The Sheldonian Theatre

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The Sheldonian Theatre: Our most recommended tours and activities

Oxford: Complete University Tour with optional Christ Church

1. Oxford: Complete University Tour with optional Christ Church

You will begin in central Oxford, with a brief and engaging introduction which will lay the foundation for the vast periods of history to be covered! Then the tour will enter a college renowned for having the most beautiful lawns in Oxford along with an iconic dispute with its neighbour - resulting in a supposed theft of the College tortoise (Oxford Annual Tortoise Race explanation included!). Then the group will visit the Sheldonian Theatre, where students experience the most iconic ceremony at Oxford University. You can hear from your student guide how the experience was for them. Next you will enter a historic museum -complete with a chalkboard used by Einstein in Oxford - and visit the Weston Library, a great example of a hybrid historic and modern interior. This tour will then cover sites that none of our other tours do! Including Rhodes House, the Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum. The latter is known to have one of the most exceptional collections in England, including Victorian shrunken heads. The tour stops for lunch at the Eagle and Child pub, a second home to J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis while they were members of the Inklings. After lunch, you can get a photo under the Bridge of Sighs before gazing up at the first round library in England, where your Oxford student guide will give you rare insights into the labyrinth of underground tunnels students. Not to be forgotten, All Souls College. With entrance exams as complex as they are bizarre, this site will highlight how exclusive a College can be and how influential its members are. Heading down to the southern part of Oxford, we visit a hidden door depicting the most famous characters in C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Before entering the largest College at Oxford, Home to Oscar Wilde and C. S. Lewis, and its own deer park. Explore the iconic grounds which have been home to Oxford’s most influential writers, complete with medieval cloisters. The tour will head over to Merton College, home of Tolkien, to discuss not only its literary importance, but it’s multi million pound kitchen, funded by the current Emperor of Japan! The tour will then go to Christ Church College, exploring the unique meadows - such a stunning expanse of land incredibly rare in a medieval city. Here you will learn about its close connection to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - along with its decision to be held to a different time zone than the rest of Oxford. Those who have selected the option to enter Christ Church will then have their pre arranged tickets given to them, and they will be free to explore the college at their own pace. The guide will be at hand before entering to offer further advice and guidance. Please note - the structure on the day may differ.

From London: Day Trip to Harry Potter Studios and Oxford

2. From London: Day Trip to Harry Potter Studios and Oxford

Depart London and journey towards Warner Bros. Studio to take "The Making of Harry Potter" tour. Located in former aircraft hangars in the residential district of Leavesden, the unique attraction recreates the magic of Harry Potter and all your favorite characters. Board the original "Hogwarts Express" train at a recreation of Platform 9¾, and explore the inside of the train carriage featured in the films. Take a selfie with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the station's brick wall. The guides will reveal the behind-the-scenes secrets and unveil the intricate prosthetics and make-up that transformed actors into creatures in the blockbuster films. See sets from the original movies, and get a peek inside the college of Hogwarts during the 4-hour studio tour. Journey through attractions such as The Great Hall, Gryffindor Common, Hagrid's Hut, the Weasleys' kitchen, and the Ministry of Magic. Take a tour of the backlot and a special effects tour, see a model of Hogwarts Castle, and much more. Depart the Studios and journey to the city of Oxford to explore the real college buildings, including the medieval Divinity School (admission included). Upon arrival in the university city founded in 1167, take a 1.5-hour guided tour of the historical center and admire some of the most famous college buildings, cloisters, and quadrangles. Delve down alleyways and into chapels, look inside dining halls and across cobblestone squares under the shadows of the legendary "dreaming spires." Enter the hallowed heartland of academia, including the Bodleian Library, Radcliff Camera, Sheldonian Theatre and other select colleges.

