10 Free Things to Do in Oxford

View of cathedral

Oxford is beautiful. Oxford is historic. Oxford is inspiring. But, it certainly isn’t cheap! From pricey punting to age-old pubs that charge enormous amounts for a beer, a visit to Oxford can end up costing a lot of money. Luckily, there’s still a wide range of activities you can do in Oxford for free. Here are our recommendations…

Free things to do in Oxford 

1) Get lost in the Ashmolean Museum

Exterior of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean Museum was founded all the way back in 1683 and offers a range of art and archeological exhibitions. Admission is totally free, though you may have to pay to enter some of the exhibits. 

2) Go for a swim at the ‘Kidney’s’

View of grassy bank at the Kidney's Oxford

Just a short bus ride outside of the city centre, The Kidneys is a tranquil green meadow with the river Thames running through. On a sunny day, you’ll find the banks covered in people going for a dip in the water. It’s the perfect way to cool off on a sunny day and doesn’t cost a thing! 

3) Have a picnic at Christ Church meadow

The meadow building Christchurch College Oxford Looking North West

Christ Church meadow is one of the few open green spaces in the city of Oxford. Bring a blanket and some snacks and soak up the atmosphere outside one of the university’s most prestigious buildings. 

4) Take a stroll through the covered market 

Flowers in Oxford's cover Market

You can’t visit Oxford without popping into the covered market. And, while the produce may cost money, the free samples certainly don’t! 

5) Window-shop on trendy Cowley Road

Shop front Cowley Road

Nowhere is a better example of multicultural Oxford than Cowley Road. Home to an ethnically diverse population as well as a number of independent businesses, Cowley Road is the perfect place to take in the city’s unique culture.

6) Take a selfie at the Radcliffe camera

View of Oxford's Radcliffe Camera

Yes, it might be obvious but you can’t leave Oxford without that iconic picture in front of the Radcliffe camera. 

7) Hang out under the Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs

Just as iconic as the Radcliffe Camera, the Bridge of Sighs is one of Oxford’s most famous pieces of architecture. The bridge links the old and new buildings of Hertford college and is a must-visit for anyone new to the city.

8) Visit one of the free colleges

Quadrangle St Johns College Oxford

A number of the lesser-known Oxford colleges are free for visitors. In fact, you can explore the ground of St John’s, Keble, All Souls and Worcester college without having to pay most afternoons. Check out the college websites for more information. 

9) Take a walk along the Thames

View of the river Thames in Oxford

Start from Christ Church meadow and head south towards the Kidneys. If you’re lucky you might even see one of the college rowing teams practising before a race!

10)  Explore Binsey village

Exterior of church in the village of Binsey Oxford

Just 1.5 miles outside of Oxford is the picturesque village of Binsey. The village is famed for its listed buildings and for being the home to St Margaret’s Well, which was the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s ‘Treacle Well’ in the classic book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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About Beth

Beth is a language enthusiast and former EFL teacher. After studying Modern Languages at university, her love of adventure led her to travel all over the world. Now settled in sunny Brighton, she loves writing blogs to encourage people to visit her native England.

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