If you’ve just started studying at Oxford University or you’re thinking about applying, Know Your Oxford will help you to find your feet in the city.
Using a free app on your smartphone (or this website), you’ll get an insider’s view to student life in central Oxford – hearing first-hand from those who know what it’s like to be a student here, and helping you to settle in.
About the tour
Your guide for Know your Oxford is Charlotte Laycock, who is a current student at the University.
Charlotte opens the door to studying at Oxford: outlining the role of the colleges and departments; giving the inside view on Oxford’s academic dress and ceremonies; and pointing out the museums, libraries and other attractions.
The tour also includes practical advice on being a student, with information about the students’ union and University services; and where to find shops, supermarkets, and places to eat and drink.
Winding through the historic heart of Oxford, the tour passes by iconic buildings including the Radcliffe Camera and the Sheldonian Theatre, revealing snippets of the city’s long history as it goes.
Students and staff from across the University help to bring the tour to life, with presidents of the African and Caribbean Society and the Dramatic Society; a librarian at the Bodleian; and college porters all helping to tell the Oxford students’ story.
If you want to get to grips with life at the University, and really know your Oxford, this tour is a must.
Know Your Oxford was made possible thanks to the Oxford University Innovation Challenges. For further information, see the IT Services website.
How to take the tour
Use the Voicemap app
The best way to take the tour is to use the free Voicemap app.
To do this:
- Download the free VoiceMap on your Apple or Android phone
- Download the Know Your Oxford tour on the app on your phone
Once the tour has downloaded you can use it offline. Audio will play automatically at specific locations.
Using this website
If you can’t access the VoiceMap tour, or you are not in Oxford, you can still take the tour. Just click on the audio files below to hear the different parts in sections.
Take the tour online
The best way to take the tour is to use the free Voicemap app. However, if you can’t access the VoiceMap tour, or you are not in Oxford, you can still take the tour. Just click on the audio files below to hear the different parts in sections.
Part 1: Carfax Tower and the Covered Market
Starting in the very centre of Oxford, this part of the tour introduces your host Charlotte Laycock and looks at some of the main shopping areas in Oxford.
Part 2: Around Turl Street
Charlotte talks about the role of colleges, some of which line Turl Street. She also meets Emma Anderson, Manager of the Oxford Hub, which runs social action programmes for students at the University.
Part 3: St Michael's Street and New Inn Hall Street
Charlotte walks past the famous Oxford Union, and meets the porters in one of the colleges.
Part 4: George Street and Gloucester Green
Charlotte passes the History Faculty, and outlines the role of departments in Oxford. She also points out the bus and train station, and hears from traders at the Gloucester Green market.
Part 5: Worcester Street – Student services and Oxford SU
Joe Inwood, President of the University’s official students’ union, Oxford SU, gives an overview of its work; and Charlotte points out some of the University’s services for students such as welfare and student accommodation.
Part 6: Beaumont Street – the Oxford Playhouse and the Ashmolean
The Dramatic Society president Francesca Amewudah-Rivers talks about just one of Oxford’s hundreds of clubs and societies. Then Classics student Elizabeth Coyle welcomes you to the Ashmolean museum and Charlotte discusses Oxford’s museums and collections more generally.
Part 7: Broad Street – the Bodleian and the Sheldonian
Charlotte goes into one of Oxford’s many bookshops, before introducing the Bodleian Libraries and the Sheldonian Theatre, where students matriculate and graduate.
Part 8: Around the Radcliffe Camera
A look back in time at historic Oxford. Natasha Kennedy of the Bodleian Library gives an insight into libraries at the University, and Charlotte explores around the famous Radcliffe Camera.
Part 9: The High Street
Charlotte walks from the University Church out of town along Oxford’s grand High Street. She meets Esther Agbolade, President of the Oxford African and Caribbean society and looks at a plaque honouring Christian Cole, Oxford’s first black graduate in 1880. The plaque was installed in 2017 as the result of a collaboration between University College and Pamela Roberts, director of the project Black Oxford: Untold Stories.
Part 10: The Exam Schools and beyond
Charlotte goes into the Examination Schools where many students take their exams, and meets Liam Arbuthnot of the Student Information team. The tour comes to an end with Charlotte talking about the May Morning celebrations at Magdalen Bridge, and pointing out the sights of East Oxford and beyond.