Anniversary Trip to Oxford- Visit to The Bodleian and More!


Halloween 2023 was our 3rd Wedding Anniversary- how time flies (When you spent much of your time in lockdown!) We have a tradition of going on a day trip for our Anniversary, as opposed to exchanging gifts. This year we decided to head to nearby Oxford and take in the city- with a planned trip to the world famous Bodleian Library.

How we travelled

Oxford is about an hours drive from home, and whilst we could have opted for the train that would involve a change, and ultimately it was more expensive. We therefore opted to drive, and to make use of the city’s Park and Ride system. For £5.00 we got all day parking, and two adult return tickets to the city centre. Much less stressful than trying to find parking in the city itself, and cheaper. The bus took about 30 minutes (during rush hour) but this depends on which park and ride location you use, as there are five dotted around the city depending on the direction you are driving from.

How to get there

  • Train from London Paddington, or London Marylebone
  • National Express Coach (Various set off locations)
  • Drive (M40, Junction 8)

The Bodleian

Taken directly from The Bodleian Site:

“The Bodleian Library is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and in Britain is second in size only to the British Library. Together, the Bodleian Libraries hold over 13 million printed items. First opened to scholars in 1602, it incorporates an earlier library built by the University in the 15th century to house books donated by Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester.”

The Bodleian is a working library used by students from The University of Oxford. You can only enter by booking a guided tour of either 30, 60 or 90 minutes. We opted for the 30 minute tour which includes The Divinity School and the Duke Humfrey’s Library. If you wish to see more- such as The Radcliffe Camera or Convocation House, you can book a longer tour.

Fact- The Library started with just 3 books. More were donated over time, but many were burnt during The Reformation. Today it houses over 13 million items (across separate storage locations), and has a copy of every book published in the British Isles.

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour! You have to wear an audio headset as your tour guide essentially whispers for the entire tour (due to it being a working library) the headset then adjusts the volume so you hear them at an appropriate level. Our tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable, and clearly passionate about the library- both its rich history, and it’s importance today.

The Divinity School

Photo from Warner Bros Tour (It was impossible to photograph it ourselves due to fellow tourists!)

The Divinity School is the oldest teaching room in the entire University- Divinity was the first subject area to be offered at Oxford (naturally) and the room was used for teaching, oral examinations and theological discussions. The Ceiling is especially beautiful, filled with intricate details and symbols (pertaining largely to those who funded its construction) It’s still in use today as part of graduation.

The Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean Museum is dedicated to Art and Archaeology and was founded in 1683. It has exhibits from Ancient Egypt, China, Greece, India and many more. It’s free to enter, no booking required.

We didn’t spend much time here- a flying visit, and an excuse to get out of the drizzle. The Ashmolean has more pots than I have ever seen in my life! As a museum of Archaeology this isn’t unexpected, but still. There were also a fair few classical busts and statues, and beautiful Chinese pottery. Archaeology isn’t a huge interest for me, but it’s worth a visit if that’s your jam (or you love pottery!)

What We Ate

After our tour finished at 1pm, we were ravenous! I had already checked out the nearby restaurants beforehand (Because I’m a huge planner nerd) and had settled on Franco Manca which serves delicious Sourdough Pizza. It was busy despite being a weekday, but we didn’t have to wait for a table. I ordered the Margherita with extra caramalised red onions, whilst my husband opted for the Halloumi pizza.

For two pizzas, water and a coke zero (and optional service charge) the total bill was around £30- very reasonable. If you like Pizza, I recommend it highly.

On the way back to the bus stop, we picked up a couple of Halloween themed doughnuts from Crosstown. A little pricey at £5-6 each, but a delicious treat! They also have Vegan doughnuts.

Other places in the City worth visiting

If you’ve got longer than a day, these are other places to see, and things to do.

More information on the Visit Oxford website.

Final Thoughts

We absolutely loved Oxford, and couldn’t believe we hadn’t made the short trip before now. We will definitely be returning in the near future to visit some of the other places listed above, and to explore the parks and green spaces as well.

Have you been to Oxford? Do you know any hidden gems worth visiting? Comment below!


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