Walking Tour of Oxford, England

Updated: December 12, 2019 | Contains affiliate links

We were very excited to visit Oxford. We had in mind the fame of this town and the beauty of Cambridge. We got there and we tried hard to find parking on the narrow, one way streets. We finally found parking without getting any ticket. Knowing how many famous minds were schooled in Oxford…I felt kind of smart just being there. The old buildings and the street took me back in time…but the young modern students, the cars and everything else reminded me the reality. The bakeries and coffee shops’ aroma, reminded me that I was hungry…but we had to stick to the plan: to see Oxford in one day. Read on about our day trip to Oxford, England.

Oxford is old and famous. This is the quintessential college town before there existed such thing in the world. The heart of the city is the old Oxford University spread through the old city center in various colleges. Come along with me as we take a walking tour of Oxford, England.

Oxford Walking Tour Highlights

  • Radcliffe Camera area
  • Visit the University colleges
  • Walk through the beautiful parks and gardens

1. Radcliffe Camera Plaza

We start our Oxford walking tour on Broad Street and Turl Street with beautiful but cramped British houses (here you also find the Oxford Tourist Information office). We passed by The Sheldonian Theatre, a landmark, Wren-designed building hosting university’s ceremonies and concerts.

Beautiful British houses on Broad Street and Turl Street. This is where the tourist information center is located as well.
Beautiful British houses on Broad Street and Turl Street. This is where the tourist information center is located as well.
See my photos from Oxford

Radcliffe Camera is a 18th-century, iconic, Palladian-style academic library and reading rooms, designed by James Gibbs.
And of course, because we are in England we had to find refuge from rain in St Mary’s Church which is located next door, in Radcliffe Square. This is the spiritual heart of the oldest university in Britain.

Radcliffe Camera is a great starting point for a walking tour of Oxford
Radcliffe Camera and St Mary’s Church are great places to start your Oxford walking tour
See my photos from Oxford

Tourists were everywhere, mixed with students. We enjoyed the beauty and the history of this place. I wanted to capture the moment taking tons of picture but I felt that was not enough. The architectural mixture of rounded buildings and pointy roofs, created a beautiful scenery…almost from another century where we were volunteer actors in an old movie.

2. Oxford University Colleges

As we continue our walking tour of Oxford we come in contact with Oxford University buildings. Walking north to Catte Street we reached the Bodleian Library. It is the UK’s second largest library, established in 1602 and containing over 11 million works.

Oxford, England - The Bridge of Sighs on New College Ln.
Oxford, England – The Bridge of Sighs on New College Ln.
See my photos from Oxford

Across the street from the library you can see Hertford College, founded in the 13th century. It is one of many University of Oxford colleges spread all over the town.
Right in the vicinity you will find The Bridge of Sighs on New College Lane. It is supposed to be a replica of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice Italy.

3. Carfax Tower

Our walking tour of Oxford takes us to the busy intersection of High Street and Cornmarket Street. Here we find the imposing Carfax Tower, which gives you great views of the city.

Carfax Tower gives you great views of the city
Carfax Tower gives you great views of the city
See my photos from Oxford

4. Christ College

We tried to escape the busy High Street, so we followed the map to St. Aldate’s street. After a short walk, we passed by the imposing Town Hall and Museum of Oxford buildings and found ourselves in front of the famous Christ College.

Oxford, England – Beautiful view of Christ Church college on St. Aldate’s street.
 Oxford, England - Beautiful view of Christ Church college on St. Aldate's street.
See my photos from Oxford

This is a majestic university college known for its grand main quad (The Great Quadrangle built in 1546), riverside meadows and Cathedral Choir. The beautiful construction of Tom Tower (build in 1682) serves as the main entrance to Christ Church College. Here we peeked in and stole an image of the beautiful interior yard of the college, but we were still disappointed because the building was closed for visitors that day.

5. Memorial Garden

From Christ Church College we strolled down the street and we found the War Memorial Garden which gave us a splendid view of Christ College Chapel.

Oxford, England – Christ Church College chapel can be seen from the War Memorial Garden.
Oxford, England - Christ Church College chapel can be seen from the War Memorial Garden.
See more photos from Oxford

We walked back to High Street and from there to Corn Market Street, were we enjoyed more inspiring old building, shops and restaurants. We reached Martyrs’ Memorial on Beaumont St and St Giles.

6. Christ Church Meadow

A short walk through the garden took us to Christ Church Meadow and from there a tree lined pathway leads you to the river Thames.

Oxford, England - Beautiful tree lined pathway leading to the river Thames.
Oxford, England – Beautiful tree lined pathway leading to the river Thames.
See my photos from Oxford

Our kids got tired and hungry, so we found a small Mexican place were we enjoyed a decent burrito…which is very rare for England (we live in California where great Mexican food is easy to find).

7. Oxford Castle

Old walls remaining from the Oxford Castle.
Old walls remaining from the Oxford Castle.
See my photos from Oxford

We got back to our car and drove to Oxford Castle, a large, partly ruined Norman medieval castle on the western side of central Oxford. It has tours by costumed guides and there is a 900-year-old crypt. We decided to only walk around the site and not take any tours since we were pretty tired.

Is it Worth Visiting Oxford, England?

We liked our visit to Oxford, but we came to Oxford after living in Cambridge for a month. Oxford was beautiful, but we thought Cambridge is more organized and quaint…maybe because is not as big as Oxford. The old university buildings in Cambridge are clustered together, while in Oxford they are spread around and mixed with modern roads and stores. However, Oxford makes for a great tourist destination in England.

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