Bodleian Library

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Bodleian Library: Our most recommended tours and activities

Oxford: University and City Walking Tour

1. Oxford: University and City Walking Tour

Join a university-educated guide, with years of experience and local knowledge of Oxford City and colleges, and explore the dreamy spires of one of the oldest univerities in the world on a 90-minute walking tour. Go inside some of the city’s most historic colleges, such as New College, founded in 1379 and more recently seen in the Harry Potter films and television productions of Inspector Morse and Lewis. Visit Exeter College, founded in 1314, and another favorite on most tours. Stop by Hertford College, with its romantic façade and Bridge of Sighs, instantly recognizable from Brideshead Revisited. See the University Library and learn about the collegiate system unique to Oxford and Cambridge. Discover famous alumni who studied and taught at the university, including the infamous Dr Spooner, whose portraits hang in New College Dining Hall and whose name is given to the playful linguistic phenomenon of spoonerisms.

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Oxford: University and City Walking Tour with Alumni Guide

2. Oxford: University and City Walking Tour with Alumni Guide

This Oxford University and city walking tour begins in central Oxford and is designed to show you the world behind the doors. The small group size enables the student guide to give a personalized account of university life. Visit one of the university’s oldest colleges and the Bodleian Library. Learn about the history of the university colleges, including All Souls College, Trinity College, Oriel College, Hertford College and Merton College and also the Radcliffe Camera, the University Church of St. Mary and more. You’ll get an equally in-depth history about the town. Hear about ceremonies at Oxford, famous graduates, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and also how the most powerful Archbishop of Canterbury was burned at the stake in Oxford.

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Oxford: Harry Potter Tour with Divinity School Entry

3. Oxford: Harry Potter Tour with Divinity School Entry

Follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and other characters from the Harry Potter movies. J.K. Rowling applied to study at Oxford University and so she was familiar with Oxford. Thus, when they were producing the films, Rowling walked the producers around Oxford, pointing out various sights which they could use, such as the statue that looks like 'Nearly Headless Nick', and Turf Tavern Lane, which looks like Knockturn Alley. This tour showcases where the Harry Potter movies were filmed in Oxford. It includes entry to 1 film site only via the Divinity School, where they filmed the classroom, dance, and infirmary scenes. You will be passing the city's famous sights and colleges from the outside. You will also be provided with lots of insights about the actors, the producers and about JK Rowling's inspirations. As you walk around, you will take part in a Harry Potter quiz to test your knowledge of the books and films. The guide will also describe how student life in Oxford compares with Hogwarts.

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Harry Potter Studio Tour & Oxford Day Tour from London

4. Harry Potter Studio Tour & Oxford Day Tour from London

Join this fantastic full-day excursion from London which combines a trip to the magical Warner Bros Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter with a trip to the historic city of Oxford. Start your tour at the historic city of Oxford, home to England's oldest university. Enjoy a guided walking tour that takes you past famous college buildings, cloisters, quadrangles, and cobblestone squares. See the Bodleian Library, Radcliffe Camera, the Sheldonian Theatre, and selected colleges. Enjoy free time to explore all that Oxford has to offer at your own pace. Continue to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour and begin your magical experience at The Making of Harry Potter. Discover behind-the-scenes secrets and hear about the filmmaking techniques used to make the magic of the Harry Potter films. Visit the most recognizable set features from the films: the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, the Ministry of Magic, 4 Privet Drive, the Weasley kitchen, Hogwarts Express, and Diagon Alley. Board the original Hogwarts Express train and see a recreation of Platform 9-3/4. Explore the interior train carriage set that was featured during filming and take a selfie with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the brick wall.

