Welcome to Visit Oxford Places
The Walkfo guide to things to do & explore in Oxford

Visit Oxford PlacesVisit Oxford places using Walkfo for free guided tours of the best Oxford places to visit. A unique way to experience Oxford’s places, Walkfo allows you to explore Oxford as you would a museum or art gallery with audio guides.

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Oxford is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. It is 56 miles (90 km) northwest of London, 64 miles (103 km) southeast of Birmingham and 61 miles (98 km) northeast of Bristol. The city is home to the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. When you visit Oxford, Walkfo brings Oxford places to life as you travel by foot, bike, bus or car with a mobile phone & headphones.


Oxford Places Overview: History, Culture & Facts about Oxford

Visit Oxford – Walkfo’s stats for the places to visit

With 370 audio plaques & Oxford places for you to explore in the Oxford area, Walkfo is the world’s largest heritage & history digital plaque provider. The AI continually learns & refines facts about the best Oxford places to visit from travel & tourism authorities (like Wikipedia), converting history into an interactive audio experience.

Oxford history


Oxford Medieval photo

Oxford was first settled by the Anglo-Saxons and was initially known as Oxnaford, meaning “ford of the oxen”, as referenced in Florence of Worcester’s Chronicon ex chronicis. A river crossing for oxen began around 900. In the 10th century, Oxford became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was raided by Danes. In 1002, many Danes were killed in Oxford during the St. Brice’s Day massacre ordered by Æthelred the Unready. The skeletons of more than thirty suspected victims were unearthed in 2008 during the course of building work at St John’s College. The ‘massacre’ was a contributing factor to King Sweyn I of Denmark’s invasion of England in 1003 and the sacking of Oxford by the Danes in 1004. Oxford was heavily damaged during the Norman Invasion of 1066. Following the conquest, the town was assigned to a governor, Robert D’Oyly, who ordered the construction of Oxford Castle to confirm Norman authority over the area. The castle has never been used for military purposes and its remains survive to this day. D’Oyly set up a monastic community in the castle consisting of a chapel and living quarters for monks (St George in the Castle). The community never grew large but it earned its place in history as one of Britain’s oldest places of formal education. It was there that in 1139 Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his History of the Kings of Britain, a compilation of Arthurian legends. Additionally, there is evidence of Jews living in the city as early as 1141, and during the 12th century the Jewish community is estimated to have numbered about 80–100. The city was besieged during The Anarchy in 1142. In 1191, a city charter stated in Latin, “Be it known to all those present and future that we, the citizens of Oxford of the Commune of the City and of the Merchant Guild have given, and by this, our present charter, confirm the donation of the island of Midney with all those things pertaining to it, to the Church of St. Mary at Oseney and to the canons serving God in that place. Since, every year, at Michaelmas the said canons render half a mark of silver for their tenure at the time when we have ordered it as witnesses the legal deed of our ancestors which they made concerning the gift of this same island; and besides, because we have undertaken on our own part and on behalf of our heirs to guarantee the aforesaid island to the same canons wheresoever and against all men; they themselves, by this guarantee, will pay to us and our heirs each year at Easter another half mark which we have demanded; and we and our heirs faithfully will guarantee the aforesaid tenement to them for the service of the aforesaid mark annually for all matters and all services. We have made this concession and confirmation in the Common council of the City and we have confirmed it with our common seal. These are those who have made this concession and confirmation. (There follows a list of witnesses, ending with the phrase, “… and all the Commune of the City of Oxford.”) Oxford’s prestige was enhanced by its charter granted by King Henry II, granting its citizens the same privileges and exemptions as those enjoyed by the capital of the kingdom; and various important religious houses were founded in or near the city. Oxford’s status as a liberty obtained from this period until the 19th century. A grandson of King John established Rewley Abbey for the Cistercian Order; and friars of various orders (Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, Augustinians and Trinitarians) all had houses of varying importance at Oxford. Parliaments were often held in the city during the 13th century. The Provisions of Oxford were instigated by a group of barons led by Simon de Montfort; these documents are often regarded as England’s first written constitution. Richard I (reigned 6 July 1189 – 6 April 1199) and King John (reigned 6 April 1199 – 19 October 1216) the sons of Henry II, were both born at Beaumont Palace in Oxford, on 8 September 1157 and 24 December 1166 respectively. A plaque in Beaumont Street commemorates these events. The University of Oxford is first mentioned in 12th-century records. Of the hundreds of aularian houses that sprang up across the city, only St Edmund Hall (c. 1225) remains. What put an end to the halls was the emergence of colleges. Oxford’s earliest colleges were University College (1249), Balliol (1263) and Merton (1264). These colleges were established at a time when Europeans were starting to translate the writings of Greek philosophers. These writings challenged European ideology, inspiring scientific discoveries and advancements in the arts, as society began to see itself in a new way. These colleges at Oxford were supported by the Church in the hope of reconciling Greek philosophy and Christian theology. The relationship between “town and gown” has often been uneasy – as many as 93 students and townspeople were killed in the St Scholastica Day Riot of 1355. The sweating sickness epidemic in 1517 was particularly devastating to Oxford and Cambridge where it killed half of both cities’ populations, including many students and dons. Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford is unique in combining a college chapel and a cathedral in one foundation. Originally the Priory of St Frideswide, the building was extended and incorporated into the structure of the Cardinal’s College shortly before its refounding as Christ Church in 1546, since when it has functioned as the cathedral of the Diocese of Oxford. The Oxford Martyrs were tried for heresy in 1555 and subsequently burnt at the stake, on what is now Broad Street, for their religious beliefs and teachings. The three martyrs were the bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, and the archbishop Thomas Cranmer. The Martyrs’ Memorial stands nearby, round the corner to the north on St Giles’.

