Image showing visitors enjoying Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Oxford University Museum of Natural History is very popular with visitors: Image: Shutterstock

Visiting museums, libraries & places of interest

Oxford University’s museums, libraries and collections are of national and international importance. They provide an outstanding resource for both the University and the public, as well as being fantastic places to visit.

Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean is the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology. Founded in 1683, it is Britain’s first public museum and home to half a million years of human history and creativity, from ancient Egyptian mummies to modern art, and much more.

  • Location: Beaumont Street
  • Tel: 01865 278000
  • Open: The Museum is open every day, 10:00–17:00
  • Charge: Admission is free. Special exhibitions are ticketed and a booking fee is charged for online bookings.
  • Note: Please see the website for information on visiting as a group.
  • Website: Ashmolean Museum

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Oxford University Museum of Natural History holds an internationally-significant collection of natural history specimens and archives in a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture. It is home to a lively programme of research, teaching and events focused on the sciences of the natural environment.

History of Science Museum

Visit the History of Science Museum in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built public museum building. Discover stories of science to spark your curiosity, from Einstein's blackboard and the first life-saving Penicillin cultures to the world's finest collection of ingenious astrolabes.

Pitt Rivers Museum

The Pitt Rivers Museum holds one of the world’s finest collections of anthropology and archaeology, with objects from every continent and from throughout human history.

  • Location: Parks Road (enter via the Oxford University Museum of Natural History)
  • Tel: 01865 613000
  • Open: Mon 12:00-17:00, Tues-Sun 10:00-17:00.
  • Charge: Admission is free
  • Note: Groups must book in advance
  • Website: Pitt Rivers Museum

Enjoy a virtual tour of the Pitt Rivers Museum here

Further introductory talks are available on YouTube: You might think you know the Pitt Rivers... and A Quiet Revolution

Bate Collection of Musical Instruments

Exhibits in the Bate CollectionExhibits in the Bate Collection
Credit: Bate Collection

The Bate Collection of Musical Instruments celebrates the history and development of the musical instruments of the Western Classical tradition, from the medieval period to present day.

  • Location: Faculty of Music, St Aldate's
  • Tel: 01865 286261
  • Open: Monday to Friday, 14:00-17:00
  • Charge: Admission is free
  • Website: Bate Collection

Bodleian Library & Weston Library

Exterior of the Old Bodleian LibraryView of the Bodleian Libraries

The world-famous Bodleian Library is a must-see cultural destination in the heart of Oxford. It was founded by Sir Thomas Bodley and officially opened in 1602. Since then the Bodleian libraries has now grown to be the largest academic library system in the UK.

The Bodleian Library and the Weston Library across the road are open to visitors daily. The two sites together offer tours (booking recommended), free exhibitions, events, a café, shops and more.

Admission to the Divinity School is free to alumni, Bodleian cardholders and Friends of the Bodleian. Up to four guests will also be admitted free.

Christ Church Picture Gallery

Merton Street entrance to the Picture GalleryMerton Street entrance to the Picture Gallery

Credit: Rob Judges.

Christ Church Picture Gallery houses and displays an important collection of Old Master paintings, drawings and prints in a purpose-built gallery of considerable architectural interest.

  • Location: Direct access to the Picture Gallery is via Canterbury Gate off Oriel Square.
  • Tel: 01865 276172
  • Open: 11:00-17:00 Mon, Thurs, Fri and Sat; 14:00-17:00 on Sun. It is closed on Tues and Weds. 
  • Charge: Adult £6; Concession £3; Free for members of the University and National Art Pass holders. The entrance charge to the Picture Gallery is independent of the admission charge to the rest of the college. Visitors who have bought a ticket to visit Christ Church are entitled to the reduced £3 Picture Gallery entrance charge. 
  • Note: Tickets can be purchased directly at the entrance to the Picture Gallery or can be booked online at: Visiting the Gallery at Christ Church. All group visits must be booked directly with the Picture Gallery in advance. Group visits are restricted to a maximum of 12 visitors.
  • WebsiteChrist Church Picture Gallery

Christ Church Meadow

View of Christ Church and Meadows from pathView of Christ Church and Meadows from path

Credit: Rob Judges.

