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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 04 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Annabelle Thorpe

Just setting foot into this spectacular museum is an experience; built in 1860, it has a stunning Gothic interior, with 126 columns supporting the striking glass and iron roof.  The space houses over seven million exhibits from the natural world, alongside an archive of over half a million manuscripts.

The Main Court is the place to start exploring, famous for its ‘skeleton parade’, with over a dozen animals exposed down to their bones.  Other highlights include the world’s most complete dodo skeleton, the trilobyte wall and a spectacular collection of gemstones.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 6+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The museum is located in the city centre, a 20-minute walk from Oxford Station. The main car park for the city is at the Westgate.

Entry is free, and you don’t need to book tickets in advance. The collection is so vast that it’s definitely worth downloading the visitor guide from the website, so that you can plan what to see. The website also has a handy section on the main highlights – worth a look before you go.

The Eat the Future Café does decent lunches, and on sunny days, coffee and cake from the Horsebox Coffee Co. on the lawn is an al fresco treat.

When to do it

The museum is open all year round, seven days a week. It’s predictably busier in school holidays and weekends.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Old Parsonage

Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.3 miles]

History and style combine at this elegant hotel and restaurant. Art-filled and centrally located, it’s the perfect romantic escape.

Official star rating:

Tower House

Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.5 miles]

A charming B&B in a 16th-century townhouse, right in the heart of the city centre and close to all the main sights.

Official star rating:

Old Bank Hotel

Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.7 miles]

A 5-star boutique heritage gem in a converted bank, with luxurious rooms and an excellent central location.

Official star rating:

Cotswold Lodge Hotel

Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.8 miles]

A classically-styled hotel in an elegant Victorian mansion, with an award-winning restaurant.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)

One of Britain’s most beautiful and historic cities, graced by heartstopping architecture and home to the world’s second-oldest university.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Ashmolean Museum

Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.5 miles]

A world-class collection of art and architecture in the heart of Oxford that ranges across 3,000 years of history, with Egyptian rooms to rival those of the British Museum.

Best for ages: 6+ | Free

Oxford University Colleges

Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.6 miles]

Oxford’s extraordinarily beautiful colleges have housed everyone from prime ministers to presidents, and pair centuries of British history with spectacular architecture.

Best for ages: 13+ | £3

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Punting on the River Cherwell

Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)[1.2 miles]

Glide along the Cherwell in a traditional punt, and take in the spectacular architecture of Oxford’s iconic colleges from the tranquillity of the river.

Best for ages: 6+ | £16 | 1+ hours

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Blenheim Palace

Woodstock, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)[11.7 miles]

One of Britain’s greatest country houses, and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, Blenheim boasts 300 years of history in a spectacular setting.

Best for ages: 13+ | £32

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Inside the Pitt Rivers Museum. The room is full of glass display cabinets full of objects. A large totem pole rises from the centre of the room and there are several floors visible.

Pitt Rivers Museum

Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0 miles]

An overwhelming array of archaeological and ethnographic finds from all over the world, with over half a million objects alongside early photographic and sound archives.

Best for ages: 8+ | Free

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A small room with pale wooden floors, white walls, and two golden chandeliers. Rows of red cushioned tiered seating rise up from a central space. There is a dark wooden organ with golden pipes against the back wall.

Coffee Concerts at Holywell Music Room

Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.4 miles]

Held every Sunday, these classical concerts are the chance to see world-class performers in the Holywell Music Room, the oldest, purpose-built music room in Europe.

Best for ages: 18+ | £15 | 1+ hours

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The outside of the Museum of the History of Science building. A cylindrical pale yellow sandstone building with arched windows and a wooden door.

Museum of the History of Science

Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.5 miles]

An extraordinary collection of scientific instruments and artefacts, dating from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, with highlights including Einstein’s blackboard and a Roman disc sundial. 

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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The bridge runs between two buildings above a cobblestone street underneath which people are walking. The bridge is arched sandstone with rectangular glass windows.

Bridge of Sighs

Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.5 miles]

One of the city’s iconic Insta shots, this raised bridge, linking two sections of Hertford College is notable for its similarity to the Bridge of Sighs in Venice.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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