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How to Enjoy 24 hours in Oxford

Exploring the streets of Oxford will reveal over 800 years of history. It’s a city which exudes magic around every corner with a prestigious university dating back to the 11th century, punts on the river, gowned academics on bikes, Alice in Wonderland and now famed for Harry Potter.

Disclaimer: We were guests at the Mercure Oxford Eastgate hotel however, all views, opinions and photos are my own and remain a copyright of the Curious Pixie.

Places to see in Oxford

With so much to see and do believe it or not 24 hours in Oxford is completely possible. You can squeeze in hundreds of years of academic and literary history, tour museums and colleges where famous scientists, philosophers, authors and politicians have studied. And still have time to explore and enjoy all the bars and restaurants the city has to offer.

Here are a few places from a recent whirlwind trip to the City of of Spires I enjoyed which you must include if ever on a whistle stop tour of Oxford:

Where to Stay in Oxford?

Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel

Where to stay in Oxford? Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel

The historic Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel is a converted 17th century coaching inn and an old haunt of famous novelists J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S Lewis during their Oxford University years.

Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel lounge

Centrally located off Oxford High Street overlooking Magdalen Tower, it’s a great base for exploring the city.

Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel bedroom

With 63 rooms spread over three floors, guests have choice of classic or privilege rooms. A palette of dark wood and an injection of colour with lime green soft furnishings adds a cosy feel to the decor.

73 High St | Oxford | OX1 4BE | Website

Click for availability at the Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel

Fore more hotel ideas, inspiration and latest prices check Tripadvisor.

Where to Eat in Oxford?

Keepers Kitchen & Bar Oxford

Where to eat in Oxford? Keepers Kitchen & Bar Oxford

The honey inspired kitchen and bar calls itself the Champions of Urban Honey. Why? Well they produce their own homegrown honey from beehives which will soon be on site but currently being fostered by the British Honey Company. And of course the house honey features in signatures dishes and cocktails.

Keepers Kitchen & Bar Oxford | chips

Keepers Kitchen & Bar Oxford is the chains third restaurant (there is one in London and Bristol) and serves a diverse, worldly menu – think edamame beans, fattoush salad, burgers, pizzas, loaded paninis and spicy arrabbiata. Something for every taste bud!

Keepers Kitchen & Bar Oxford | infused spirits

They even have their own Keepr’s infused spirits: Cotswolds honey spiced rum, honey infused London dry gin, English raspberry and honey gin and English apple and honey vodka.

Keepers Kitchen & Bar Oxford | decor

Keepers Kitchen & Bar Oxford is a great place to dine and drink, morning, noon and night. With its cosy bee themed decor of honeycombed tiles, light fittings and quirky trinkets dotted around. Part of the Mercure Eastgate Oxford Hotel, you’re only a hop, skip and jump from your room if you choose you stay.

Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel | 73 High St | Oxford | OX1 4BE | Website

Where to Drink?

The Varsity Club

The Varsity Club views from roof terrace

Off the High Street, nestled in the entrance of the Covered Market is The Varsity Club. Head up the endless flights of stairs and you’ll be rewarded with Oxford’s original roof terrace.

The Roof is open all year round, with a dedicated bar serving draught beers and cider, Pimm’s and Prosecco. Even with the unpredictable British weather the heated seats and gas burners will keep you toasty.

All there is left to do is sit back, sip your drink and enjoy the unparalleled 360 degree views of the City of Spires.

9 High St | Oxford | OX1 4DB | Website

What to see in Oxford?

Christ Church College

Christchurch College Oxford

Harry Potter filming locations

In 24 hours you might only have the chance to see one college, if so make it the most largest and arguably the most famous, Christ Church! A combination of magnificient architecture, features in many films including Harry Potter’s Hogwarts not to mention an illustrious alumni such as Lewis Carroll, Albert Einstein and a host of British Prime Ministers.

On a self guided tour you can wander the grounds and spot the places which inspired Alice in Wonderland.

Inside Christchurch College Oxford
Inside Christchurch College Oxford

It will lead onto the Renaissance Great Hall, the college’s impressive dining room and that of Harry Potter fame.

Christchurch College Oxford Harry Potter staircase

Recognise the fan-vaulted staircase? It leads into the hall and appeared in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, when Professor McGonagall welcomes Harry to Hogwarts.

Christchurch College Oxford

It even has its own cathedral, albeit the world’s and founded in 1525 by Cardinal Wolsey.

Christ Church | St. Aldates | Oxford | OX1 1DP | Website

Radcliffe Camera

And a trip to Oxford isn’t complete without a visit to the most photographed landmark. The impressive circular, sandstone columned library is one of the reading rooms of the Bodleian.

