Oxford is a beautiful university town in Oxfordshire, England. Easily accessible from London via the train or the Oxford Tube, Oxford is a lovely weekend getaway from the city. The architecture is beautiful, the foodie scene is top notch, there are plenty of wine bars and local coffee shops and you can explore a taste of the green English countryside. I absolutely loved our weekend in Oxford and have put together a blog with all my top tips on how to spend the perfect weekend in Oxford.
Is your Oxford trip part of a bigger UK trip? Check out my Complete First Timer’s Guide to London here.
How to spend the perfect weekend in Oxford
To get to Oxford from London you have a couple of options. The cheapest is the Oxford Tube which is a coach that departs from Victoria Coach Station every 20 minutes. It will cost you £20 for a return ticket or £13 for one way. You can purchase tickets on the bus or buy them online. The Oxford Tube is great and affordable but the journey time is quite long as it stops at many smaller bus stops along the way. The journey is about 2 hours from Victoria Coach Station London to Oxford Gloucester Square and you can add on a bit of extra time for your commute into central London. Look into the other coach stops as there may be other ones closer to you (like Shepard’s Bush or Notting Hill Gate).
Take the train
If you are planning on maximising your time in Oxford, taking the train is definitely going to be a quicker option. It is a bit pricier with tickets starting at. However, if you book far enough in advance you can get fairly good deals. Book your tickets here. Additionally, if you purchase a railcard you can save up to a third of the ticket price. If you travel regularly around the UK this is a very good option. Purchase your railcard here.
Where to stay in Oxford
The Tower House Guest House is in Oxford city centre, surrounded by Oxford University colleges, a 2-minute walk from all the shops. The deluxe rooms were once a tower that formed part of the medieval city walls, which gives the building the name Tower House.
The Porterhouse Grill & Rooms is located right next to the train station and a short walk from the city centre. Decor is classic and upmarket.
The Galaxie is located a bit out of town more towards Summertown. I stayed in Summertown during my weekend in Oxford and loved being a bit out of the main city centre and the opportunity to explore Summertown and some of the surrounding countryside. Summertown is a short bus ride up from Oxford City Centre and so the sites are still extremely accessible. The Galaxie is a family-run bed and breakfast accommodation situated in a leafy residential area offering individually styled, modern bedrooms.
What to do in Oxford
Check out the Radcliffe Camera, Bridge of Sighs and City Centre
Oxford’s City centre is filled with loads of architecturally stunning buildings. The Radcliffe Camera is the star of the show and is surrounded by the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, the Bridge of Sighs, Bodleian Library and Brasenose College. This little square is gorgeous and worth checking out. The rest of the city centre is filled with beautiful shopfronts, coffee shops and restaurants. Be sure to check out the charity stores like Oxfam, the Missing Bean in Turl Street for a good coffee and Taylor’s if you’re looking for a yummy sandwich for lunch. I know time can be limited on weekend’s away and so I wouldn’t budget more than a few hours for this. Checking out the sights doesn’t take too long and you can spend as long or as short a time as needed exploring the rest of the shops and restaurants.
Check out the Oxford University Colleges
While in Oxford you should definitely try check out at least one of the university colleges. Many require an entrance fee or small donation, like Brasenose College which is the oldest (and maybe most beautiful) college. Worchester College is another beautiful college which is free to enter 10am-4pm everyday.
If you’re in Oxford between mid-March and mid-October then you should definitely spend an afternoon punting. It’s a bit of a bizarre activity of using a pole to push against the bottom of the canal to push a boat forward. But once you’ve got the hang of it, it is a lovely way to spend an afternoon drifting along the leafy canals. Maybe pack in a picnic lunch and enjoy a lazy afternoon on the water. We went punting at the Cherwell Boathouse and prices start at £22 per hour. An alternative is Magdalen Bridge Boathouse which is on the otherside of town. Their hourly hire is a bit more pricey at £30 per hour. Punts fit up to 6 people (5 seated + 1 punter).
Check out Jericho
Jericho is a neighbourhood just a bit up from Oxford city centre. It has a lovely relaxed vibe to it and plenty of amazing foodie options. We went to Branca’s Deli which offers a delicious salad bar that is very decently priced. If you’re looking for a chic wine bar for your Saturday evening check out the Oxford Wine Cafe – Jericho or the Wilding Oxford – Wine Dine Shop.
Summertown is an upmarket suburb just north of Oxford city centre. It’s a short bus ride away and worth exploring. They have a lovely High Street with plenty of charity shops, a beautiful Daunt Books, boutique shops, a Gail’s, a Taylor’s and lovely local coffee roasters. I tried Colombia Coffee Roasters and the coffee was top notch.
Port Meadow walk
I’d recommend heading out to Port Meadow for a Sunday morning stride out. You can catch a bus there from Summertown or Oxford city centre. It’s a lovely escape into the english countryside. You’ll be able to walk all over the green meadow and will see cows and native ponies.
Looking to explore more of the english countryside? Check out my blog on a day trip to the Cotswolds.
Have a Sunday Roast
After your walk in Port Meadow you have a few options of local pubs for your Sunday Roast. The Trout Inn, The Perch and The Wolvercote are all lovely options. Definitely book in advance if you can. We were turned away at Trout Inn as they weren’t accepting walk-ins and only juuust managed to get squeezed in at The Wolvercote. The roast was absolutely delicious!
I really loved my time in Oxford. It’s a very special place with beautiful buildings, natural charm and lovely restaurants. It was a breath of fresh air from London and a refreshing weekend away in such a cute town.
If you’re just looking for a day trip to Oxford from London then check out these tours from GetYourGuide: Oxford & Cambridge University Day Trip, Oxford, Windsor & Stonehenge Day Trip from London, or this Oxford & Cotswold villages day trip from London.