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Oxford is a city steeped in history and tradition, and this is a comprehensive guide to its fantastic museums. From child-friendly venues to the world-renowned University of Oxford (which has always been intertwined with the city's museums, being mutually supportive institutions), enjoy exploring the picturesque city of Oxford through the best of its world-class exhibitions.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover

9 Places

9 City Tips

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9 Places

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Speciality Museums

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Natural History Museums

Pitt Rivers Museum

Speciality Museums

History of Science Museum

History Museums, Science Museums

Bate Collection

Speciality Museums

Museum of Oxford

History Museums

Modern Art Oxford

Art Museums

The Story Museum

Speciality Museums

Oxford Castle & Prison

Points of Interest & Landmarks, History Museums, Historical & Heritage Tours, Historic Sites, Castles

Mercyfcb's City Tips

  • Explore Oxford's side streets to unearth numerous hidden gems.
  • The cheapest way to get from London to Oxford is by bus.
  • Oxford is a city best explored by bike or on foot.
  • Buses to London run throughout the night so if you're here on a day trip, you can enjoy your evening in Oxford, and return to London in the wee hours.
  • The bus and train stations are a mere ten-minute walk from the city centre.
  • The weather in Oxford is extremely varied and unpredictable. Check the weather forecast and be sure to pack accordingly.
  • Avoid driving in Oxford, as parking spaces in the centre are extremely hard to come by. If you are driving I would recommend using the park and ride system.
  • The museums in Oxford have extremely useful websites on the most part; be sure to check them before arrival for up to date information on temporary exhibitions, and opening hours.
  • Oxford is quite a small city so be sure to book accommodation in advance.
  • Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology is the world's first university museum. It houses an impressive array of artefacts; objects on display vary from ancient Egyptian mummies to Guy Fawke's lantern. The imposing building itself is also a work of great beauty, and the stunning exterior coupled with the vast number of exhibits inside make this museum a real must-see.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Pay the lovely rooftop cafe a visit.
    • Free to enter.
    • Check the informative website for a guide to special events at the museum.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 145 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Day out 14/12/2018
    • Just Superb! 13/12/2018
    • Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
    Address:
    Ashmolean Museum Beaumont Street
    Oxford OX1 2PH
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 278000
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Oxford University Museum of Natural History
    Natural History Museums
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    This museum was founded in 1860 and was of great significance in the ongoing debate surrounding the theory of evolution. Originally a hub for scientific research at the University of Oxford, the museum holds a vast amount of zoological and geological specimens and is a fascinating place to visit.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Kids will love this museum!
    • The dodo exhibit is particularly unique; the head and foot of a dodo are housed within the museum.
    • Free to enter.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 145 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Visited whilst in Oxford 11/12/2018
    • Wonderful day out with young children 10/12/2018
    • Oxford University Museum of Natural History
    Address:
    Museum of Natural History Parks Road
    Oxford OX1 3PW
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 272950
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Pitt Rivers Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Pitt Rivers Museum is David Attenborough's favorite museum and for good reason. It houses the fascinating anthropological and archaeological collections of the University of Oxford, and as a venue steeped in history, it also benefits from an extremely unique atmosphere. Most of the labels here are handwritten in fountain pen, and date back to the 1800s!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Admission is free!
    • Access the Pitt Rivers Museum through the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
    • The Pitt Rivers Museum is a great place to visit with children.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 145 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Very interesting place 11/12/2018
    • Fascinating place to visit 11/12/2018
    • Pitt Rivers Museum
    Address:
    Pitt Rivers Museum South Parks Road
    Oxford OX1 3PP
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 270927
    Hours:
    Mon
    12:00 - 16:30
    Tue - Sun
    10:00 - 16:30
    Other:
  • History of Science Museum
    History Museums, Science Museums
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    The Museum of the History of Science houses a unique collection of early surgical instruments, with objects on display from classical antiquity to the early 20th century, and everything in between. Located in the Old Ashmolean; the building is also the oldest surviving purpose built museum!