Early modern

During the English Civil War, Oxford housed the court of Charles I in 1642, after the king was expelled from London. The town yielded to Parliamentarian forces under General Fairfax in the Siege of Oxford of 1646. The city suffered two serious fires in 1644 and 1671.

Late modern

In 1790, the Oxford Canal connected the city with Coventry. The Duke’s Cut was completed by the Duke of Marlborough in 1789 to link the new canal with the River Thames. In 1844, the Great Western Railway linked Oxford with London via Didcot and Reading. The controversy surrounding the Oxford Movement in the Church of England drew attention to the city as a focus of theological thought. Oxford Town Hall was built by Henry T. Hare in 1893 and opened by King Edward VII in 1897.

20th and 21st centuries

Oxford is one of the most diverse small cities in Britain. During the First World War the number of University members was significantly reduced as students, fellows and staff enlisted. In the Second World War, Oxford was largely ignored by the German air raids during the Blitz, primarily as Hitler had plans to make Oxford the new capital city. Oxford Brookes University, formerly the Oxford School of Art, then Oxford Polytechnic, was given its charter in 1991.

Oxford culture & places

Museums and galleries

Oxford is home to many museums, galleries, and collections, most of which are free of admission charges. The Ashmolean Museum is the world’s first university museum, and the oldest museum in the UK. The University Museum of Natural History holds the University’s zoological, entomological and geological specimens. Other museums and galleries in Oxford include Modern Art Oxford, the Museum of Oxford, and Science Oxford.


Art galleries in Oxford include the Ashmolean Museum, Christ Church Picture Gallery, and Modern Art Oxford. William Turner (aka “Turner of Oxford”, 1789–1862), was a watercolourist who painted landscapes in the Oxford area. The annual Oxfordshire Artweeks is well represented by artists in Oxford itself.


Holywell Music Room is said to be the oldest purpose-built music room in Europe, and hence Britain’s first concert hall. Joseph Haydn was awarded an honorary doctorate by Oxford University in 1791. The City of Oxford Silver Band was founded in 1887.

Literature and film

Oxford Literature and film photo

John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, attended Brasenose College. Well-known Oxford-based authors include: Brian Aldiss, Vera Brittain, Vera Brittain. Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was a student and Mathematical Lecturer of Christ Church.

Oxford economy & business

Car production

Oxford has been an important centre of motor manufacturing since Morris Motors was established in the city in 1910. The principal production site for Mini cars, owned by BMW since 2000, is in the Oxford suburb of Cowley.


Oxford University Press, a department of the University of Oxford, is based in the city. The city is also home to the UK operations of Wiley-Blackwell, Elsevier and several smaller publishing houses.

Science and technology

Oxford increasingly has a reputation for being a centre of digital innovation. Several startups including Passle, Brainomix, Labstep, and more, are based in Oxford.


Companies often draw their teaching staff from the pool of Oxford University students and graduates. The presence of the university has led to Oxford becoming a centre for the education industry.


Oxford is home to Carfax Tower and the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. The city centre has many shops, several theatres and an ice rink. In summer, punting on the Thames/Isis and the Cherwell is a common practice.


By 1874 there were nine breweries in Oxford and 13 brewers’ agents in Oxford shipping beer in from elsewhere. The Swan’s Nest Brewery, later the Swan Brewery, was established by the early 18th century in Paradise Street. Morrell’s Lion Brewery was founded in 1743 by Richard Tawney.


Taylor family of Loughborough had a bell-foundry in Oxford between 1786 and 1854. The Taylor family had the bell foundry in 1786-1854.

