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4 hours in Oxford - Advise on Must-Sees/Dos

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Singapore, Singapore
posts: 107
reviews: 5
4 hours in Oxford - Advise on Must-Sees/Dos

I'll be arriving in Oxford from London on a Monday in late November. I'll be driving, parking at Water Eaton P & R and taking the bus into town center. After taking time off for lunch, and then an onward drive towards Stow-on-the-Wold, I realistically have about 3-4 hours to explore the town. I hope to do a circular tour via foot, starting from Magdalen St (where the bus from Water Eaton stops) and ending at High Street, going towards Cowley Road where I'll be having my lunch. There are so many lovely colleges to choose from that I don't know which I should focus on. Is there one which has stunning architecture, gargoyles, lovely gardens and a literary reference or two? Would Magdalen College fit the bill? Would I be able to squeeze in a visit to the Bodleian Library, and maybe a short punting trip?

Any suggestions welcome to help me make the most of my short visit. Fyi, I'll be travelling with a hubby and 3 teenaged girls.


Singapore, Singapore
posts: 107
reviews: 5
11. Re: 4 hours in Oxford - Advise on Must-Sees/Dos

Thank you for the suggestions on where to get the best views.

I took a look at Boar's Hill at Google Maps, and it is a bit out of the way to get there, you'd have to walk across a field to get to the spot and the views are quite distant as mentioned by Angie47. The Debenhams idea is a good one, we can throw in some shopping :)

We'll decide on the punting when we get there. When I did mine, it was in Feb or March in Cambridge, and it was still quite pleasant.

I sent an email to Footprints tours and got a price of 75 pounds for a private Harry Potter themed tour for my family of five. It seems a fairly reasonable price as the public tour would cost me 3 pounds lesser. But Magdalen College looks amazing, and will be cheaper to visit (just 14 pounds for all five of us). Has anyone tried the afternoon tea at the Old Kitchen? It will be a nice way to end the day in Oxford.

posts: 4
reviews: 1
12. Re: 4 hours in Oxford - Advise on Must-Sees/Dos

Hi there.

Oxford has a fairly small town centre, and most of the sights are within close proximity. 4 hours should be plenty for your visit! If you wanted a walking tour then I would probably suggest something like this...

After getting off the bus, head north on Magdalen St. and turn down Beaumont St. On the other side of the road is the Ashmolean Museum which you would probably have time for a quick look round (it's free to enter).

Walk back up Beaumont Street and on to Magdalen St. again, on the other side of the road is the Martyr Cross. Continue down Magdalen St and turn on to Broad Street. On the left side of the road are Baliol and Trinity Colleges which are quite nice, but not the most impressive of Oxford's colleges. Continue up Broad St, and on your right is the Sheldonian Theatre with it's distinctive statues on the walls surrounding it.

Continue further up Broad Street and turn left on to Cattle St. On your left you will see the Bridge of Sighs which links Hartford College over New College Lane. Continue along Cattle Street and on your right is the Bodleian Library, you can enter here as the building is quite impressive but when you have had a look around continue along Cattle St. to Radcliffe Square.

Here there are a few landmarks, The Radcliffe Camera in the centre of the square is very impressive, and All Souls College can be seen through the gates at the East of the square. At the South side of the square is St Mary's Church, which I think provides the best views of the city. You can climb to the top for £3 (I think!) and can view the city from all four sides of the steeple.

After going up St Mary's tower, carry on along Cattle St, turn right on to the High St and head up towards the Carfax Tower. Turn left on to St Aldates and walk down until you come to the impressive Christchurch College on you left. Through the main gates you can see the Quad where much of Harry Potter was filmed. Just past the main building there is a gate which is open to the gardens (but not every day, so maybe best to check before), and from here a gravel drive takes you around the building and links up with Grove Walk and then Merton St, opposite Oriel College. From here you can head up Merton St, on to Bear Lane, then Blue Boar St, and finally back up St. Aldates to the city centre having taken in all of the City's best sights!

Hope that helps!


Cookham Dean...
Destination Expert
for Prague, Bohemia
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13. Re: 4 hours in Oxford - Advise on Must-Sees/Dos


have a look at self guided tour itinerary...easy to do in a couple of hours and stop at Magdalen college....one of the most beautiful colleges in Oxford.

London, United...
posts: 173
reviews: 2
14. Re: 4 hours in Oxford - Advise on Must-Sees/Dos

For views: Carfax is OK but the Saxon Tower is better, there's a plan of the skyline you can look at when you're up there so you know which building is which.

I was most impressed with St Mary's Church for the views though.

15. Re: 4 hours in Oxford - Advise on Must-Sees/Dos

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