Oxford.
As we mentioned before, the Covered Market is an unmissable location on your Oxford day Itinerary. Since 1770 the Covered Market has been the centrepiece of trading in this part of Britain. Today offers many solutions to locals and tourists, offering one of the most varied food scenes in the country.
Every business has its opening times and days, but generally, the market is open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 5.30pm and on Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
Your itinerary through the Covered Market of Oxford should include a visit to the Alpha Bar for a Sandwich, followed by coffee time at the incredible Columbia Coffee Roasters and sweet treats at the Wicked Chocolate. If you still have spare time to kill, go and try some cheese at the Oxford Cheese Company, but feel free to check all local shops in the market.
Afternoon experiences | Oxford day trip itinerary
CHRIST CHURCH COLLEGE
Your afternoon itinerary of Oxford will start visiting the Christ Church College, an institution above the others. This College was founded by King Henry VIII in 1546, since then has educated politicians, teachers and well-known personalities.
As you can understand, this is one of the most prestigious Colleges in Oxford, but also recognized by fans as the inspiration behind the dining room in Harry Potter and for the world-famous choir. Roam around the beautiful Great Hall, and check out the beautiful architecture of the Hall Stairs and Cloister.
The Christ Church College, hosts in the Picture Gallery one of the most precious Old Master paintings and drawings and is home to Oxford’s Cathedral.
You can visit the college, booking in advance. Usually, the tickets are released on Friday for the following week. Visits are allowed every day of the week, with closing time at 5pm. The cost for single access to the Christ Church College is £16 per person, the family pays £50 and kids under 5yrs are free of charge.
You can visit the college booking in advance, it is open every day, from Monday to Saturday from 9.30am to 4.30pm and on Sunday from 10.30am. The tour costs £15. Check for the tickets.
You have seen the Bodleian complex already in the morning, visiting the Radcliffe Camera. This beautiful Library is featured in many scenes of Harry Potter’s saga, as the Hogwarts Library. This is today a very popular attraction in Oxford, included among the Divinity School. The Bodleian Library is the second-largest library in Britain and is a research lab among the oldest in Europe. On top of the shelves, there are over 13 million printed items, particularly rich in Oriental manuscripts and collections of English literature.
Access to the Bodleian Library is subject to ticket admission. This Oxford landmark is very popular, tickets are often sold out weeks in advance. Reserve your spot to don’t miss the chance to visit one of the oldest libraries in Britain. The Divinity School often hosts events and exhibitions included in guided tours. Check the tour availability.
Harry Potter Tour in Oxford
We encourage you to try some great experiences while visiting Oxford. Book a tour through the film locations in Oxford and enjoy an experience for adults and kids.
COLLEGES WALKING TOURS
Walking through our afternoon in Oxford in one day is good to act smart and don’t waste any time. Instead of going college to college, door to door, we suggest you book a unique tour through the most prestigious universities in Oxford.
This allows you to explore more than one location and learn history, with legends told by a local or a student. In your spare time, go relaxing to a coffee shop for a chill afternoon.
The Oxford University Walking Tour will let you explore the events and stories that shaped Oxford. Discover the Divinity School, the Bodleian Library all in one go. The tour takes approximately 1.5h/2h and introduces you to at least 9 colleges, describing student life, traditions, and famous figures passed by these rooms.
OXFORD DAY TRIP | EVENING
For the perfect evening in Oxford in English style, you should try the Three Goats Heads. This is a proper English Pub in the centre of Oxford, about 5 minutes walk from the Ashmolean Museum, nearby the morning breakfast stop “The society Café”. Get a pint and some side in this picturesque pub. We suggest it because of the good selection of beers, supplied by local breweries, favourites of the Yorkshire beers and ciders.
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Other activities | One day in Oxford
OXFORD BOTANIC GARDEN
The Oxford botanic garden was established in 1621 to study plants for medicinal use. The small area contains over 5000 species and is one of the oldest botanic gardens in Britain.
OXFORD UNIVERSITY NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
The Ashmolean Museum is one of the most recognized in the world, part of the core of Oxford Museum of Art and Archaeology, hosting diverse collections including priceless Egyptian mummies and historical pieces. The Ashmolean Museum was established in 1683 and is the oldest museum in the United Kingdom. Today the complex features over 1500 oil paintings, with masterpieces from the Italian Renaissance, and Pissaro.