Non members can only enter when on an extended tour of Bodleian library. Topped by Britain’s third largest dome, it’s so beautiful from the outside hopefully not going in will make for it.

Radcliffe Square | Oxford | OX1 3BG | Website

Bodleian Library

One of the oldest and biggest libraries in the UK, the Bodleian is another breathtaking ancient building.

You can admire the central 17th century quad for free, but many will want to visit the 15th century Divinity School and the marvel at the majestic lierne vaulting ceiling, in other words a gothic style rib architecture.

Beware as the Divinity School can be closed for events as on our visit. One to revisit on my return to Harry Potter’s Wizardry school.

Broad Street | Oxford | OX1 3BG | Website

Bridge of Sighs

Hertford Bridge is quite often called the Bridge of Sighs like the famous bridge in Venice, but looks more like the Rialto Bridge. A skyway connecting two halves of Hertford College, its distinctive design makes it city landmark worthy of tourist photography.

New College Lane | Oxford | OX1 3BL

Alice’s Shop

Oxford is the birthplace for Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll a mathematics lecturer at the University drew a lot of inspiration from the area.

A 150 years ago, the real Alice (Alice Liddell – Lewis Carroll’s muse) used to live across the road from the then sweet shop she regularly visited. It was written into the story and Alice’s Shop features in the original story written by Lewis Carroll. Today the shop is a treasure trove of Alice in Wonderland memorabilia and a step back into the Victorian days of Alice.

83 St Aldate’s | Oxford | OX1 1RA | Website

Oxford is small city, but with a lot to see and history to absorb. If you plan to spend more than 24 hours, it’s also a great place to base yourself to explore the county of Oxfordshire. You have the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, Bicester Shopping Village, Bletchley Park to name a few. Head to the Experience Oxfordshire for more information.

Have you been to Oxford? Do you have a favourite place? Let me know in the comment box below.

sima

Here are some experiences which you can easily book to make the most out of your time in Oxford.

Where would we be without our Lonely Planet Guide!

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Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links whereby I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. Thanks as always for your support! See my disclosure policy here.

18 Comments

  • Angie SilverSpoon 8th April 2019 at 8:21 am

    It looked like you ladies had so much fun on this trip!

    • the Curious Pixie 8th April 2019 at 2:17 pm

      We did! Funny how much you can cram into a short space of time.

  • Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi 8th April 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! What a city!!

    • the Curious Pixie 8th April 2019 at 2:17 pm

      A great little break Ems! Company was pretty decent too 😉

  • Bejal 8th April 2019 at 8:31 pm

    What a marvellous city oxford is! I’ve been a number of times and you’ve just introduced me to a couple of new places to eat and drink! Looks like you guys had a blast!

    • the Curious Pixie 13th April 2019 at 3:03 pm

      Now you have a couple more places to hunt down on your next trip.

  • Lara Oliveira 10th April 2019 at 12:24 pm

    I loooove Oxford this time of year! So much to see and do and extra beautiful in Spring. I look forward to try your recommendations on my next visit 🙂 x

    • the Curious Pixie 13th April 2019 at 3:03 pm

      It’s beautiful isn’t it. This time with a little babba in tow.

  • Binny Shah-Patel 11th April 2019 at 11:17 am

    Looked like such a fun trip!!Not been to Oxford so am going to bookmark this!!

    • the Curious Pixie 13th April 2019 at 3:03 pm

      Such a great city with incredible architecture and history and the plus – not too far!

  • kerry Lifeandloves 12th April 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Ohhh Sima this looks amazing, and perfect timing as its where Nik and I are hoping to head to next! Can we just give a nod to the raspberry and honey gin for a minute. Yum! Oxford looks like such a beautiful City, I really cant wait to get there. I will pin this for when we head there xx

    • the Curious Pixie 13th April 2019 at 2:54 pm

      Yay!n you guys will love it. Hopefully you will have longer than we did and be able to see a lot more. Can’t wait to follow. Love Oxford.

  • Brooklyn 13th April 2019 at 10:09 pm

    Wow Oxford looks gorgeous! I would love to visit. Will definitely pin this for when I finally get there!

  • Tanja / The red phone box trav 15th April 2019 at 6:19 pm

    beautiful photos. it’s been too long since my visit to Oxford

  • Keri | Ladies what travel 3rd May 2019 at 1:56 pm

    Isn’t Oxford great? Such a picturesque city and overflowing with history! Looks like you had a lovely time… #MustSeePlaces

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    I'm Sima, join me as I explore, experience and eat my way around the globe. Inspiring you to escape the everyday through my adventures... Read More

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