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Oxford: Official University and City Walking Tour

5. Oxford: Official University and City Walking Tour

Explore Oxford, the city of Dreaming Spires, on a walking tour with an expert guide from the city’s tourism board. Be shown the city’s most famous sights, uncover its hidden history, and enjoy all the astonishing stories about Oxford's key characters- real and fictional. Meet your guide at the grand and very old Broad Street (once the city's ditch) let them know where you come from and any special Oxford interests you may have and they will do their best to incorporate those.  Go to Martyrs' Memorial, the scene of terrible religious retributions in medieval times, and on to the oldest tower at St Michael of the Northgate built in Saxon times. Then, make your way to the very heart of the University and the inspiration behind Harry Potter's Hogwarts School. Pass by the pubs where the Inklings used to meet to discuss their writing as well as the pubs where Inspector Morse was filmed and the most popular student drinking holes in days of old. Discover the city that is home to several of Britain's most famous literary characters - both fictional and real - such as JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, Philip Pullman, and Colin Dexter as well as some of their most famous creations like Lyra and Will, and Inspector Morse. Admire Oxford's stupendous architecture, gargoyles and grotesques, so wonderfully preserved from every historical period and style, and take a stroll through the breathtaking Radcliffe Square. Cross the whimsical Bridge of Sighs as it's fondly known, just like the ones in Venice and Cambridge. See the Bodleian Libraries from the outside in the splendid Old Schools Quadrangle. Learn about the city’s famous museums including the Museum of the History of Science, containing Einstein's blackboard, The Pitt Rivers, once home to shrunken heads, and the fabulous Ashmolean, which was one of the very first ever museums in the world. If time allows, walk as far as to the beautiful Christ Church Meadows, where punting happens and cattle graze; a truly pastoral and quintessential English scene.

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From London: Harry Potter Studio and Oxford Small Group Tour

6. From London: Harry Potter Studio and Oxford Small Group Tour

Depart London and journey to the city of Oxford to explore the real college buildings, including the medieval Divinity School (admission included). Upon arrival in the university city founded in 1167, take a 1.5-hour guided tour of the historical center and admire some of the most famous college buildings, cloisters and quadrangles. Delve down alleyways and into chapels, look inside dining halls and across cobblestone squares under the shadows of the legendary "dreaming spires." Enter the hallowed heartland of academia, including the Bodleian Library, Radcliff Camera, Sheldonian Theatre and other select colleges.  You then depart Oxford before journeying towards Warner Bros. Studio to take "The Making of Harry Potter" tour. Located in former aircraft hangars in the residential district of Leavesden, the unique attraction recreates the magic of Harry Potter and all your favorite characters. Board the original "Hogwarts Express" train at a recreation of Platform 9¾, and explore the inside of the train carriage featured in the films. Take a selfie with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the station's brick wall. The guides will reveal the behind-the-scenes secrets and unveil the intricate prosthetics and make-up that transformed actors into creatures in the blockbuster films. See sets from the original movies, and get a peek inside the college of Hogwarts during the 4-hour studio tour. Journey through attractions such as The Great Hall, Gryffindor Common, Hagrid's Hut, the Weasleys' kitchen and the Ministry of Magic. Take a tour of the back lot and a special effects tour, see a model of Hogwarts Castle and much more.

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Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds & Warwick Castle Day-Tour

7. Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds & Warwick Castle Day-Tour

Walking tour of Oxford Follow in the footsteps of Oxford's famous students, from C.S. Lewis to Bill Clinton, as you stroll the captivating college courtyards and cobbled lanes of this historic university town. Take in the famous 'dreaming spires' and see Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. You'll be captivated by the unspoilt narrow alleys and ancient squares of this naturally beautiful town. Brasenose College Brasenose College takes its name from the unique door-knocker of the Hall. This beautiful Oxford University college was founded in 1509 by Sir Richard Sutton, a lawyer, and William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln. Brasenose is a stunning example of traditional university architecture and is surrounded by lush green lawns and relaxing gardens. The college has been used as a filming location for both TV and movies. Past students include the writer William Golding and Prime Minister David Cameron. The Cotswolds Enjoy views of the breathtaking countryside, sleepy villages, and bustling market towns as you drive through the charming scenery of one of England's most beautiful regions. Stratford–upon–Avon  A unique market town, famous as the home of William Shakespeare, arguably the world's greatest writer. Visit the picturesque half–timber house where the legendary bard was born, and gain fascinating insights into his childhood. Shakespeare’s birthplace: See where the famous playwright grew up and spent his years as a married man. Warwick Castle  Be part of Britain’s greatest medieval experience! Deep in the heart of Warwick Castle, the Great Hall is a hive of activity! Immerse yourself in battle preparations and feel the weight of a medieval sword. Become a soldier – try on a battle helmet for size! Visit the spectacular State Rooms and feast your eyes on Victorian party preparations.  Arrival time back in London at approximately 18:45.

