15 things to do in Oxford at night

Published by: BouncePosted Updated

If you love history or art, then Oxford is an ideal destination for you. Besides its magnificent architecture in Gothic and Baroque styles and its remarkable history that spans 1,000 years, Oxford is a city that will tick many boxes on your list. 

When the sun sets, Oxford offers plenty of fun things to do at night, whether you’re traveling solo, with your friends, or with your family. Tons of students arrive each year looking to establish their careers in the best university in the world. The nightlife in Oxford is diverse and offers students, locals, and tourists many things to do at night.

From fun world-class museums, like the Oxford Museum, the Story Museum, and the Museum of Natural History to intriguing Oxford sights and colleges, this intriguing city is a terrific place to visit. Try your hand at board games, enjoy live music venues and comedy nights and take some art lessons—your nights in Oxford will never be boring. Be sure to stroll under the famous Bridge of Sighs as you meander the city at night.

But don't let your briefcases, backpacks, or shopping bags slow you down when you visit Oxford. With convenient Bounce luggage storage locations around town, it’s easy to explore this incredible city at your own pace!

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Historic and Unique Attractions

Christ Church Cathedral

Address: St Aldate's, Oxford 

Oxford University has 37 colleges, and one of the best-known is Christ Church. The Harry Potter movie franchise made it even more popular because many scenes were filmed in the college. Founded in the 16th century by King Henry VIII, Christ Church College takes you on a history trip as you walk through the same halls that famous author Lewis Carroll walked, along with many world leaders.

Just outside the college, you’ll find the Memorial Gardens and Christ Church Meadow, both incredible spots for picnicking. The college is also home to Christ Church Cathedral, which was built in the 12th century and has its own choir. 

Pitt Rivers Museum

Address: South Parks Rd, Oxford

Looking for free things to do in Oxford? Pitt Rivers Museum is located near the Oxford Museum of Natural History at Oxford University and entry is free. The museum houses collections, artifacts, and exhibits from around the world and from different periods of history. Spread across three floors, there’s enough to keep you entertained for hours. It’s impossible to see everything in one visit, but since it's a free museum, you can visit anytime you want.

Magdalen College

Address: Oxford OX1 4AU

Just a two-minute walk from the University of Oxford Botanic Garden is Magdalen College, founded in 1458. Here, you’ll see some of the most beautiful buildings in Oxford, both ancient and modern. This college is set on 100 acres of land and includes the deer park and Addison’s riverside walk. 

This College is known to be one of the best colleges at the University of Oxford. But what makes it even more special is the Evensong service. This 40-minute choral service is an excellent way to get a glimpse into college life and enjoy angelic music, ranging from anthems to psalm chants. If you happen to be there on the Sunday Choral Evensong, you can enjoy refreshments in the Antechapel.

Oxford College chapels welcome all visitors to attend their services. You don't have to be religious to attend an Evensong in the Magdalen Chapel, but you’ll surely enjoy it.

Nightlife & Entertainment

Jericho Neighborhood

Located near central Oxford is the Jericho neighborhood. This laid-back area is the place to be at night, where many events take place. Jericho is packed with a diverse range of restaurants, cafes, taverns, and bars and is always crowded. As you walk the streets of Jericho you’ll hear live music coming from many of the bars and taverns. 

Go to Raoul's Bar on Walton Street, one of the best places in Jericho with a terrific atmosphere and great drinks. Or look for Jericho Tavern close by if you’re a fan of 90s alternative rock. This venue has hosted many famous bands like Radiohead, which performed their first gig here.

Other popular options to check on your night out in Jericho include Freud, a café and bar housed in a former church, and the modern Angels Cocktail Bar. In Jericho, you’ll find a place you fancy on each corner. 

Turf Tavern

Address: 4 Bath Pl, Oxford 

A visit to Oxford is incomplete if you don't stop by the Turf Tavern. This cool pub is 4 centuries old but is still a popular hang-out spot. 

This nightspot is a special one with much history behind it. Turf Tavern has a storied past and former regulars are Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Taylor, C.S. Lewis, Tony Blair, and Bill Clinton (who studied at Oxford University!). Bring your friends along for a fun night out with a pint and fish and chips. Or try one of Jeff's beverage specials and enjoy the large outdoor space like the locals do.

Glee Club

Address: The Bullingdon, 162 Cowley Rd, Oxford 

Going to comedy clubs is part of Oxford nightlife, and the Glee Club is one of the best. Located within The Bullingdon on Cowley Road, Glee Club is where you’ll laugh with their "Best In Live Stand-up Comedy" shows every Saturday night. Tickets go for about $20, and students get discounts.

The shows feature different comedians every weekend. Famous comedians used to perform in the Glee Club in preparation for their arena tours. The place opened in 2010 and is part of 5 Glee Clubs in the UK, the latest being Glee Club Glasgow.

The Varsity Club Rooftop

Address: 9 High St, Oxford 

Want an awesome spot for drinks with incredible views of Oxford? Make your way to The Varsity Club rooftop bar. Perched 3 stories up and found on High Street, this buzzing open-air terrace offers awesome 360-degree panoramas of the city's amazing architecture.

Grab your friends and head upstairs to watch the city lights flickering below you. It's one of the best viewing spots in Oxford. With blankets when it's chillier, heat lamps keeping things cozy, and live music, The Varsity Club rooftop transforms into a lively bar under the stars. It’s one of Oxford's best things to do at night.

