Oxford Information Centre
15-16 Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3AS, England
Science & Nature Museum
Live Music Venue
A quick train ride from London (40 minutes by express train, a little over an hour by commuter train), Oxford is a vibrant university town full of students, scholars, historic buildings dating as far back as the 11th century, fantastic pubs, and fun things for families to do. There are 20,000 bike commuters in the city, lots of walking and cycling paths, a wonderful botanical garden (where Will and Lyra said their last goodbyes in Pullman's "Amber Spyglass"), and several of the university buildings used for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.
Toddlers & Pre-K: Visit the playground on Aristotle Lane, which is right next to an old-fashioned tow path where you can walk along the canal. Oxford has 55 playgrounds most of which have been recently remodeled, and this is one of the best. Highlights include a yellow rocking fish and purple hippo, a perpetual motion corkscrew, and a tot-sized merry-go-round.
School-Age Kids: The Ashmolean has an unusual and eclectic collection, including a jewel from Anglo-Saxon King Alfred from 1,000 years ago, stuffed dodos from before they were extinct, and 17th century Indian coins.
Pre-Teens & Teens: This vibrant university town attracts thousands of American college students a year and most of the college quadrangles can be visited for a nominal fee. If your child is thinking about higher education, make sure to visit some of the colleges.
- Visit the Botanical Gardens.You'll find J.R.R. Tolkien's favorite black pine, a 400-year-old yew, whimsical walkways, and ecosystem specific greenhouses including a desert (ask for the kids' map at the front desk).
- Go to the Magdalen deer park. Pronounced maudlin, this college at Oxford has lovely grounds, grotesque gargoyles, and a herd of more than 60 fallow deer, like none you've seen in the United States.
- Go punting. Or paddling or rowing at one of the many concessions on the banks of the Thames or the Cherwell.
- Check out The Pitt Rivers Museum. It is one of the world's most renouned museums of natural history where you can see skulls with holes in their heads, weapons, masks, body art from around the world, and more. This is where Lyra first spied the man who stole her alitheometer in "The Subtle Knife."
Just the Facts
Hours: Buses usually run every six to 12 minutes during the day, less frequently at night. This can vary, depending on traffic and congestion.
Recommended Time: Overnight