Stories of Oxford tours

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These guided tours are led by our dedicated volunteer team and will give you an introduction to the people and stories of Oxford. Our guides will take you on their personalised highlights tour around the Museum, lasting 30-45 minutes, with time for questions at the end.

From football to fairgrounds, marmalade to Morris Motors, patron saints to pubs, barges, bones, and all types of quirky customs — there’s something for everyone in the stories of Oxford and its people.

Meet in the Museum of Oxford’s Gift Shop, inside the Oxford Town Hall.

You can reserve your space via Eventbrite or the Museum’s Gift Shop. We operate a Pay What You Can model – you decide how much you would like to contribute. Any donation you give will mean we can keep collecting, researching, protecting and sharing the objects that connect you to over 1,000 years of life in our city.

Each tour has a capacity of 10 people. We recommend the tours for adults and children aged 12+.

If you wish to have a guided tour outside of the times offered, please contact the museum team via email or ring us on 01865 252334.

Topics to choose from:

A history of Oxford in 6 objects 

Always wanted to know about our city? Come and listen to our guide take you from Saxon times to the present day. Our guide will use six objects to explain our history, including the city origins, the city and the University, the English Civil War, literary Oxford, scientific Oxford and industrial Oxford.

An introduction to Oxford’s past

What is it that is unique about Oxford? The city is well known around the world. This tour identifies some of the features that have made the city so special. From the Saxon period when the city was already an important settlement, through the development of the university, the important role played by the city in the English Civil Wars, to more recent features such as the growth of the car industry under the leadership of William Morris, the Covered Market and the important literary figures linked to the city, the tour will give you an insight which should stimulate interest in finding out more. The Museum is an ideal starting point for you to discover Oxford’s amazing past.

Artisan Oxford: Arts, Crafts, and Creations

What connects James Bond’s favourite breakfast with the South Pole? How did a small Oxford boutique become the “Holy Grail” of fashion? Encompassing cutting-edge design, folk frivolities, and extremely rare architecture, (not the spire kind); Oxford Arts is unique. Explore our city’s rich creative heritage through a hand-picked selection of artisan objects.

Lifting the Label

Soviet spies in Oxford? Cape’s Christmas owl? Medieval identity theft? Every museum object tells a story. Like the tweets on your feed, only so much of that story can be told through museum labels. This tour will introduce you to objects whose stories are more than meets the eye. This tour will encourage you to ask questions about your favourite objects you didn’t know you had and to look beneath the label.

Peculiar to Oxford

Oxford has many quirky customs, people and places special (peculiar) to city life through the ages. From our patron saint to the man that transformed the city in 20th century, this gallery tour aims to highlight a few of those unique stories and customs.

Oxford Night Out

Since medieval times Oxford has been famous for its vibrant social and cultural scene, making it one of the best places for a night out in the UK. In this tour, we will explore four aspects of a night out in Oxford through the ages: pubs, music venues, cinema and theatre, and St. Giles Fair, highlighting topics of celebrity, disorder, and hygiene. I hope you can join me on what promises to be an exciting and, at times, surprising, tour.

The Oxford Story

This tour will explore the stories of the city, and the city of stories. This includes Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Oxford’s cinemas, and Oxford as a film location and place of inspiration for stories.

This Talented Town

A mixture of Oxford city specialities, this tour will highlight the achievements of some of the extraordinary people from this spectacular town.


The Museum is accessible for wheelchair users and baby carriers. There is step-free, level entry access to the Town Hall is via the entrance closest to Carfax (to the left of the main steps as you face the Town Hall). Accessible toilets are available in the Museum (close to Museum Makers) and in the Town Hall on the ground floor, before entering the Museum. Please contact the Museum team if you’d like to talk to a member of staff about your access requirements. Further access information can be found on our website:

Photo consent:

Please be aware that photographs may be taken at this event for use in marketing. If you (or a member of your group) would prefer not to be photographed, please let a member of staff know during the event.

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