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Check the website for details on upcoming family-friendly events.
    • Check the online database for details on over 18,000 artefacts.
    • The information on penicillin is extremely interesting.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #29 of 145 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Oxford Showcase Day 18/11/2018
    • Interesting, but specialized 18/11/2018
    • History of Science Museum
    Address:
    Broad Street
    Oxford OX1 3AZ
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 277293
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    12:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Bate Collection
    Speciality Museums
    Mercyfcb Says:

    The Bate Collection features a spectacular collection of over 1000 musical instruments which originate from all over the world. The collection is housed within the Faculty of Music at Oxford University, and fittingly, there are even replicas that you can enjoy playing yourself!

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Admission to the Bate Collection is free.
    • Visit the website to listen to the sounds of the instruments online.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #49 of 145 things to do in Oxford
    • Excellent little museum 02/10/2018
    • A specialist place really, but worth popping in 08/02/2018
    • Bate Collection
    Address:
    Oxford University Faculty of Music
    St. Aldate's
    Oxford OX1 1DB
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 276139
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    14:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Museum of Oxford
    History Museums
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Visiting Oxford is an opportunity to expand your knowledge of both the city and the university. Despite the fact that Oxford is crammed full with world class museums, this is the only one that is dedicated to telling the story of Oxford. Head here for valuable insight concerning the city and its people: The exhibits span a vast time frame; from the prehistoric to the contemporary, and the types of object on display are equally as varied.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The Museum of Oxford is located in Oxford Town Hall.
    • Admission to the museum is free.
    • Check the website for information concerning the many events hosted by the Museum of Oxford.
    • Take the virtual (and extremely speedy) bike ride around the city to get to know present day Oxford.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #82 of 145 things to do in Oxford
    • Small, but worth popping in 08/02/2018
    • Virtual bike ride 05/02/2018
    • Museum of Oxford
    Address:
    Museum of Oxford St. Aldates
    Town Hall
    Oxford OX1 1BX
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 252334
    Other:
  • Modern Art Oxford
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Modern Art Oxford is a must-see for those interested in art and architecture, and modern art enthusiasts in particular will enjoy the change from the historical to the contemporary that occurs as soon as you enter the premises. With a variety of free galleries and rotating exhibitions to explore, there is bound to be something which captures your imagination here.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Visit the Cafe Bar to refuel with a slice of cake.
    • The shop sells quirky little gifts and mementos. You can also buy things from the online shop when you get home.
    • Check the current exhibitions out online before you visit.
    • Admission is free.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #60 of 145 things to do in Oxford
    • Very disappointed 16/09/2018
    • Underwhelming gallery, wouldn't visit again 15/09/2018
    • Modern Art Oxford
    Address:
    30 Pembroke Street
    Oxford OX1 1BP
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 722733
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 - 17:00
    Tue - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • The Story Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    The Story Museum is a fantastic place to take young children, where they can immerse themselves in storybooks, and can even enjoy dressing up as their favourite characters! The rooms are also decorated creatively, inspired by classic story books, and the overall interactive nature of this museum is sure to enthrall your child.

    Good for
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • Enjoy a snack at the cafe.
    • Check the website for a guide to upcoming events.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #37 of 145 things to do in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • EXCELLENT 15/09/2018
    • Excellent location and facilities 09/09/2018
    • The Story Museum
    Address:
    42 Pembroke Street
    Rochester House
    Oxford OX1 1BP
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 790050
    Hours:
    Tue - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Oxford Castle & Prison
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, History Museums, Historical & Heritage Tours, Historic Sites, Castles
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Oxford Castle Unlocked is great for children, who are sure to enjoy this guided tour led by costumed characters. Both compelling and informative, you'll learn all about the history of the 1000-year-old building as they lead you around the building, leaving you with a very different perspective on Oxford; one far removed from its academia.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Visit the website for prices and upcoming special events.
    • The fantastically preserved buildings are open to the public, however admission to the castle is by guided tour only.
    • There are over 100 steps to climb so some aspects of the tour may not be suitable for all. The historical buildings are also not very wheelchair friendly.
    • Take a camera to make the most of the view from the top of the tower.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 20 Museums in Oxford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A must do in Oxford 13/12/2018
    • Castle and prison tour 13/12/2018
    • Oxford Castle & Prison
    Address:
    46 Oxford Castle New Road
    Oxford Castle Quarter
    Oxford OX1 1AY
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 260666
    Price range:
    US$1,150 - US$1,150
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:30
    Other:
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