5 interesting walking tours in Oxford

With its sweeping spires, lush waterways and relatively flat terrain Oxford is a perfect spot for indulging in walking. Thanks to its rich and varied history, due in no small part to its world-renowned university, a walk around Oxford itself offers up some intriguing options. Head on out of the city and you’ll discover some of the most beautiful countryside in England but here are five interesting walking tours in Oxford.

Image courtesy of Chris Yunker

1. The Oxford Literary Walking Tour 

Few cities have been home to so many great writers: Graham Greene, J.R.R Tolkien, C.S Lewis, Kingsley Amis, John Betjeman. The list is seemingly endless. This tour, run by Blackwell’s Bookshop will guide you through the city to see where some of the finest novelists worked, studied and based their books. A perfect easy stroll to inspire your inner scribe.

2. The Official University And City WalkImage courtesy of Tejvan Pettinger

There are records of teaching in Oxford since 1096, which makes Oxford University the oldest in the English-speaking world. Without doubt it’s what the city is most famous for, and Oxford’s continuing excellence makes it one of the most elite educational establishments in the world. This tour starts at the Oxford Visitor’s Centre and will take you through the city and university, detailing the stunning architecture and exploring the history and traditions of the university.

3. Gleaming Spires: Oxford To Abingdon 

This gentle walk clocks in at just over four miles and will take you from Oxford, down along the Thames, where you can visit the Norman church at Iffley, and into the historic village of Abingdon. With continuous human occupation for approximately 6,000 years, Abingdon has a strong claim to being Britain’s oldest settlement.

4. Inspector Morse Tour

Indulge your investigative side with this guided tour that traces the famous fictional detective and his partner, Lewis. When Colin Dexter’s Morse novels were adapted to the screen, it made sense to film as much as possible in Oxford. This tour will take you to some of the locations and reveal some interesting information about the books and shows. You’ll just have to imagine you’re cruising in his iconic Mark II Jaguar.

5. Walk The River

You can pick up maps and itineraries from the Oxford Visitor Information Centre, or grab some information from online, but be sure to take a self-guided walk along Oxford’s river and canal paths. The Thames and the Cherwell both run through Oxford and intersect just south of the city centre. Stroll along The Isis, site of the annual rowing regattas, laze under one of the many trees that shade the river bank and drop into a local pub for lunch and a refreshing drink.

If you’re visiting Oxford, for business or pleasure, you’ll want to experience some the city’s incredible beauty and history and walking is the perfect way to do it. So pull on some comfortable shoes and get going.

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  1. Hi. This is perhaps my third time in 6 months to ask you to please update this website page about Oxford walking tours, as it is missing info from independent walking tour operators (except for Blackwells). The visitor centre is supposed to be impartial- indeed city and county council have funded it almost £1 million since 2011. However, they ARE NOT EVEN REMOTELY IMPARTIAL as they almost exclusively only market and sell their own tours. These same tours are the ones mentioned on your website page here at

    I did send a brief paragraph last time about my walking and bicycle tours. Please can you respond, then hopefully I can send you that paragraph. Thanks.


    Alasdair de Voil, I Love Oxford Tours, 07955 482637

    • admin

      Posted February 27, 2014 at 11.10 am | Permalink

      Alasdair, we did reply to you back in November so not sure why you did not receive this? If you would like to send information to marketing@four-pillars.co.uk we can review this and if suitable will add to the post