For centuries the University of Oxford, and, by proxy, the town in which it is located, has been considered a beacon of learning, imagination, and creativity. During this Oxford Tour, a day trip from London, we will visit some of the storied buildings that have helped shape western thought, considering the prestigious history of the town, its present role in England's academic and cultural sphere, and the far-reaching influence that the institution has had on modern intellectual thought, religion, politics, art, and architecture.
- Oxford Tour led by an Oxonian
- Explore the colleges with an insider
- Small groups, max 6 people
Our starting point will be Christ Church, perhaps the best known of the university's colleges. A discussion of the structured architectural plan of the colleges (including interlocking dormitories, courtyards, dining facilities, and chapels) will segue into a reflection on the town's rich and varied architectural culture, which we will explore further at Sir Christopher Wren's Sheldonian Theatre, based on an engraving of Rome's Theatre of Marcellus; James Gibbs' Radcliffe Camera, colloquially known as "Rad Cam" and now home to the university's Radcliffe Science Library; and even the Malmaison Hotel, a converted nineteenth-century prison. We may then head to St. Mary's Church, where we'll admire its ornate baroque porch before ascending the tower to admire views from across Oxford.
A Look Inside
Oxford exudes intellectual activity and scholarly pursuits. Our visits to the colleges will inform our understanding of student life, both past and present, from the point of view of an insider. We will visit memorials that bear witness to important moments in history, including the that of the Oxford martyrs of the Reformation, who were burnt at the stake for their Protestant beliefs during the period of Marian persecution. We'll also Charles I's Royalist headquarters in Oxford during the English Civil Wars and consider Oxford as a hub of religious change during the Victorian period, as illustrated by such figures as Cardinal John Newman, fellow of Oriel College and protagonist of the Oxford Movement.
"Loved the insights she had into both historical and current affairs."
Wrapping up, we will have developed an appreciation for Oxford's rich history, not just as a preeminent institution of higher learning, but as a historical center that has shaped art, culture, and thinking. We'll also admire Oxford's rich architectural tradition, ranging from gothic spires to neoclassical designs.
Where are we meeting our guide?
You will meet your guide in Oxford, at the train station, however, if you are booking a private tour, we can arrange for a different meeting point. There are trains leaving London to Oxford from Paddington Station every half hour.
Do we go inside the venues or just see them from the outside?
You will go inside colleges and other sites. We will purchase tickets at the time of the visit.
What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your docent will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.
Is this tour good for kids?
Yes! We have some excellent family friendly docents who can appeal to the learning styles of children. Please book privately if you have children under 13. Feel free to provide us with information about your children such as favorite school subjects, and hobbies. This way we can match you with the best possible docent.
Is this a walking intensive tour?
We cover about 2.5 miles during the walk. There are plenty of opportunities to sit down and rest, but please let us know if you have any concerns.