Oxford Pubs

Hidden gem pubs, overflowing with academics. The above pub claims to have the highest IQ per square metre.

TravelCurious Tip

Head to the Turf Tavern to see where Bill Clinton famously smoked pot but “didn’t inhale.”

As you would expect from a student town, Oxford has plenty of pubs. But it is unique in that its history is so full of zany characters and creative minds. As a result, many of its institutions - pubs included - have more personality than most. Every place serves a story with your pint.

Just off the High Street, the Bear Inn is a toasty little enclave. The current building dates back to the 1700s, but there has been an inn on the site since 1242. It’s a tiny place, about as cosy as they come with its open fire and wood-panelling. One decorative theme predominates: there are some 4,500 neck-ties covering all the walls and the ceiling. And if you’re wondering about the name: legend has it that an early landlord had a pet bear. Of course.

The Eagle & Child has one big accolade to its name: JRR Tolkien allegedly wrote bits of The Hobbit here. Or he at least mulled it over with a pint. The pub was used for the weekly meeting of a literary discussion group that involved Tolkien and CS Lewis, among others. There is a story that a young Tolkien once got himself so drunk here that he was hounded by hallucinations of goblins trying to steal his wedding ring… Inspiration comes from unlikely places, sometimes.

The Kings Arms, or simply the KA, is one of Oxford’s most popular pubs. It likes to claim that it has the highest IQ per square foot of any pub in the world — though more than anything that’s to do with just how packed it can get. For that reason it’s best for a mid-afternoon drink. And be sure to try the food.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in London
Home to the world's most famous university, dreaming spires and a million bicycles.
Christchurch College
One the oldest and most famous university colleges has over 800 years of history.
Harry Potter Great Hall
This magnificent interior featured in the Harry Potter films as Hogwarts' Great Hall.
Radcliffe Camera
Known as the 'beating heart' of Oxford, this library has stood since the early 18th century.
Bodleian Library
One of the oldest libraries in Europe and mostly underground, it has served the university for over 400 years.
Covered Market
A treasure trove of market stalls, souvenir stalls and kooky eateries - perfect for a quick bite.

Related Tours

Gown and Town: Oxford the City of Dreaming Spires (including travel from London)
  • Meet your guide at iconic Paddington Station, and journey together to Oxford - the city of dreaming spires! 
  • Experience the enchanting myriad of Oxford’s spellbinding streets and uncover the city’s fascinating history.
  • Visit one of the world’s best-known universities and explore the array of colleges, courtyards and the famous ‘Bridge of Sighs’.
  • Soak up the quintessential English atmosphere of Oxford.
From authentically magical locations used in the Harry Potter films, to one of the most-famous universities in the world, Oxford awaits – just a short train ride away from London. Deserving of a full day trip and not just a flying visit, Oxford is full of historical corners waiting to be discovered, as well as picturesque streets perfect for meandering and escaping the hustle and bustle of London. 

One of the best-known universities in the world and also one of the most beautiful, Oxford is a charming place to spend a tranquil day. Our guide will accompany you on the hour long train journey through the English countryside and take you on a fully guided stroll through the city streets through the most beautiful colleges, hidden courtyards and quadrangles, libraries, and Oxford’s ‘Bridge of Sighs’ – a distinctive landmark and highly-coveted photo opp. 
Oxford Tour: With a Former Oxford Union President
  • Take the very unique opportunity to enter The Oxford Union - the historic epicentre of debate at the University
  • Ronald Reagan, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill to Mother Teresa have all spoken here. 
  • Explore the debating chamber, the bar, the library and grounds - usually limited to members only. 
  • Venture through the enchanting, cobbled streets of Oxford visiting its most historic sites 
  • See the iconic Bridge of Sighs, Covered Market, The Bodleian Library and an array of colleges. 
  • Hear of strange traditions, its medieval beginnings and contributions to academia and humanity.
  • Take centre stage with your guide. No other groups or noise to drown out the experience.

Begin your day at London Paddington Station. Escape smoky London and zip across the rolling English countryside to sleepy Oxford. Steeped in history, outstandingly beautiful and famed for its ancient University (founded in 1096).  An institution which has produced some of the greatest minds throughout time. From Oscar Wilde, Edwin Hubble, to Stephen Hawking. 

Meet your friendly guide - a former President of The Oxford Union, a prestigious student position held by numerous former British Prime Ministers. Accompany your guide through the beautiful cobbled streets and squares of the City Centre. Explore the local market, churches,  hidden gardens, quaint shops and ancient pubs. And gain unparalleled knowledge and access to the University and its array of beautiful colleges. Hear of the University's ancient beginnings, strange traditions and invaluable contributions to academia and humanity. This is a very unique opportunity to see Oxford from a less travelled perspective. And a sure highlight to your trip!


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