How to spend one day in Oxford
While staying in Bath during the Summer we decided to go to Oxford for the day to experience what this iconic university city had to offer. We took the train from Bath to Oxford, which took about an hour and a half and walked out from Oxford Station. Much like many other cities the station areas didn’t have anything particular to offer and we were expecting to see beautiful old colleges everywhere. We walked 5 minutes from the station towards the city center and all of a sudden we found ourselves surrounded by charming shops, pubs, restaurants and the incredible colleges that have made Oxford famous. We only had 24 hours in Oxford before we headed back to Bath. We had done tons of research beforehand and we also happened to stumble upon a lot of hidden gems, so here’s how we recommend that you spend 24 hours in this great little city.
9 AM - Have morning coffee @ Missing Bean
This place was incredible. We stumbled upon the Missing Bean when walking down Market Street. The place had huge windows that looked out on the street and it really seemed like a real local place, unlike the many coffee chains around Oxford. They get their coffee beans from a local roastery and serve a lot of various roasts from around the world, so you can be sure to get a coffee that suits your taste. We had an amazing macchiato and one of their recommended filters. Missing Bean also serves up croissants and other pastries, so you can grab something to go along with your breakfast coffee. A great way to start off your day!
9.30 - See the Radcliffe Camera and Bodleian Library
A 2 minutes walk from the Missing Bean you’ll find 2 of the most famous buildings in Oxford - the Radcliffe Camera and the Bodleian Library. The Radcliffe Camera was built in 1737 as a library. Between 1909 and 1912 an underground book store of two floors was constructed beneath the north lawn of the library with a tunnel connecting it with the Bodleian (the library right next to the Radcliffe Camera, invisibly linking the two library buildings. The Camera now has reading rooms and an underground library with more than 600.000 books. The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and in Britain is second in size only to the British Library with over 11 million items. The library is breathtaking and even just being in the main square in the center of the library is a great experience.
10.30 Walk to the Bridge of Sighs and take a stroll down Queen’s Lane
Right next to the Bodleian you’ll find the Bridge of Sighs, which is a beautiful passageway/link between 2 buildings. Walk under the Bridge of Sighs and continue down Queen’s Lane. It’s a beautiful walk and you get to see many of the small cute streets in Oxford.
11.00 Walk to Christ Church Meadow
Once you’re out of Queen’s Lane you’ll be on Oxford High Street. Continue down High Street until you get to River Charwell. This is where you go can go Punting (sailing down the river in small boats). To go punting costs about 20 pounds and is something that a lot of tourists do, as the river takes you through Oxford and is beautiful ride. If you don’t go Punting we recommend that you go down Rose Lane and from there walk into Christ Church Meadow. You can follow the river bend here and have a nice little walk and you won’t have as many tourists around.
12.00 Christ Church Cathedral and College
One of the most famous and most beautiful colleges in Oxford. There are many reasons why this particular college is so famous. The college has produced 13 British Prime Ministers, has been featured in Harry Potter, The Golden Compass and Alice in Wonderland, the architecture has been replicated to colleges around the world.
13.00 Lunch @ Turl Street Kitchen
Situated on Turl Street just by the City Centre this place is a must-visit for great local food. It’s not overrun by tourists and the food was spectacular. Turl Street Kitchen serves up simple and delightful British dishes. They have a very simple menu (which is always a good thing) and everything is cooked up fresh. The place serves up dishes like Steak, ale & mushroom pie, celery and potato soup & Braised free range chicken, roots, white beans. They also have a small menu of lovely desserts. You can’t go wrong with lunch here and you’ll be eating like a local.
14.30 Go to Jericho
Jericho was our favourite neighborhood in Oxford. Everything here just seemed cool and trendy and you didn’t have tourists everywhere, as you do in central Oxford. Jericho is a great place to grab an afternoon drink and do some shopping. Our favourite stores here were Cowboymod Emporium, Illyria Pottery, Uncle Sam’s vintage. If you want a really cool and out of the ordinary experience then have a drink at Freud. Freud is an old church turned cocktail bar. The place plays great music and just seeing the church from the inside is an attraction in itself. A very cool experience that will make you feel like a local.
16.30 Visit Oxford Colleges
On your way back from Jericho you should stop by Worcester College. Arguably one of the prettiest colleges in Oxford. Take a stroll through the gardens and see the old buildings and get an idea of what it would be like to study in Oxford. There are plenty of colleges in Oxford so do some research and see which ones you’d prefer to visit. Make sure to check their opening hours for the public as this varies from college to college.
18.30 Dinner @ Magdalen Arms
The Magdalen Arms is one of the best restaurants in Oxford and luckily doesn’t come with a heavy price tag. The Magdalen Arms is situated on the other side of Oxford, crossing the Magdalen Bridge. The Arms has been awarded a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide and it’s easy to understand why. We went there and had a lovely glass of Pimm’s before our dinner (enjoyed out in front of the restaurant). We were then taken to the backyard of the restaurant where we sat down at a lovely table surrounded by flowers and fresh fruit. The menu was simple and focuses on British dishes with a twist. We had the Moules Mariniere, Smoked Mackerel with Pickled Cucumber for starters and then the Grilled Sole and Tagliatelle with garlic butter, lemon and pecorino for mains. The food was very tasty and was definitely worth the trek to the other side of town.
20.30 Have a drink at Café Coco or Kazbar
Walking back from Magdalen Arms you should stop by Café Coco or Kazbar, which are both really cool bars/restaurants. Kazbar has a Moroccan theme, serves up great drinks. Café Coco has very a opulent decor full of beautiful statues. They are located right next to each other, so see which one suits you best.