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Oxfordshire Culture & history

Our most recommended Oxfordshire Culture & history

London: Full-Day Windsor, Stonehenge, and Oxford Tour

1. London: Full-Day Windsor, Stonehenge, and Oxford Tour

Enjoy a full day of English heritage visiting the exquisite Windsor Castle, captivating Stonehenge, and the beautiful university city of Oxford. On this day trip departing from London, you get the whistle-stop tour of these unique sites with interesting commentary from your guide along the way. Start your day at Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of HM King Charles III. Visit the magnificent State Apartments still used for state occasions and royal receptions (if option selected). Take some time to explore the castle grounds and the 14th century St. George's Chapel, where you can admire one of the most beautiful examples of medieval church architecture in England. Next, go to the standing stones of Stonehenge, still clouded in mystery as an amazing feat of human engineering. Explore the prehistoric stone circle and learn about the theories around its construction (if option selected). Continue to the university city of Oxford, known as "The City of Dreaming Spires." A seat of learning since 1249, it's an idyllic location to explore on a fascinating walking tour.

Downton Abbey and Village Small Group Tour from London

2. Downton Abbey and Village Small Group Tour from London

Become Lord or Lady Grantham for the day, as you visit the film locations used in the BAFTA award-winning Downton Abbey period drama. Hear how the global hit TV series was made and about the actors involved and the wonderful history of the places you visit on this full-day tour. You’ll depart central London in the morning on a drive to the charming Oxfordshire village that has been featured in the series as Downton village. Enjoy a guided tour of locations such as Downton Hospital, the village pub, the former home of Matthew Crawley, and the local church.  Take a short comfort break before continuing on to Highclere Castle, which is the main setting used in Downton Abbey. En route you’ll learn about the thousand-year history of Highclere Castle and life above and below the stairs. Lunch can be purchased at Highclere Castle or you can bring your own lunch and enjoy it on the beautiful grounds. Although guided tours are not allowed inside the castle, you’ll be able to explore the above-stairs area of Downton Abbey independently with the aid of a self-guided information sheet. Imagine life as it was over 100 years ago and enter the world of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants as you wander around the estate. The tour ends in central London.

Oxford Castle and Prison: Guided Tour

3. Oxford Castle and Prison: Guided Tour

Step into 1,000 years of Oxford’s history with a costumed tour guide. Climb the Saxon St. George’s Tower, descend deep underground into the 900-year-old Crypt, explore the Victorian Prison D-Wing and Debtors' Tower, and scale the Mound of the 11th-century Motte-and-Bailey castle. Built in 1071 and only closed in 1996, Oxford Castle & Prison is a site with so many fascinating tales to tell. From the modern day stretching all the way back to the barbaric medieval era. The site has links to the birth of education in Oxford, the famous legends of King Arthur, the valiant escape of Empress Matilda and the infamous modern-day cases of murderers and criminals. For hundreds of years, the site has held both famous and infamous residents, serving time as a religious site, a home for royalty, and a center of justice as the county jail. After your 50-minute tour, you will be led into the exhibition wing where you can explore at your own leisure.

From London: Day Trip to Downton Abbey, Oxford and Bampton

4. From London: Day Trip to Downton Abbey, Oxford and Bampton

Visit Oxford and top 'Downton Abbey' filming locations on this guided day trip from London. Start the day with a walking tour of Oxford and its famous university buildings. Continue to the Cotswolds’ village of Bampton. Visit the magnificent Highclere Castle with entry tickets included. Board your bus in London and set out on your tour. Journey in a comfortable bus as you head towards your first stop for the day, the city of Oxford. Here, embark on a guided walking tour of the city, home to one of the world’s oldest universities and packed with architectural highlights. Next up is a visit to Bampton, the filming location and setting for the exterior village scenes in Downton Abbey. See the church, the house of Matthew Crawley's mother, and homes transformed into the post office and various pubs. Head to Highclere Castle, the country seat of the Earls of Carnarvon. The tour of the Castle’s public rooms includes the magnificent main hall, the library, sitting rooms, and other rooms featured in Downton Abbey. Take home a copy of Lady Carnarvon's book as a souvenir of your visit.

