Traveling is always a huge expense and if you are visiting multiple places in a short space of time, your budget is quickly drained on journey costs and accommodation. The last thing you are going to want is to fork out for the trip of a lifetime only to have to be frugal when you finally reach your destination. Whilst Oxford is renowned for being quite a pricey city, there are still plenty of free things to do in Oxford. In order to help you make the most of your budget, we at Footprints Tours have come to your rescue. After a lot of research, we have finished compiling a list of the best free things to do in Oxford.
Visit the Museums
Oxford has 12+ museums, displaying everything from pre-Raphaelite art to dodos. Some of the exhibitions on offer in Oxford are unique. Very few visitors to Oxford know, for example, that they may have the opportunity to see the First Folio Complete Works of William Shakespeare (head to the Treasury in the Weston Library for this gem)! Best of all, the majority of museums in Oxford are free asking only for donations in order to keep them running. Highlights include the lantern of Guy Fawkes in the Ashmolean, Albert Einstein’s Chalkboard in the University Museum of this History of Science and the last ever dodo bird to be seen in the wild. This gem can be seen in the Natural History Museum.
Visiting the museums is certainly a must do but Oxford is certainly not the only city to have free Museums in it. The next items on this list however are far less obvious free things to do in Oxford…
Go to a College Evensong
Oxford has 38 constituent Colleges of which, the majority can be visited by members of the public. Most of them have an entrance fee, which is not ideal when you are traveling on a budget. Some of the more frequently visited Colleges, such as Christ Church, charge £8+ during the summer months. When you are tight on cash, this is certainly not ideal.
Having said this, there is a way to visit these Colleges without having to pay the entrance fee. At around 6pm each evening, some of these Colleges will host evensong in the College Chapel. This is the best way to get a glance at College life and the stunning interiors of the Colleges whilst listing to some world class choirs. The choir at New College, for example, have won two grammy awards!
Christ Church in particular host an evensong almost every evening. If you want to hear this choir, turn up to the Tom Tower entrance to Christ Church before 5:45pm. Once there, ask the porter about evensong. They will then direct you straight across the stunning grounds of Tom Quad and into the magnificent Cathedral encased by the walls of the College. As an added bonus, just before you enter the chapel, on the right hand side, you can see the Grand Stairwell, used in the filming of Harry Potter! Best of all, this incredible experience is free! If you feel bad about not paying the entrance fee of £8, don’t. Just bare in mind that the College has a financial endowment of £420,716,000!
Attend an Oxford University Seminar
The financial cost of attending Oxford University for one year is currently £9250 per annum. On top of this you have your College fees and other living expenses. However, there is a way for visitors to Oxford to experience and Oxford education without having to pay a single penny. Most evenings, the University opens its doors to free seminars offered by some of Oxford’s most prestigious academics. Previous open seminars have included such subjects as Political Sciences, Mathematics, Philosophy and Music. For a complete list of upcoming seminars, have a look at this list. What better experience of Oxford is there than a complimentary Oxford Education?!
Free Walking Tour
Inevitably we were going to plug ourselves a little bit in this article! There is no better way of acquainting oneself with a new city than taking a walking tour. Our free walking tour of Oxford allows you to gain your bearings of the city, whilst learning a lot about the history of the University, the town, student stories and of course… Harry Potter. This is the reason for us being the number one tour operator on TripAdvisor!
We work hard to make sure you get the best that Oxford has to offer. We therefore only using the most enthusiastic and passionate guides to provide our tours. Of course, we do run our free tour on voluntary tips. This is however, entirely up to your experiences of the tour itself. It is certainly the best way to see Oxford and ensure that your visit to the city of dreaming spires starts in the best possible way. We will include further top tips for your trip to Oxford alongside other free things to do in Oxford. Starting your visit to Oxford with one of our tours is truly a no brainer.
For more information on our Footprints free walking tour, click the link here.0