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Oxford: Christ Church Harry Potter Film Locations Tour

8. Oxford: Christ Church Harry Potter Film Locations Tour

Enjoy a walking tour visiting inside Christ Church College, to see and hear about both Harry Potter and Lewis Carroll’s legendary characters, such as Alice and the Mad Hatter. Book in advance to beat the queues at Christ Church, Oxford's most popular tourist attraction. Admire views onto Christ Church Meadows on the borders of the rivers Cherwell and Isis. See longhorn cattle graze and the dreamy spires of Merton College and Corpus Christi. Access permitting, you will also see inside another Harry Potter film site, the Divinity School at the famous Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. On any dates when Christ Church may be closed, this tour will visit the inside of New College, another great Hogwarts film site, instead. If this happens you also have the option to reschedule for a different tour or a different date. On this tour, you will visit 2 of the 3 film sites (where and when access is permitted). While you may visit Divinity School, you will not visit inside the medieval library as it is not open to private guides. On Saturday mornings, Christ Church Hall is rarely open but the tour runs anyway as it's not a film site.

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Oxford University: Group Walking Tour with University Alumni

9. Oxford University: Group Walking Tour with University Alumni

Walk through pivotal moments of in Oxford history in this tour of Oxford University. Follow your Alumni guide and hear stories about the campus and admire architectural masterpieces.  See the lamp-post which inspired the world of Narnia and the architecture which inspired the book His Dark Materials. Marvel at some of the world’s greatest examples of Gothic and Baroque architecture. Enter Bodleian Library, which is one of the oldest in Europe and go into Jesus College.  Discover Oxford from a graduate that has first-hand experience with going to and getting into this prestigious institution. Enjoy hearing about what students really get up to on this classic 90 minute tour.

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Oxford: City Bike Tour with Student Guide

10. Oxford: City Bike Tour with Student Guide

Discover Oxford’s historic town center, and the magical parks on the outskirts of town with this guided bike tour. Pedal past the city’s best attractions and cover more ground. Meet your guide in the city center to start your experience. Cycle through the city alongside a student guide, and learn about the history of Oxford. Marvel at the university buildings where Oscar Wilde, J. R. R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and many British politicians studied. Admire the architecture of Oxford colleges, and enter the famous Bodleian Library. Marvel at the scenery of Port Meadow, and visit sites you can’t reach on foot. Enjoy plenty of stops along the route, and finish back at the original meeting point.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Bodleian Library

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What people are saying about Bodleian Library

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 3,138 reviews

Michiel was an excellent guide, and the tour was both interesting and amusing. Michiel combined just enough Harry Potter and JK Rowling knowledge, information, and trivia alongside some insightful facts about the city of Oxford, the University, architecture, and literature, all of which resulted in a fulfilling 90 min tour. Michiel also added a lot of dry whit to the experience. I would say if you are solely looking for Harry Potter movie insight then this isn’t the tour for you. But for an educational, interesting, funny and informative jaunt into the nature in which Oxford and the world of Harry Potter are intertwined then mischief managed!

Enjoyable and interesting 1.5 hour walking tour around Oxford with Edward. Learnt lots about the town and University that would have been very hard to have learnt any other way.

We really enjoyed our tour around Oxford and also our tour guide Casper was an awesome guy with lots of knowledge about the history of Oxford city and the university.

Amazing experience Very organized and friendly guide. The duration was good we had plenty of time in oxford and Harry Potter tour

Patrick was an amazing guide !!! Would love others to go ahead for this tour