Things to see in Oxford

Five must-see attractions in the beautiful, historic city of Oxford

College Cruisers is based in the university city of Oxford, rich in history and boasting spectacular architecture. Why not spend an extra day at the start or the end of your canal boat holiday enjoying the sights of Oxford? You can even use one of our canal boats as a base for a short break in Oxford itself… it’s a flexible, comfortable and cost-effective alternative to a hotel!

Here is our list of the five must-see Oxford sights…

The Dreaming Spires 

The most famous sight of all is Oxford’s spectacular skyline, perhaps best viewed from the tower of St Mary the Virgin in High Street. The 62m tower dates from the 13th century. It is well worth the climb of 124 steps to make it to the top to enjoy fine uninterrupted views in all directions across Oxford and the surrounding countryside. Don’t forget to take your camera!


The Oxford Colleges 

All our boats are named after famous Oxford colleges, and a tour of the colleges themselves is a magical experience, offering a window into the history of the world’s most famous university city and the life of those students lucky enough to study there, as well as an opportunity to visit the locations used for many famous films and TV series, from Inspector Morse to Harry Potter.

The best way to explore the colleges is to take an Official Guided Walking Tour of the University and city. These tours are allowed access to the grounds of many of the colleges which are inaccessible to the general public.


The University Museum of Natural History 

Founded in 1860 as the centre for scientific study at the University of Oxford, the Museum of Natural History now holds the University’s internationally significant collections of geological and zoological specimens. Housed in a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture, the Museum’s growing collections underpin a broad programme of natural environment research, teaching and public engagement. Among its most famous features are the Oxfordshire dinosaurs, the Dodo, and the swifts in the tower. Admission is free of charge.


The Ashmolean Museum 

One of the world’s leading museums, the Ashmolean has recently reopened following a major £61 million redevelopment. Founded in 1683, the Ashmolean is the most important museum of art and archaeology in the heart of Britain. Its collections span the civilisations of east and west, charting the aspirations of mankind from the Neolithic era to the present day. Among its treasures are the world’s largest group of Raphael drawings, the most important collection of pre-Dynastic Egyptian material in Europe, the only great Minoan collection in Britain, the greatest Anglo-Saxon collections beyond the British Museum, and the foremost collection of modern Chinese art in the Western world.


The Covered Market 

The Market was officially opened in 1774 and has a unique and wonderful atmosphere. Originally built to accommodate twenty butchers’ shops, the Covered Market is now home to myriad traders selling a wide variety of goods including fresh fruit and vegetables, breads and cakes, meats, cheeses, seafood, flowers, leather goods, shoes, watches and jewellery, clothing and gifts, as well as a wide choice of cafés and eateries.