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Bodleian Library

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Bodleian Library: Our most recommended tours and activities

Oxford: University and City Walking Tour with Alumni Guide

1. Oxford: University and City Walking Tour with Alumni Guide

Step inside Oxford University and explore the grounds on a guided walking tour. Admire the iconic architecture and learn about university life from your student guide. Visit one of the university’s oldest colleges and the Bodleian Library. Learn about the history of the university colleges, including All Souls College, Trinity College, Oriel College, Hertford College, and Merton College, the Radcliffe Camera, and the University Church of St. Mary. Get an equally in-depth history of the town. Hear about ceremonies at Oxford, famous graduates, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and also how the most powerful Archbishop of Canterbury was burned at the stake in Oxford.

Oxford: University and City Walking Tour

2. Oxford: University and City Walking Tour

Join a university-educated guide, with years of experience and local knowledge of Oxford City and colleges. See the dreamy spires of one of the oldest universities in the world on a guided walking tour. Go inside some of the city’s most historic colleges, such as New College, founded in 1379 and more recently seen in the Harry Potter films and television productions of Inspector Morse and Lewis. Visit Exeter College, founded in 1314, and another favorite on most tours. Stop by Hertford College, with its romantic façade and Bridge of Sighs, instantly recognizable from Brideshead Revisited. See the University Library and learn about the collegiate system unique to Oxford and Cambridge. Discover famous alumni who studied and taught at the university, including the infamous Dr Spooner, whose portraits hang in New College Dining Hall and whose name is given to the playful linguistic phenomenon of spoonerisms.

Oxford: Christ Church Harry Potter Film Locations Tour

3. Oxford: Christ Church Harry Potter Film Locations Tour

Enjoy a 2-hour walking tour introducing the making of Harry Potter in Oxford and a 1-hour entry ticket and audio guided tour inside Christ Church College. See and hear about both Harry Potter and Lewis Carroll’s legendary characters, such as Alice and the Mad Hatter.  Book in advance to beat the queues at Christ Church, Oxford's most popular tourist attraction. Admire views onto Christ Church Meadows on the borders of the rivers Cherwell and Isis. See longhorn cattle graze and the dreamy spires of Merton College and Corpus Christi. See inside the Divinity School, another Harry Potter film site, at the Bodleian Library (access permitting) one of the oldest libraries in Europe. On any dates when Christ Church may be closed, instead visit New College, another great Hogwarts film site. Visit the Divinity School and see Christ Church's cloisters and staircase that were used as inspiration for the Great Hall.

Oxford: Harry Potter Tour with Divinity School Entry

4. Oxford: Harry Potter Tour with Divinity School Entry

Follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and other characters from the Harry Potter movies. J.K. Rowling applied to study at Oxford University and so she was familiar with Oxford. When they were producing the films, Rowling walked the producers around Oxford, pointing out various sights which they could use, such as the statue that looks like 'Nearly Headless Nick', and Turf Tavern Lane, which looks like Knockturn Alley. This tour showcases where the Harry Potter movies were filmed in Oxford. It includes entry to 1 film site only via the Divinity School, where they filmed the classroom, dance, and infirmary scenes. You will be passing the city's famous sights and colleges from the outside. You will also be provided with lots of insights about the actors, the producers and about JK Rowling's inspirations. As you walk around, you will take part in a Harry Potter quiz to test your knowledge of the books and films. The guide will also describe how student life in Oxford compares with Hogwarts.

Oxford: Official University and City Walking Tour

5. Oxford: Official University and City Walking Tour

Explore Oxford, the city of Dreaming Spires, on a walking tour with an expert guide from the city’s tourism board. Be shown the city’s most famous sights, uncover its hidden history, and enjoy all the astonishing stories about Oxford's key characters- real and fictional. Meet your guide at the grand and very old Broad Street (once the city's ditch) let them know where you come from and any special Oxford interests you may have and they will do their best to incorporate those.  Go to Martyrs' Memorial, the scene of terrible religious retributions in medieval times, and on to the oldest tower at St Michael of the Northgate built in Saxon times. Then, make your way to the very heart of the University and the inspiration behind Harry Potter's Hogwarts School. Pass by the pubs where the Inklings used to meet to discuss their writing as well as the pubs where Inspector Morse was filmed and the most popular student drinking holes in days of old. Discover the city that is home to several of Britain's most famous literary characters - both fictional and real - such as JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, Philip Pullman, and Colin Dexter as well as some of their most famous creations like Lyra and Will, and Inspector Morse. Admire Oxford's stupendous architecture, gargoyles and grotesques, so wonderfully preserved from every historical period and style, and take a stroll through the breathtaking Radcliffe Square. Cross the whimsical Bridge of Sighs as it's fondly known, just like the ones in Venice and Cambridge. See the Bodleian Libraries from the outside in the splendid Old Schools Quadrangle. Learn about the city’s famous museums including the Museum of the History of Science, containing Einstein's blackboard, The Pitt Rivers, once home to shrunken heads, and the fabulous Ashmolean, which was one of the very first ever museums in the world. If time allows, walk as far as to the beautiful Christ Church Meadows, where punting happens and cattle graze; a truly pastoral and quintessential English scene.

