Oxford Open doors 2023
17 August 2023
Oxford Open Doors returns on 9 and 10 September to Oxford’s heritage, community, culture, and research, during which members of the public are invited into Oxford’s historic buildings, research centres, and community spaces for free. Oxford Preservation Trust have worked with partners across the city to organise a weekend of openings, family activities, exhibitions, tours and talks so that Oxford’s community can be welcomed into venues across the city. Whether you are interested in History, Art, Science, or looking for a fun day out for the family, there will be something for you.
Here are some of the highlights of this year’s festival. You can Download the full Programme HERE
Children, Families and Young People
- Free rides on heritage buses will be provided around the town centre. Pre-booking is not required: just turn up and ride! To see the timetable click HERE or check out the museum website www.oxfordbusmuseum.org.uk
- Oxford Fire and Rescue Service at Rewley Road Fire Station: Members of the public can step inside and see what really happens in an operational fire station. They will be offering hot and cold refreshment, BBQ, tours of the station and hydraulic platform rides. There will also be a static road traffic collision demonstration and an opportunity to look around our fire trucks and range of equipment we use daily!
- Thames Valley Police: A marquee will be erected at Oxford Coroners Court, with a van for children to sit in, take photos, try out buttons, and play with the radio.
- Enjoy a hot or cold drink in the café of Old Fire station, and visit the gallery to see a free exhibition.
- Test your punting skills with a free half-hour trial with the Cherwell Boathouse staff onside to give expert tips and advice.
- Follow a family-friendly garden trail and Green Templeton College, a children’s library trail at Mansfield College or complete a children’s treasure hunt at St John’s College.
- Walk to University Parks for a breath of fresh air, and take a guided tour of the parks to learn about the Parks Department, see machinery such as tractors and mowers, and sow your own seeds.
- Visit Barracks Lane Community Garden, off Cowley Road, on Sunday for their Harvest Festival. Chill out to music from DJ Baps, make your own pizza, and participate in kids fruit and vegetable based craft activities.
- Visit Harcourt Arboretum for free on 9th September
- Oxford Castle & Prison:
- Oxford Silver Band 11:00 – 16:00 City of Oxford Silver Band will be performing at Oxford Castle on Saturday and Wheatley Windmill on Sunday. They welcome new players of all ages and all abilities, so come and see, enjoy the music, and learn about how you could play with them. Performances 12:00 – 12.45 and 13:15 – 14:00
- Stone carving event: 9:00 – 17:00: Come along and watch expert stone carvers at work, including Alex Wenham, award-winning stone carver based in Oxford, who created art for St Paul’s cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and many Oxford Colleges
- Climb the mound for free! 10.00-17:00
- Carfax Tower remains the tallest building in central Oxford. On Sunday, 10th September, climb the 99 steps to the top of Carfax Tower, all that remains of the twelfth-century St Martin’s church, and enjoy the fantastic views of Oxford’s skyline and spires.
- Join a guided walk with the Oxford Guild of Tour Guides to find out more about the story of Oxford and its people: those who have lived, worked or studied here over the centuries. Advanced booking is required.
Art and Architecture
- Oxford Town Hall: Visit this Grade II* listed Town Hall and join a FREE taster tour (usually £5 p p) of rooms not normally open to the public. Tours take place at 11am and 1pm. Limited tickets, please pre-book on the museum’s website at www.museumofoxford.org
- On Sunday, 10th September, take a tour of the Sheldonian Theatre, the University of Oxford’s official ceremonial hall, which was designed by Christopher Wren. Explore the theatre’s architecture on one of the guided tours or experience a free classical recital by the Pavlova Wind Quartet in the afternoon.
- The Divinity School opens its doors on Sunday. Oxford’s oldest purpose-built teaching and examination room, the Divinity School dates back to the 15th century, and is recognisable from the Harry Potter film series.
- Head to the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging in Headington to have a go at the Rogue Brain Escape Room. This neuroscience themed escape room is guaranteed family fun, suitable for anyone aged 11 or over (though families with younger children are also welcome). FULLY BOOKED ALREADY
- Find out more about groundbreaking research taking place in cancer care and treatment at Oxford Cancer (Old Road Campus). Learn more about research into stroke recovery at the Department of Experimental Psychology (Radcliffe Observatory Quarter).
- Visit many of Oxford’s colleges to see the historic buildings from the inside, including older colleges such as. Magdalen College, Christ Church cathedral (prebooking needed), University College, All Souls and Exeter College. See some of the newer colleges, including Lady Margaret Hall and Somerville College, which were the first to admit women to the University of Oxford.
- Take a tour of the Bodleian Law Library, the largest law library in the UK, housed in a modern building, now Grade II* listed. Advanced booking is required.
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