STROLL AROUND UNIVERSITY PARKS
Oxford University is surrounded by green parks, this is one of the main features of the town. The University believes in this oasis of peace in the heart of the city. There are many walks around Oxford parks, of which the most picturesque that you might enjoy is the Riverside Walk. Going along the Cherwell river, you will fully understand the pace and relaxation of this park, spotting some wildfowl and wildlife in their natural environment.
PUNTING IN OXFORD
Another great experience to do in Oxford in one day is to go punting on the River Cherwell. This is a very typical boat in Oxfordshire that you can find in Cambridge and many other places too.
The narrow wooden boat will help you to navigate easily along the river, passing iconic bridges, hidden courtyards and the facades of many colleges. Alternatively, just watch people punting on the Cherwell passing by Magdalen Bridge.
Alternative Tours on the River
Colleges in Oxford open to visitors
Entrance fee £3 | Open Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm
LOCATION | Broad Street
OXFORD DAY TRIP ITINERARY | map
We tried to help you to organize a perfect Oxford day trip itinerary with an accurate map. This will locate all the main attractions and help you to understand distances and timing.
Visiting Oxford in a day
Other Sightseeing to consider
Oxford itself is very nice, the town is small enough to be done walking from one point to another without missing single sightseeing in just a day in Oxford. If you want to experience the surrounding area or some other places, we suggest those:
University city Quarter
Pitt Rivers Museum
Special Days Out in UK | Selection of tours from Oxford
Oxford is an awesome hub where take some day trip around. The Oxfordshire itself is beautiful and allows you long walk paths, small hikes, and generally ideal location for families, couples and solo travellers.
Day trips from London to Oxford and the Pretty Villages in the Cotswold
A full day trip to Oxford and the pretty villages in the Cotswold can be a dream for many. Going through the beautiful alleys of Oxford and guided around some of the best landscapes in Britain.
Some villages like Bibury are difficult to reach by public transport, however, you can enjoy it just with this day trip from London.
You might already have a vague idea of how Oxford was such inspiration for the Harry Potter Saga. You can go on a guided tour around the streets and main sightseeing in the college city, following the film trail with stories and facts about the most famous magician character.
3 Locations in one day | Oxford, Windsor and Stonehenge from London
A full day within some of the most iconic places in England history. Taking a bus from London you will be able to visit the Royal Town of Windsor, roaming around the beautiful castle, then moving to Oxford for a walk around the cobblestone alleys, ending the day at the marvellous Stonehenge.
How to organize a Tour of Oxford and Cambridge from London?
If these are the two-pin on your map visiting the UK, you should organize a complete tour of the iconic college locations. If you are planning to visit London for more than a week, it is easy to organize a tour of Cambridge and Oxford. The UK’s history cannot be understood well without visiting the countryside and other cities.
London is a multicultural location, and just outside the Capital, you can find the proper English style. You can easily arrange a day between Oxford and Cambridge. However, it is suggested to spend a day in Oxford and a one day trip in Cambridge separately.
Anyway, from London, you can find dozens of Tours to Oxford or Cambridge. Check the most suitable tour departing from London for you.
Q&A Oxford day trip itinerary
Oxford or Cambridge to visit?
Both. We suggest visiting both to compare because they are beautiful, similar but diverse at the same time. We felt more involved in Oxford than Cambridge, but this might be just a personal factor. Even if both cities have an authentic British characteristic, these are different. So try to plan in advance your trip and try to stay overnight in one of them and find a journey for the other right the day after.
Is Oxford walkable?
Yes. The city is easy to visit walking, with some alleys close to traffic. However, it is mainly made of cobbled lanes which make it uncomfortable walking with heels, so pack a comfy pair of shoes.
Is Oxford worth a day trip?
Yes. Oxford is worth a day trip, and, even more. You can easily plan a weekend in Oxfordshire with a full day exploring Oxford. This is one of the most interesting destinations in the UK, and definitely one of the easiest days trips from London.
Is Oxford expensive?
No. If you plan to explore the city mainly walking, discovering free entry places can be done on a budget. Compared to our life in London, this is not much expensive. If you want more free things to do in Oxford, make sure to check our guide.
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