Christ Church Meadow is a large area of tranquil pasture in the heart of the busy city of Oxford, owned and maintained by Christ Church and bordering the rivers Cherwell and Isis. A herd of beautiful Longhorn cattle are maintained by Christ Church on the Meadow and spend most of the year there.

  • Location: The Meadow can be entered through the Memorial Garden entrance on St Aldate's, through a gate between Merton College and Corpus Christi on Merton Lane, or through a gate at the eastern end of the Meadow next to the Botanic Gardens. 
  • Open: Open to the public until dusk each day, and provides opportunities for picnics and river walks.
  • Charge: Free
  • Note: The Christ Church Shop, located in the Visitor Centre in Christ Church Meadow, is open for gifts and souvenirs.
  • Website: Christ Church Meadow

Oxford Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in Britain, and forms the most compact yet diverse collection of plants in the world.

  • Location: Rose Lane
  • Tel: 01865 610306
  • Open: Daily, seasonal hours, last admission one hour before closing time.
  • Charge: Adult day ticket from £6.30, concession day ticket from £5. Annual season ticket £25, (concessions £20.50). Free to children in full-time education (when accompanied by a paying adult), registered disabled visitors and their carers, University and OUP employees, Oxford and Oxford Brookes students.
  • Website: Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum

Harcourt Arboretum

Autumnal acers, Harcourt ArboretumAutumnal acers, Harcourt Arboretum

Credit: Botanic Garden.

The Harcourt Arboretum is home to many beautiful trees from all around the World, one of the best bluebell woods in this county and newly restored meadowland. The site comprises 130 acres containing the best collection of trees in Oxfordshire with some of the oldest redwoods in the UK.

  • Location: Nuneham Courtenay
  • Tel: 01865 610300
  • Open: Daily, seasonal hours, last admission one hour before closing time.
  • Charge: Adult day ticket from £6.30, concession day ticket from £5. Annual season ticket £25, (concessions £20.50). Free for under 16s (when accompanied by a paying adult), registered disabled visitors and their carers, Oxford University and Oxford Brookes staff and students with valid ID.
  • WebsiteOxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum

University Parks

University Parks in AutumnUniversity Parks in Autumn

Credit: Greg Smolonski.

University Parks consists of around 70 acres (30 hectares) of beautiful parkland, bordering on the River Cherwell, including sports areas, a duck pond and a large collection of plants and trees in landscaped surroundings.

  • Location: Parks Road
  • Tel: 01865 282040
  • Open: 07:45 (closing times vary according to season)
  • Charge: Admission is free 
  • Website: University Parks

Sheldonian Theatre

The Sheldonian TheatreThe Sheldonian Theatre

Credit: Whitaker Studio.

Designed by Christopher Wren, the Sheldonian Theatre is the principal meeting and ceremonial venue of the University. It offers excellent panoramic views over Oxford.

University Church of St Mary the Virgin

University Church from Radcliffe SquareUniversity Church from Radcliffe Square
Credit: OU

The University's own church has a long and varied history and offers excellent panoramic views of the city from its tower. 

  • Location: High Street/Radcliffe Square
  • Tel: 01865 279110
  • Open: Mon-Sat 09:30-17:00 (18:00 Jul-Aug), Sun 12:00-17:00 (18:00 July-Aug)
  • Charge: No charge for entry to the Church. A charge applies for entry to the tower.
  • Note: Principal Sunday Services are a Holy Eucharist at 08:30 and a Choral Eucharist at 10:30, with an afternoon service at 15:30.
  • Website: University Church of St Mary the Virgin
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