Looking to admire this pretty city? We don’t blame you – these are the spots with the best views in Oxford.
It’s not exactly a well kept secret that Oxford’s architecture is beautiful to look at. But, sometimes viewing it from ground level just doesn’t do it justice.
It turns out there are plenty of places to admire Oxford from, whether you’re in the mood for a cocktail at a rooftop bar or a picnic in the park.
We’ve found the spots in Oxford with uninterrupted views for you to visit. Let’s go.
Free Oxford Views
St Michael’s Saxon Tower
St Michael’s Saxon Tower is the oldest surviving stone building in Oxford and it boasts some of the best views of Oxford.
Be warned: There’s a 97 step climb to the top of the tower. Though, on each floor there’s a display of historical items– so make sure you take breaks and soak in some of Oxford’s history on your way to the top.
To the east of Oxford you’ll find South Park, it’s the largest park in Oxford. At South Park’s highest vantage point you can view Oxford University’s buildings and towers.
What’s more, it offers a good view of Oxford’s historic spires and it’s completely free to visit.
It’s only a 5 minutes walk away from Cowley Road and its open space spans 50 acres– it’s a must visit spot to see Oxford’s magnificent skyline.
University Church of St Mary the Virgin Tower
The University Church of St Mary the Virgin is an exquisite church in Oxford that affords some of the best views in Oxford. The tower is not for the faint-hearted, you’ll climb around 127 steps up a narrow medieval spiral staircase– but we promise you will be rewarded.
When you’ve conquered the stairs you’ll be greeted by a viewing platform with views of Radcliffe Camera, the Sheldonian Theatre and Tom Tower.
Just south of the city centre, Boars Hill offers wonderful city views. It was also a favourite spot for writers like Matthew Arnold (Dover Beach)– it’s such a scenic spot that you must see for yourself.
With nearly 200 acres of fields, woods and gardens at your disposal, it’s a great place to have a picnic on a warm day with an Oxford city backdrop to marvel at. There are also woodland walks to explore at Boars Hill when you’re done admiring Oxford’s historical architecture.
Bars & Restaurants with a View in Oxford
The Varsity Club
Dining, drinking and dancing is The Varsity Club’s motto, located over four levels of fun on Oxford High Street. The cocktail bar serves coffee, cocktails and classic food dishes, while the club and dance floor hosts resident DJs– then there’s the roof that’s open year-round.
The original Oxford roof terrace offers unique and spectacular 360 views of Oxford and beyond. Enjoy drinks here from the extensive cocktail menu no matter the weather, The Varsity Club’s roof terrace has covers and heating.
The Head of The River
Riverside dining is always a must in Oxford and The Head of The River is the best place to do just that. Watch the boats float past at The Head of The River’s waterside terrace, it’s a gorgeous place to spend an afternoon.
Located in the heart of Oxford, this pub has fancy pub grub and if you’re lucky enough to visit on a Sunday, order the Dry-Aged Sirloin of Owton’s Beef roast served with delicious red wine gravy. Your tastebuds will thank you for it.
Rooftop Restaurant at The Ashmolean Museum
Sitting atop The Ashmolean Museum, the world’s oldest museum is a rooftop restaurant with one of the best views of Oxford. The rooftop’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows open out onto a beautiful plant-filled terrace, capturing the spires of Oxford in all their beauty.
Enjoy nibbles, cocktails and sumptuous dishes alfresco style– we’re eyeing up the Confit Duck Leg and the Pan-Fried Sea Trout Fillet.
Victors offers charming views of Oxford. Its wisteria-covered terrace gives holiday vibes with a modern Asian inspired menu to match.
Sashimi and sushi rolls are the perfect accompaniment to your Cherry Blossom cocktail, or try the Poke Bowl for a true Asian experience.
This iconic terrace shows off Oxford’s beauty, surrounded by greenery and building tops – you can admire Oxford and beyond from Victors.
Practical Tips for Seeing the Best Views of Oxford
- Some of the locations include a lot of steps to the viewing platforms. Make sure you and your party are able to manage them before heading up. Sensible shoes, everyone.
- Visit the rooftop bar locations at sunset if you’d like to see Oxford in a different light– Oxford’s spires look pretty dressed in yellows and oranges.
- St Michael’s Saxon Tower and University Church of St Mary The Virgin Tower are not completely free to visit. To climb up to the top there’s a very small fee- but this helps with the upkeep of the buildings.