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The university is famous; the city not so much. But where else can you visit the ruins of a castle built by Normans just after 1066, sink a pint at the pub where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis hung out and still have time for a stroll inside hallowed university walls?

 

1. Take a boat trip, or hire a boat

There’s a lot of fun to be had on Oxford’s waterways. Whether you take a ride on a steamer or hire a punt for a relaxing cruise, the waterways are an attraction not to be missed.

2. Visit the world’s first art museum

It’s the Ashmolean – with works ranging from ancient Greek and Roman statues to Egyptian mummies to Lawrence of Arabia's robes. Or head over to the Museum of Oxford, where you can learn about the very ground you stand on and the fascinating events that shaped the city.

3. Stroll in a garden

Have a relaxing day in one of Oxford’s glorious green spaces. Head to the Oxford Botanic Garden or discover one of these gems behind university walls: Worcester College has a lake, and Christ Church has a whole meadow!

4. Explore local pubs

Commune with the literary spirits of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien at the Eagle and Child pub, an old haunt of theirs. Enjoy a pint or two and maybe you’ll find inspiration for your own Narnia or Middle Earth. The Bear Inn is another local gem that you shouldn’t miss, and it also happens to be Oxford’s oldest and smallest pub.

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5. Visit Oxford Castle unlocked

Climb the Saxon St George’s Tower at Oxford Castle – the city's oldest building. You'll go underground to the 900-year-old crypt, take a tour of the prison and then explore the castle in your own time. 

6. Study the university

Take a stroll through the gardens; see Christ Church, the inspiration for Hogwarts’ Great Hall; visit the Bodleian Library and admire the Radcliffe Camera. Or keep it simple with the City Sightseeing bus tour, which takes you to the university buildings, the castle, the Ashmolean Museum and other landmarks.

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7. Indulge in local favorites

A haven of traditional butchers, fishmongers, cobblers, florists, barbers, eateries and independent shops, the Oxford Covered Market is the place to go for everything from Sicilian sausage to silly T-shirts and wacky hats. Be sure to join the queue at Ben’s Cookies, the original outlet of the much-loved company.

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