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37 Top Landmarks and Cultural Tourist Attractions in Oxford

As the home of the oldest English-speaking university in the world and many historic landmarks, Oxford has countless treasures waiting to be discovered. This guide has been lovingly crafted to point you to 37 of Oxford's most iconic landmarks and cultural tourist attractions.

Oxford landmarks on the horizon

From centuries-old colleges and libraries to sprawling green parks and contemporary art spaces, our selection embraces the depth and diversity of this city's cultural fabric. Whether you're a history buff, nature enthusiast, book lover, or simply a curious traveller, there's something here for everyone. So, without further ado, let's embark on our virtual exploration of Oxford.

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1. Blackwell’s

Largest academic and specialist bookseller in the UK, founded in 1879.

2. Bridge of Sighs

Distinctive, early-20th-century stone bridge that’s part of Hertford College.

3. Christ Church Meadow

Pleasant, historic open space with a war memorial and many beautiful flowers.

4. Port Meadow

One of the largest open spaces in Oxford, formerly ancient grazing land.

5. Magdalen College

Idyllic university college with picturesque grounds, founded in 1458.

6. Christ Church Picture Gallery

Purpose-built gallery with an important collection of Old Master paintings and drawings.

7. Martyrs’ Memorial

This Oxford Landmark is a 19th-century Gothic stone monument designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott to commemorate a 16th-century event.

8. Modern Art Oxford

Leading contemporary art space founded in the 1960s.

9. Oxford Botanic Garden

Oldest botanic garden in the UK, this popular tourist attraction in Oxford was founded in the 17th century

10. Pitt Rivers Museum

Museum of anthropology and ethnography with a controversial history.

11. Museum of Oxford

Museum of Archaeology and social history documenting the history of the city and its people.

12. Radcliffe Camera

Circular Neoclassical library. This Oxford landmark was designed by James Gibbs in the 18th century.

13. Ashmolean Museum

University of Oxford's museum of art and archaeology, founded in the 17th century.

14. Carfax Tower

Sturdy medieval belltower that was once part of a 12th-century church. The landmark is now a popular Oxford tourist attraction.

15. Folly Bridge

19th-century stone bridge that’s inspired many artists and writers.

16. High Street

Central thoroughfare lined with colleges, shops and eateries.

17. Magdalen Bridge

Historic crossing named after a neighbouring college.

18. Oxford Castle & Prison

Thousand-year-old castle and prison with a turbulent history is now one of Oxford's most prominent landmarks and tourist attractions.

19. Oxford Town Hall

Elegant Victorian town hall that houses the Museum of Oxford and hosts various celebrations.

20. South Park

Oxford’s largest park, opened to the public in the 1950s, with sweeping views of the city centre.

21. Sheldonian Theatre

17th-century theatre that hosts university graduations and ceremonies.

22. The Story Museum

Unique museum dedicated to stories and the art of storytelling.

23. University of Oxford

Oldest university in the English-speaking world, founded in the 11th century who's buildings are some of the most iconic landmarks on Oxford's skyline.

24. Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Important collection of natural history specimens and archives in a 19th-century building.

25. Clarendon Building

Grand 18th-century building designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor as an entrance to the university.

26. All Souls College

Prestigious postgraduate college built in the 15th century, dedicated to victims of medieval England’s longest war.

27. Bate Collection of Musical Instruments

Most comprehensive collection of European woodwind, brass and percussion instruments in the UK.

28. Bodleian Library

University library founded in 1602 that’s the second largest in Britain (after the British Library).

29. Christ Church

College founded in the 16th century whose alumni include 13 British Prime Ministers, writer Lewis Carroll and King Edward VII.

30. Christ Church Cathedral

Medieval church founded over 800 years ago as a priory.

31. Divinity School

Famous medieval building that’s hosted lectures, debates and discussions for more than 500 years (best to book in advance).

32. Merton College

Medieval college with the oldest quad in Oxford whose alumni include Sir Thomas Bodley and poet T. S. Eliot.

33. St Michael at the North Gate

Anglo-Saxon church built where once stood the city’s north gate.

34. University Church of St Mary the Virgin

Church founded in the 11th century that has hosted graduation ceremonies as well as state trials.

35. History of Science Museum

Early scientific instruments in the old Ashmolean Museum building from the 17th century.

36. University College

Oxford University’s oldest college, established in the mid-13th century.

37. Balliol College

Medieval university college founded in 1263 by a Scottish nobleman.

Well, there you have it, a treasure trove of 37 must-visit landmarks and cultural attractions that beautifully encapsulate the spirit and history of Oxford. We've journeyed from ancient colleges to modern museums, from serene meadows to bustling streets, and hopefully sparked a deep curiosity about this historic city. Remember, these highlights are just a start, and the magic of Oxford can only be truly experienced firsthand.

Using our Urbs Travel App, you can easily curate your own personalised itinerary featuring any of these spots, creating an unforgettable journey that suits your interests and pace. Click on each attraction to learn more and start planning your Oxford adventure today. Remember, it's not just about reaching the destination, it's about the journey and the memories you'll create along the way. Here's to your next adventure in the magnificent city of Oxford.

If you're planning a trip to Oxford, be sure to download Urbs and create your own personalised itineraries with audio guides from local experts.

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