Oxford geography / climate


Oxford Physical photo

Oxford has a maritime temperate climate (Köppen: Cfb) Precipitation is uniformly distributed throughout the year and is provided mostly by weather systems that arrive from the Atlantic. The driest year on record was 1788, with 336.7 mm (13.26 in) of rainfall. The highest temperature ever recorded in Oxford is 36.5 °C (98 °F) on 25 July 2019. The greatest known snow depth was 61.0 cm (24.0 in) in February 1888.


Twenty-two percent of the population come from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME) groups. Twenty-six percent of population comes from BAME groups.

Why visit Oxford with Walkfo Travel Guide App?

Visit Oxford PlacesYou can visit Oxford places with Walkfo Oxford to hear history at Oxford’s places whilst walking around using the free digital tour app. Walkfo Oxford has 370 places to visit in our interactive Oxford map, with amazing history, culture & travel facts you can explore the same way you would at a museum or art gallery with information audio headset. With Walkfo, you can travel by foot, bike or bus throughout Oxford, being in the moment, without digital distraction or limits to a specific walking route. Our historic audio walks, National Trust interactive audio experiences, digital tour guides for English Heritage locations are available at Oxford places, with a AI tour guide to help you get the best from a visit to Oxford & the surrounding areas.

“Curated content for millions of locations across the UK, with 370 audio facts unique to Oxford places in an interactive Oxford map you can explore.”

Walkfo: Visit Oxford Places Map
370 tourist, history, culture & geography spots


  Oxford historic spots

  Oxford tourist destinations

  Oxford plaques

  Oxford geographic features

Walkfo Oxford tourism map key: places to see & visit like National Trust sites, Blue Plaques, English Heritage locations & top tourist destinations in Oxford


Best Oxford places to visit

Oxford has places to explore by foot, bike or bus. Below are a selection of the varied Oxford’s destinations you can visit with additional content available at the Walkfo Oxford’s information audio spots:

Oxford photo St Anthony of Padua, Oxford
The Church of St Anthony of Padua, Oxford is a yellow brick-built Catholic church . It is located in suburb of Headington, east Oxford, Oxfordshire, England .
Oxford photo Cotuit Hall
Cotuit Hall is part of the EF International Academy’s campus in Oxford, England . Until 2011 it was one of the halls of residence at Oxford Brookes University .
Oxford photo Parson’s Pleasure
Parson’s Pleasure in the University Parks at Oxford, England, was a secluded area for male-only nude bathing on the River Cherwell . It was located next to the path on the way to Mesopotamia at the south-east corner of the Parks . The facility closed in 1991 and the area now forms part of the parks .
Oxford photo Headington Hill Hall
Headington Hill Hall was built in 1824 and the Morrell family remained in residence for 114 years . It became the home to Pergamon Press and to disgraced tycoon Robert Maxwell . It currently houses Oxford Brookes School of Law .
Oxford photo Cheney Student Village
Cheney Student Village is one of the nine halls of residence at Oxford Brookes University . It houses 750 students in single study bedrooms with en suite shower rooms and self catered kitchens .
Oxford photo Holywell Manor, Oxford
Holywell Manor is a historic building in central Oxford, England, in the parish of Holywell . It currently houses some of Balliol College’s postgraduate students .
Oxford photo Dyson Perrins Laboratory
The Dyson Perrins Laboratory is in the science area of the University of Oxford . It was the main centre for research into organic chemistry from 1916 until 2003 . Parts of the building were used as teaching laboratories in which undergraduate students were trained in practical organic chemistry .
Oxford photo South Park, Oxford
South Park is a park on Headington Hill in east Oxford, England . It is the largest park within Oxford city limits . A good view of the city centre with its spires and towers of Oxford University can be obtained at the park’s highest point .
Oxford photo Clarendon Laboratory
The Clarendon Laboratory is part of the Department of Physics at Oxford University . It houses atomic and laser physics, condensed matter physics, and biophysics groups . The Oxford Centre for Quantum Computation is also housed in the laboratory .
Oxford photo Farmington Institute
The Farmington Institute is based at Harris Manchester College, a constituent college of the University of Oxford . The Institute’s aim is to support, encourage and improve Christian education in schools, colleges and universities .

Visit Oxford plaques

Oxford Plaques 119
Oxford has 119 physical plaques in tourist plaque schemes for you to explore via Walkfo Oxford plaques audio map when visiting. Plaques like National Heritage’s “Blue Plaques” provide visual geo-markers to highlight points-of-interest at the places where they happened – and Walkfo’s AI has researched additional, deeper content when you visit Oxford using the app. Experience the history of a location when Walkfo local tourist guide app triggers audio close to each Oxford plaque. Explore Plaques & History has a complete list of Hartlepool’s plaques & Hartlepool history plaque map.