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12 Things To Do On A Day Trip To Oxford From London! By Train or Bus!

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Oxford is a great city to spend the day in and due to the short journey time, it’s very possible to do a day trip to Oxford from London getting there by Bus or by Train.

There are so many things to do in Oxford in one day so in this list I have included things to see in Oxford like famous historical buildings that are must-visits in Oxford, especially if you are visiting for the first time!

But, I have also given you a few different and unique Oxford Day Trip things to do that you can’t miss and that will make you feel like a local in Oxford!

Day Trip To Oxford From London

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Day Trip to Oxford from London
Keep reading for fun things to do in Oxford on your Day Trip to Oxford from London!

How to get to Oxford from London.

London to Oxford by Train.

I took the train to Oxford which leaves London Paddington Station, it takes 1 hour and costs about £13.00 return when booking off-peak times. I always use The Train Line to book tickets and I like to book slightly in advance so the prices don’t suddenly go up closer to the date!

London to Oxford by Bus.

It’s possible to get a bus from London to Oxford too. It takes slightly longer at about 2 hours but it will more often than not be cheaper than the train with prices starting from £5.00 each way through The Train Line too.

I would definitely check both train and bus options though as the bus may actually be more expensive if you are looking to go within the next few days!

Oxford Day Tours From London.

If you’re short on time, you want to visit more than just Oxford in one day, or you want things organised for you, a day tour from London to Oxford is a good idea:

This tour combines Oxford and the Harry Potter Studio!

This tour combines Oxford with the nearby Cotswolds from London,

This tour visits Oxford and Cambridge in one day from London.

Oxford Day Trip Things To Do!

1. Visit Oxford Castle First

Oxford Castle is well located right next to Oxford Train Station, therefore if you want to visit, it’s a good idea to go when you get off the train to save you time because you only have one day in Oxford.

Oxford Castle is number one on my list of things to do in Oxford on a day trip to Oxford from London because if you start off here, you’ll get to witness some of Oxford’s oldest (and scariest) history!


2. Brunch at The Handle Bar Cafe & Kitchen

After getting to Oxford by bus or train if you’re like me you’ll be very hungry, especially if you did visit Oxford Castle first, and it will be the perfect time for brunch or lunch, and The Handle Bar Cafe is a great place to head to.

Oxford train station is right in the centre of the city which is another reason why it’s easy to do a day trip to Oxford from London!

The Handle Bar Cafe is a 10-minute walk into the centre. It’s very deceiving as the downstairs entry is a bike shop, however upstairs is a beautifully decorated, light, quaint but modern cafe with a bike theme.

Their menu is amazing for brunch and lunch options. I had the Vegan Avocado on Toast but I did get food envy over the pancakes.

This is a great way to start your oxford day trip and get planning your route around Oxford.

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Day Trip to Oxford from London, handle bar cafe
Brunch is the best way to start any day and especially your Day Trip to Oxford from London!

3. Snap the Colourful Houses on Holywell Street

For one of the unique things to do in Oxford on your day trip from London, head Holywell Street which has a beautiful row of pastel-coloured terrace buildings.

It’s also home to many more beautiful houses and what I loved perhaps more, is that this street was so quiet compared to the busy main streets on a Saturday afternoon. Definitely visit Holywell Street if you need some colour and calm!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Day Trip to Oxford from London, holywell street
Holywell Street should be on your list of Oxford Day Trip things to do

4. Visit the Famous Colleges and Universities

Oxford is known for its beautiful buildings and especially those of its colleges and universities!

Merton College is in the centre of Oxford which makes it easy to visit on a day trip to Oxford from London, it’s one of the oldest college’s in Oxford and is only £3.00 to enter!

Christ Church College is where you should head if you are a Harry Potter fan as it was used as a filming location!

Magdalen College is another beautiful building and college right in the centre of Oxford. It’s right near the river too which makes it a great place to go punting from. Keep reading for more information on that!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog day trip to oxford from London, oxford college
Pick at least 1 or 2 colleges in Oxford to visit on your Oxford Day Trip!

5. Check out a View of Oxford from the University Church of St Mary’s

I love visiting a viewpoint in a new city for a viewpoint in Oxford, going up the spire of the University Church of St Mary’s seems like the best way to see Oxford.

It’s right in the centre, opposite the very iconic and beautiful Radcliffe Camera (my next point) and best of all its pretty inexpensive at £4.00, which is great considering Oxford is a popular city for tourists!

6. Marvel at the Radcliffe Camera

Ok, this is a famous historic building in Oxford, not a hidden gem, but it has to be on my list of things to do in Oxford on a day trip, you can’t go on a day trip to Oxford from London and not see it!

I think the Radcliffe Camera is the most iconic building in Oxford and it’s not hard to see why as it’s really beautiful! It’s part of the University and was built in 1737–49 to house the Radcliffe Science Library.

It’s not possible to go inside but the outside makes up for it I think!

7. Explore the Historic Covered Markets

Oxford is all about the big beautiful buildings so I was surprised to come across the historic covered market full of indie shops and small alleys. It’s another nice break from the busy main streets and tourist attractions of Oxford.

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Day Trip to Oxford from London, covered market
The covered markets are a unique place to visit in Oxford!