Oxford: Private Walking Tour with University Alumni Guide

3. Oxford: Private Walking Tour with University Alumni Guide

Whether you’re coming for a family holiday or a day trip with friends, Oxford is the perfect historic destination. If you know where to look, you’ll find Harry Potter filming locations; the alma maters of some of the world's most famous literary figures, politicians and philosophers; the pub in which the first copies of 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe' were handed out; and much, much more. But how do you make the most out of your time in this magical city? A private tour is a great way to get an intimate and tailored insight into Oxford and the beautiful university. You can completely tailor the experience: from meeting and starting points to any particular themes you wish to be covered (please email the local supplier in advance with any requests). Speak to your guide if you would like to visit any paid sites  this can be discussed and arranged for you. Depending on what you would like to see, there may be additional entrances fees but your guides can discuss all available options for you at the start of the tour. Your guides have a great insight into Oxford and are committed to providing interesting and enjoyable tours of this beautiful city, rather than tours which put people to sleep. Most of your guides have themselves studied at The University of Oxford and can provide you with details on how the institution really works. Cover the highlights of Oxford to ensure you see the best the city has to offer. A typical itinerary includes: • Balliol College • Trinity College • Sheldonian Theatre • The Divinity School • Bridge of Sighs • The Bodleian Library • The Radcliffe Camera • The University Church of St Mary The Virgin • Christ Church College • All Souls College • Oriel College • Merton College

Oxford: 3-Hour Private Tour with Student Guide

4. Oxford: 3-Hour Private Tour with Student Guide

Embark on an extended 3-hour tour of the best Oxford has to offer with a local student guide. Go behind closed doors with an energetic and knowledgeable student guide who will help you to peel back the complex layers and mystique of this world-famous institution. First, visit one of the oldest colleges at Oxford University for a peek inside this restricted world of academia. Stroll the gardens, unearth the peculiar Oxford traditions, and see from a real student, how this elite educational institution operates. Then, head over to the Bodleian Library - a colossal site that houses over 13 million books. Enter the first purpose-built lecture room at Oxford, where you can admire some of the most ornate medieval architecture in Europe. Listen as your guide explains the early rituals and tests students underwent, how the British Parliament was held in the building by King Charles I and later King Charles II. Discover the library’s role in the most defining ceremony at Oxford and see the locations where multiple scenes of the Harry Potter movies were filmed. Along with these focal points, also cover the most famous landmarks in Oxford city and at Oxford University. Your private tour can be tailored to the specific locations or subjects you wish to cover. Just contact the operator in advance if you have anything specific in mind and they will do their best to incorporate anything that’s available to the public on the day (additional entrance fees may be required for such requests).

Oxford: Guided Decolonial Walking Tour

5. Oxford: Guided Decolonial Walking Tour

The Decolonial Walking tour of Oxford focuses on the question of how the University of Oxford gained power first locally, then globally, becoming the recognizable name that we know today. The tour starts with the history of Oxford itself as a town contending with a growing university, a history marked by violence and power imbalance, the effects of which still shape the space of the modern city. Yet quickly, the question of who holds power over the city streets takes a new turn as the tour takes participants to the much-debated statue of Cecil Rhodes, throning above two kings of England on the façade of an Oriel College building facing the High Street. The discussion is about both the power of statues and the historical legacy of the individual, and invites views coming from over places, to better understand how heritage debates are more about the present than about the past. This approach continues throughout the tour, creating connections between the past and the present that go beyond simple simplistic narratives. All Souls college library tells us the story of how West European countries benefited from the institution of slavery through the example of Christopher Codrington, an early modern almunus and donor, who was himself a slaveholder in Barbados. It asks its audience to wonder about how these histories still shape our lives today, who is remembered or forgotten, how to meaningfully diversify and transform what we see in the public space? The tour continues across the old city centre, stopping at famous sites such as the Radcliffe Camera, the Bodleian Library, the Sheldonian Theatre or again Oriel College, asking the question of who is represented in the urban landscape and architecture, who is invisible, and what it meant in the past. Leading discussions on the access of women to education, the opening of the University to students coming from the British colonies and the discriminations they faced, or the question of class and unequal access to the University, the guide will lead the participants through complex but productive and respectful discussions of uncomfortable topics and their lingering effects in the present. Finally, the tour will end on Bonn Square for a discussion of war memorials, colonial wars, and imperial amnesia, to encourage participants to continue these discussions together once the tour is over. The Decolonial Tour is also an introduction to the ethos and mission of Uncomfortable Oxford, with a systematic questioning of modes of memorialization: who is commemorated, who is overlooked, what do statues, names, and memorials really mean, and how does the historical significance we ascribe to individuals and events change over time?