Oxford Uni: Walking Tour with Optional Christ Church Entry

6. Oxford Uni: Walking Tour with Optional Christ Church Entry

Walk through pivotal moments of in Oxford history in this tour of Oxford University. Follow your Alumni guide and hear stories about the campus and admire architectural masterpieces.  See the lamp-post which inspired the world of Narnia and the architecture which inspired the book His Dark Materials. Marvel at some of the world’s greatest examples of Gothic and Baroque architecture. Enter Bodleian Library, which is one of the oldest in Europe and go into Jesus College.  Discover Oxford from a graduate that has first-hand experience with going to and getting into this prestigious institution. Enjoy hearing about what students really get up to on this classic 90 minute tour.

London: Harry Potter Studio Tour and Oxford Day Trip

7. London: Harry Potter Studio Tour and Oxford Day Trip

Join a full-day bus trip from London which combines a trip to the Warner Bros Studio Tour 'The Making of Harry Potter' with a walking tour of Oxford University. Start your tour at the historic city of Oxford, home to England's oldest university. Enjoy a guided walking tour that takes you past famous college buildings, cloisters, quadrangles, and cobblestone squares. See the Bodleian Library, Radcliffe Camera, the Sheldonian Theatre, and selected colleges. Enjoy free time to explore all that Oxford has to offer at your own pace. Continue to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour and begin your magical experience at The Making of Harry Potter. Discover behind-the-scenes secrets and hear about the filmmaking techniques used to make the magic of the Harry Potter films. Visit the most recognizable set features from the films: the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, the Ministry of Magic, 4 Privet Drive, the Weasley kitchen, Hogwarts Express, and Diagon Alley. Board the original Hogwarts Express train and see a recreation of Platform 9-3/4. Explore the interior train carriage set that was featured during filming and take a selfie with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the brick wall.

Oxford: Harry Potter Walking Tour Including Christ Church

8. Oxford: Harry Potter Walking Tour Including Christ Church

Meet your Oxford University student guide in central Oxford and head for the Hogwarts' Infirmary, set in one of the halls of the famous Bodleian Library. Imagine the infirmary’s beds in place here, and admire the richly sculpted beasts and biblical carvings that appeared in many of the Harry Potter movies. Next, explore one or two of Oxford’s oldest colleges, delving into the rooms and cloisters that featured as Hogwarts’ gloomy interior. See other filming locations and hear trivia about the characters and movie productions. Test your knowledge of all things Harry Potter with our custom quiz. Along the way, hear about Oxford’s influence in famous children’s literature, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to The Hobbit. Finish with a tour of Christ Church (founded 1524) whose hall was an inspiration and not the actual Dining Hall at Hogwarts. This part of the tour will be a self-guided one with a multimedia guide.

Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds & Warwick Castle Day-Tour

9. Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds & Warwick Castle Day-Tour

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. Take in the famous 'dreaming spires' and see Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. You'll 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. After visiting Oxford, you will leave the university city and return to London. 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: City Bike Tour with Student Guide

10. Oxford: City Bike Tour with Student Guide

Discover Oxford’s historic town center, and the magical parks on the outskirts of town with this guided bike tour. Pedal past the city’s best attractions and cover more ground. Meet your guide in the city center to start your experience. Cycle through the city alongside a student guide, and learn about the history of Oxford. Marvel at the university buildings where Oscar Wilde, J. R. R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and many British politicians studied. Admire the architecture of Oxford colleges, and enter the famous Bodleian Library. Marvel at the scenery of Port Meadow, and visit sites you can’t reach on foot. Enjoy plenty of stops along the route, and finish back at the original meeting point.

Other Sightseeing Options in Bodleian Library

Want to discover all there is to do in Bodleian Library? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Bodleian Library

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 4,529 reviews

We thoroughly enjoyed our walking tour. Anastasia was one of the best guides we’ve ever tried, and getting the student perpective along with the history, building and cultural facts was perfect. A lot of fun stories and it enriched our visit to Oxford greatly. The group size was also small, but I’m not sure if this was just coincidence.

It was a pleasure to discover the story of the College from a student who graduated there. We also had the opportunity to see the library. We really appreciate our guide speech. Well informed and defenetly recommended Excellent experience!

It was a very good day in the company of Amber who showed us the beauty of Oxford, a very interesting city full of stories, as well as the Harry Potter studios!

Hannah was extremely well informed about Oxford and the places we visited. She was easy to understand and to listen to. Excellent tour guide.

Guide Daniel knows a lot, tells even more. It's like a captivating audio book. genius