Thirsty Meeples

Address: 97-98 Gloucester Green, Oxford 

If you’re into board games, your itinerary for visiting Oxford at night should include England’s first board game café, the Thirsty Meeples. 

This is where you come if you want to have a different kind of fun than the usual Saturday night out. With over 2,500 games and a lovely atmosphere, you only need to bring your friends or family along and show your competitive side!

If you’re traveling alone, this is a must-visit destination on a night out in Oxford. Every Tuesday, they have open gaming nights where you can go on your own and make new friends. Located in the city center, you’ll find this inviting hangout near Gloucester Green Market.

Oxford Playhouse

Address: 11-12 Beaumont St, Oxford

For an evening at the theater, head to Oxford Playhouse. Located on Beaumont Street near the Ashmolean Museum, this independent theater will entertain you with a range of fantastic shows. Expect everything from drama, dance, poetry, and live piano music to comedy and family performances.

You’ll delight in visiting this architectural gem. Oxford Playhouse was built in the 1930s, has wonderful charm and can seat 663 people.

Ultimate Picture Palace

Address: Jeune Street, Cowley Road, Oxford

If you enjoy a great movie, start your night at the Ultimate Picture Palace. Located just off Cowley Road, the cinema has only one screen set in a cozy auditorium. Built in 1911, this is one of the oldest cinemas in the UK. It’s designed in an art deco style and has the original box office window, so it’ll be quite a change from the massive cinemas in the big cities.

They show a great selection of movies, from classics to mainstream. Grab a drink and a snack from the small bar before the movie starts, and have a movie night in Oxford with your favorite people.

Tours & Sightseeing

Harry Potter Filming Locations

Walking around Oxford University feels a lot like being in one of the Harry Potter films, so if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’re in for a treat. In Oxford, you can either book a tour to visit the filming locations or go on a self-guided tour.

The Hospital Wing of Hogwarts is set at the Divinity School. The cloisters of New College are where filming of Harry and friends walking in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire took place. Duke Humfrey’s Library, part of the Bodleian Library, one of the largest libraries in the world, is the setting for Hogwarts Library in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Bodley Tower staircase at Christ Church is part of many scenes in the movies, as is the Great Hall, and the filming location for Hogwarts dining hall. Before making your way to the filming locations, check the opening and closing hours of the Colleges.

Oxford Castle and Prison

Address: 44-46 Oxford Castle, Oxford 

Among the unusual things to do at night in Oxford is visiting the Oxford Castle and Prison. The Norman medieval castle is 1,000 years old, and if you enjoy dark history, you’ll find this place a treat. 

You can only enter by joining a guided tour, so make sure you book this popular tour of the castle and prison in advance. Climb St George’s Tower, one of the oldest stone structures in England, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the City of Dreaming Spires. 

The tour also includes visiting the nearly century-old crypt where education in Oxford began. You’ll also learn about the horrors and prisoners of the Debtor's Tower and the Prison D-Wing.

Oxford Ghost Tour

If you ask what are some of the best things to do at night in Oxford, a ghost tour will most likely come up. There are many ghost tours; the last ones typically start around 10 pm. These tours last about an hour and a half and involve walking around Oxford at night. 

You’ll be guided into dark alleyways accompanied by a guide who tells tales of mysterious happenings, murders, and the dark side of Oxford, bringing you back in time. Find out how Dead Man’s Walk got its name, learn all about the city’s famous ghosts, and more. 

Oxford Night Photography Tour

Here's an awesome way to capture Oxford's magical atmosphere after dark—join a night photography tour. Grab your camera, get ready to play with light and cool effects, and receive excellent guidance to nail that stunning shot.

You'll visit all the famous colleges, bridges, libraries, and city landmarks to photograph. Your expert guide knows the prime spots, best angles, and tips for getting the best shots. At the end of it, you’ll have an awesome portfolio of images to remind you of your evening in Oxford. How cool is that?

Night photo tours are open to all levels. So whether you're an amateur photographer or a pro, you'll learn priceless tips for shooting after dark. You’ll be rewarded with fantastic photos capturing Oxford at night. 

Punt Down the Cherwell 

Want to enjoy Oxford from a new perspective? Try punting down the River Cherwell. Just you, good friends, and a few drinks, floating on a flat boat gently pushed along the water by an expert "punter." Sounds pretty great, right?

Your punter guide will share facts about the different colleges and areas you pass. Because it makes hardly any noise, punting is a peaceful, almost magical way to take in the sights along the river. Punts hold about 6 people, so pack food and a bottle of wine to enjoy a chill river cruise. Trips usually last about an hour and are a perfect way to unwind after a long day of exploring the city's sights.

Enjoy visiting Oxford at night

Oxford’s nightlife is exciting every day of the week. Even if you just walk aimlessly in Jericho, explore Oxford High Street, stop in one of the many wine bars, or people-watch in Radcliffe Square, you'll surely find something fun to do when you visit Oxford!

As you explore the city day or night, Bounce offers a convenient way to store your bags so you can travel light. With locations across Oxford near the train station and airports, Bounce allows you to store bags of any size for one low price. So whether you're taking in historic sights or enjoying Oxford's lively nightlife scene, we make it easy to see and do more in this incredible city without being weighed down by your bags.

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