Oxford: Bike & Walking Tour w/ University Alumni Guide

6. Oxford: Bike & Walking Tour w/ University Alumni Guide

Immerse yourself in the culture of Oxford University and learn all about the extent of the renowned campus on this biking and walking tour. Explore the dramatic modern architecture of the Blavatnik Centre and the medieval facade of Magdalen College. The walking element of the tour takes you inside one of the oldest colleges of the university and the world-famous Bodleian Library, famous as a filming location in the Harry Potter films. Experience the scenic landscape of the Christ Church Meadows before visiting All Souls College and the Radcliffe Camera. Weave in and out of the old city with rides across local green spaces and explore the Port Meadow while learning about Lewis Carroll’s time at Oxford.

Oxford: 3 City Walking Tours Pass

7. Oxford: 3 City Walking Tours Pass

Join and leave the circuits as you please. Be escorted by local experts who are on hand to meet you throughout the day. Use the app to track your nearest guide and begin to discover countless visitor hotspots, including the University of Oxford, Radcliffe Camera, Carfax Tower, and Oxford Castle. Enjoy fascinating storytelling from your guide as you immerse yourself in Oxford’s quaint and charming streets. Best-known for housing one of the world’s most prestigious universities, the city also has exciting stories to tell surrounding history and literature, with plenty of visitor attractions to explore. Hop off your guided tour and self-guide whenever you wish. Benefit from multilingual audio commentary and recommended walking itineraries, pinpointing your favorite sights. Discover photo hotspots, all offline, day or night. When you're ready, hop back on a guided tour, and continue your sightseeing adventure.

Oxford Day Trip from London: City Tour, Colleges & Lunch

8. Oxford Day Trip from London: City Tour, Colleges & Lunch

Travel back in time on this Private Day Trip Tour into one of the world's most academic and intellectual cities. Get away from busy London and tour Oxford with a private local guide. Admire not only the city's medieval architectural beauty and its river and natural environment, but also its traditional English cuisine. Learn about the history of Oxford Castle, an ancient castle over 1,000 years old, famous for having once been a prison. Visit the only 12th-century tower still standing in the city. Take the opportunity to enter the History of Sciences Museum to see the famous blackboard that Einstein once used during a lecture at some Oxford University, and which still preserves its formulas. Relax and enjoy a delicious British lunch with a typical English beer in a traditional 14th-century tavern. Enjoy the best views of this university city by climbing to the top of the 13th-century tower of the University Church of St Mary. See the most prestigious colleges in the world, from Balliol College (the oldest in Oxford) to the most important college in the city: Christ Church College. Enter and breathe the university and intellectual air of Oxford. Get to know its beautiful Gothic building and discover how its students live. Enjoy Oxford in-depth, with its History, its Culture, Gastronomy, Colleges, and local’s lifestyle in this amazing Private Day Tour.

Other Sightseeing Options in The Sheldonian Theatre

Want to discover all there is to do in The Sheldonian Theatre? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about The Sheldonian Theatre

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 119 reviews

Fabulous day with Jamie!! Would highly recommend this tour to get the most out of your time in Oxford. We got lucky being the only people on the tour that day, so we had a private guide!! We covered loads of ground and Jamie was so knowledgeable about the history, people and traditions of the various colleges, some of which are hilariously funny. He answered all our questions, and we had lots. We opted afterwards to take the Christchurch tour. Unfortunately Jamie wasn’t permitted to join us for that part, but he gave us a talk about the college prior to entry and we had the audio guide once inside. This part adds about an hour to the tour.

An absolutely worthwhile trip: enough time in the studio, interesting information about Oxford (2nd part) and a competent and helpful guide. And the entire process was uncomplicated and quick. Gladly again at any time!

Only short coming of this trip (more about trade-off) You ONLY get 4 hrs at the Harry Potter Studio. IMO, you need 6 hrs for the full Tour experience.

It was a studio where you can get excited while imagining shooting.

It was perfect! Amber is the best guide in the world.