From London: Downton Abbey and Village Coach Tour

5. From London: Downton Abbey and Village Coach Tour

Step into the hit TV series Downton Abbey on this full-day bus tour from London. Visit filming locations from the show like the village of Bampton which was used for the village of Downton and Highclere Castle which was used as Downton Abbey.  Journey by comfortable air-conditioned coach towards the village of Bampton in Oxfordshire. Listen to an informative commentary about Downton Abbey and the locations you will visit along the way. Arrive in Bampton and take a guided walking tour of the village to see locations from the TV series, such as the post office and the house where Matthew Crawley lived before he moved to the abbey.  Continue to Highclere Castle for 3 hours of free time to explore the house and grounds of the setting for Downton Abbey at your own pace. Find your way around with ease using a helpful leaflet. Have plenty of time to purchase a delicious lunch at the castle or shop for some souvenirs at the gift shop.

From London: Oxford and Cotswolds Villages Day Trip

6. From London: Oxford and Cotswolds Villages Day Trip

Embark on a full-day guided trip to Oxford and Cotswolds from London. See the historic Oxford University, explore the Cotswolds villages, and admire the lush English countryside. Depart London and travel by a luxury Mercedes minibus and spend the morning exploring the beautiful university city of Oxford. Wander amongst the listed buildings and colleges, and climb one of the vantage points for breathtaking views of the spires. Marvel at the Ashmolean Museum's collection before making your way to the quaint Cotswolds villages to see traditional tiny cottages built from stone. Arrive at the village of Burford, the Gateway to the Cotswolds, and lose yourself in this bustling market town. Make the short journey to Bibury and stroll to the famous and fairytale-like Arlington Row. Admire these 14th-century cottages and gain an insight into the history from your guide. After, enjoy the scenic ride back to London.

From London: The Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace & Downtown Abbey

7. From London: The Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace & Downtown Abbey

Tick off some of southern England’s top attractions on a guided day trip by bus from London to Blenheim Palace and Cotswolds villages, including the Bampton filming location of the TV show Downtown Abbey. If you prefer exploring historic towns over attractions, enjoy the flexible tour option. Board your coach in London and head out of the city and towards your first stop at Blenheim Palace. Witness this masterpiece of English Baroque architecture which was also the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Visit the stunning State Rooms, brimming with priceless works of art and magnificent tapestries (if option selected), and admire the 754-hectare gardens, including an exquisite water garden. Next, head into the charming Cotswolds region for a stop at the authentic village of Bourton-on-the-Water. Explore this picturesque location, complete with many attractive bridges crossing the gently-flowing river at its center. Complete your experience with a trip to Bampton; the film setting for many of the famous landmarks featured in the popular Downton Abbey TV series. See the buildings that played the part of the home of Isobel Crawley, the Downton Cottage Hospital, the church, and also the location for two fictional local pubs, The Grantham Arms and The Dog & Duck.

From London: Windsor, Oxford & Stonehenge Full-Day Trip

8. From London: Windsor, Oxford & Stonehenge Full-Day Trip

Embark on a full-day guided tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford from London. Take the scenic route through the lush English countryside in a comfortable air-conditioned bus. The first stop on this tour is Windsor Castle. With its sweeping landscaped gardens and turreted Round Tower, it is easy to see why the castle is the Queen’s favorite weekend residence. Enjoy a fascinating through-the-keyhole peek at the lavish State Apartments, home to priceless artworks by Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci. You can also visit Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and St George’s Chapel - the final resting place of the monarchs of old, including Henry VIII. The tour then moves on to spectacular Stonehenge. You will never forget your first glimpse of the monolithic rock formation rising up against the skyline of the Salisbury Plain. Theories abound as to Stonehenge’s mysterious origin. Was it intended as a religious temple? An astronomical clock? A Bronze Age burial ground? Make up your own mind as you explore this unique landmark. Your final stop of the day is the charming university town of Oxford. Here you will enjoy a walking tour with free leisure time. Stroll the captivating college courtyards and cobbled lanes of this historic university town. The tour will finish at approximately 07:15 PM in London.