For more ways to see Oxford, have a look at these walking tours, bus tours and boat tours which you can book online in advance so your day is planned out for you!


8. Drink on the Rooftop of The Varsity Club like a Local!

The Varsity Club is right next to the covered market so if you go to one, you should go to both!

It’s a buzzing bar and beautifully decorated but the real selling point, in my opinion, is the rooftop! Whether you’re in need of an alcoholic drink or not I would try to get up there for some kind of drink during your day trip to Oxford from London!

I went on a Saturday in Spring and the streets were busy however we got a table on the rooftop within 10 minutes at lunchtime and I would say it’s because The Varsity Club is more popular with locals rather than tourists so it’s perfect for your day in Oxford and one of the best things to do in Oxford on a day trip!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Day Trip to Oxford from London, the varsity club
Be a local and enjoy the views from The Varsity Club on your Day Trip to Oxford from London!

Once you get to Oxford, if you want a guide to show you around so you can learn more about the city, these would be really great tours to go on:


9. Afternoon Tea at Vaults and Garden Cafe

This is Oxford’s most unusual Cafe as it’s based inside the University’s Old Congregation House from 1320 amongst gravestones, and right opposite the Radcliffe Camera! Vaults and Garden Cafe offer’s breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea using local and fresh products.

We had the afternoon tea which was really yummy and they were able to accommodate me with vegan alternatives. You do have to pre-book the afternoon tea but you can just turn up for breakfast or lunch. If the sun is shining try to sit outside too!

If you’d rather have Afternoon Tea on a Sightseeing River Cruise, you can book that here!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog Day Trip to Oxford from London, afternoon tea
Oxford is a very English City and Afternoon Tea is very English so you must have Afternoon Tea on your Day Trip to Oxford from London!

10. See an Alternative side of Oxford on Cowley Road

Cowley Roadmile-longe long street which runs South-East from Oxford’s Magdalene Bridge.

It’s gone from being a very poor area of the city to a very bohemian area of Oxford thanks to its young, international influence, and many international bars and restaurants.

I didn’t get to visit when I was there but I would try to if I was you as it sounds very interesting and it’s home to a lot of history, but in different ways than the rest of the city. It seems like the perfect place for dinner before heading back home and to London.

11. Get Green in the Botanical Gardens

The University of Oxford Botanical Gardens is the oldest Botanical Garden in England and it’s located right in the city centre so if you’re over the architecture and need some greenery then head here.

It costs £4.50 to enter and there are free tours available too. All of the plants are named so you know what you’re looking at. I didn’t go but after reading this post on the gardens I wish I had so add this to your Oxford day trip things to do.

12. Punting, because you’re in Oxford!

I couldn’t leave punting off of the list of things to do in Oxford on a day trip could I!

We didn’t go punting on my day trip to Oxford from London and I wouldn’t think it’s much fun if you’re on your own but if you’re in a group and it’s not too much of a wait for the boats (we saw some big queues) then its worth going as it is very English and very Oxford!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog oxford things to do punting
If you have time, make sure punting is on your list of Oxford day trip things to do!

FAQ About Day Trips to Oxford from London

How do I spend a day in Oxford?

There are so many things to do in Oxford for one day including visiting Oxford castle, visiting famous collages and universities, going punting on the river, visiting the markets and shops in Oxford and enjoying the good cafes and restaurants.

What is the best way to get from London to Oxford?

The best way to get from London to Oxford is via train as there is a quick and easy train route and Oxford train station is in the centre of the city. There is also a bus that runs from London to Oxford, or you can drive.

How much does it cost to travel from London to Oxford?

The bus from London to Oxford starts at £5.00 each way and train tickets start at £13.00 off peak.

Is Oxford worth visiting?

Yes! Oxford is one of the most famous cities in the UK so whether you live in the UK or you are visiting from abroad it is worth visiting this beautiful and charming city to see the famous sights and things to do in Oxford.

Is Oxford worth visiting for one day?

Yes! Oxford is a vert walkable city therefore it is possible to see a lot of Oxford in just one day. If you arrive to Oxford by train the train station is in the centre so it is easy to walk from the train station around the rest of the city and back again in one day.

I hope you’ve found this list useful and it gives you some ideas on what to do in Oxford!

To book your train ticket to Oxford check out The Train Line here.


Tilly Jaye Horseman

Friday 15th of February 2019

Found your post on Pinterest when looking for things to do in Oxford - I'm going tomorrow. Not been to Oxford since 2011 so looking forward to it! Think I may head to the Handle Bar Cafe for breakfast - sounds like a great place to start. And would love to go up the church tower for the views! Fingers crossed the weather will be clear enough to make it worthwhile!


Saturday 16th of February 2019

Hello Tilly, so glad you found my post, thank you for letting me know! That sounds like the perfect way to start the day! They do a great brunch! And I hope the weather does clear for you!! Enjoy it :)

Margie Miklas

Sunday 9th of September 2018

Love your posts, Ellie. So glad I came across your blog I'm hoping to visit the UK and Oxford soon


Sunday 9th of September 2018

Ah thank you so much Margie. I’m so glad you came across my blog and I hope you get to the U.K. soon! :) If you have any other questions just let me know :)


Wednesday 20th of June 2018

I've never been to Oxford before but would love to visit. The coloured houses and stunning architecture are a big draw for me!