London: Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds, and Warwick Day Trip

9. London: Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds, and Warwick Day Trip

Make the most of your time in England with a day trip to the English countryside. Enjoy a walking tour of Oxford city and university including entry to the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, witness the scenery of the Cotswolds, enter Warwick Castle, and visit the birthplace of Shakespeare. 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, on this guided day trip by bus from London. Take in the famous 'dreaming spires' and see the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. Be captivated by the unspoiled narrow alleys and ancient squares of this naturally beautiful town. Oxford is famous for being home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world – countless bright young things have wandered the town’s cobbled streets over the years! During this guided walking tour you will see the stunning University Church of St Mary the Virgin and furtively discover unspoiled narrow alleyways, ancient squares, and towering spires. Entry to the 13th-century University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Soak in spectacular sights of the unique baroque design and architecture as you explore the center of the University of Oxford. This absolute gem is a must-visit on your trip to Oxford. 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. 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. 

Oxford Uni: Walk & Punt Tour w/ Optional Christ Church Entry

10. Oxford Uni: Walk & Punt Tour w/ Optional Christ Church Entry

See Oxford University through the eyes of Alumni and current students on this combo alumni-led campus walking tour and student-led punting trip. Get an authentic look at the colorful story of the oldest English-speaking university in the world.  Walking Tour Oxford is nothing without its students, and it’s the students who make this walking tour so special. Your guides will either be graduates or current students who combine their personal experiences of the city with their deep passion for its history, architecture, and stories. In just a 1.5-hour walk, follow your guide to discover pivotal moments of human history: from petty and outlandish rivalries to architectural masterpieces with confusing names. Inspiring, baffling, and downright outrageous: Oxford is a city full of stories waiting to be told. See the lamppost which inspired Narnia and the architecture that inspired His Dark Materials. Visit the meadows where Lewis Carroll first recounted the story of Alice in Wonderland. Marvel at some of the world’s greatest examples of Gothic and Baroque architecture. Hear all about what the students really get up to – from BOPS to secret societies to which all-night library permits outside snacks. Discover which college is the poshest and the oldest and which one has traditions designed only to mock the traditions of other colleges. As well as hearing it all from past and current students themselves, you’ll get to see inside colleges (entry included), with highlights including the Jesus College gardens. This is the real Oxford, experienced as a student, through busy streets and college grounds. Punting TourAfter your walking tour, enjoy a 30-minute student-led punting tour along the River Cherwell. As you set off south from the boathouse, you’ll be chauffeured past Oxford’s famous Botanic Gardens and Magdalen College School fields. Continue through Christ Church Meadows, where Lewis Carroll was teaching students in the mid-19-century when he wrote the famous Alice Through the Looking Glass and Alice in Wonderland. Pass St. Hilda’s College gardens and make your way back to the boathouse. You can ask questions throughout your trip and even have a free punting lesson upon request.

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What people are saying about Oxfordshire

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 89 reviews

Our guide Suzanne was friendly, knowledgeable, and able to explain Oxford's colourful history in a clear, balanced fashion, with a good dose of humour thrown in! As first time visitors to the city it was an excellent way to get oriented and to sample some of its many points of interest.

London is the best place for us now after seeing the Windsor Castle and St George’s Chapel. I was literally crying when we saw the tomb of Queen Elizabeth. Oxford is a very preppy city. Very nice. And 5 stars to Mel our tour guide. Who did not guide us after all.

The tour is fantastic and the tour guide is really professional with a lot of expertise. The only weakness is the coach that the seats are really narrow but is ok to seat.

Beautiful tour, lasts all day. Our guide, Samuel, was very personable and knowledgeable. Recommended if you want to see a 'different' part of Britain

Great organization, on time, very nice and helpful guide!