How we enjoyed Oxford on a budget


Oxford Radcliff Square

While Oxford is known for being an affluent city with world-renowned Universities, you may have the impression that it's an expensive place to visit, but this simply isn't the case, with an array of amazing free to visit museums, outdoor spaces and historical sites. There is also plenty of cafes, street food and the covered market is a great place to find a family-friendly bite to eat. This walkable city is a great place for a budget day out, in fact one day isn't enough to see everything. 

I visited Oxford for the day with my two children, while staying at Mollies, 25mins from Oxford and this is how we made the most of this fantastic city on a small budget 

The History of Science Museum

This free museum houses a variety of collections and displays to do with science and also has a children's trail but it's real pulling power is Einsteins' blackboard from when he gave a lecture at the University in the 1930's which is impressive and appreciated by all ages.

The Natural History Museum Oxford
The Natural History Museum, Oxford

The Natural History Museum 

Housed in a beautiful and rather breathtaking building, this free museum is packed with Dinosaur bones, fossils and interactive displays. Both kids and adults will love this place, there is plenty of see and do and lots of interactive elements and was one of the highlights of our day. 

Pitt Rivers Museum  

Connected and accessed via the Natural History Museum, this is another free museum that is well worth a visit and houses a large collection of rare archaeological and anthropological finds from all over the world. Between these two museums alone you could easily spend 2hrs or more taking it all in. 

The bridge of Sighs Oxford
The Bridge of Sighs, Oxford

Bridge of Sighs and Radcliffe Square

The Bridge of Sighs with its beautiful and iconic design and popular with tourists so expect it to be busy but it's beautiful and worth a visit. Only a short walk from the bridge will bring you to Radcliffe Square, the famous central cobblestone square surrounded by historic University buildings, this is a great place to take in the atmosphere of Oxford and perfect for photos. Just to the side of the square, you will also find St Mary's passage and the Narnia door.

The covered market Oxford
Florist in The Covered Market

The Covered Market

This historic market has been open and in use since 1774 and is buzzing with activity from cheese shops to cocktail bars inside bookstores to antique toy shops and free art installations on the walls and ceiling. We spent a good half an hour wandering around taking in the atmosphere and may have enjoyed a fresh donut or two.

The Plough Inn - Budget-friendly lunch 

When it comes to family travel, food can really shoot up the budget so when we stumbled across The Plough Inn on Cornmarket Street and noticed that they make a large sharing pizza for £14.50 which is perfect for 3/4 people, that was lunch sorted. Delicious pizza with pesto in a beautiful location was a winner and I wish more pubs would offer substantial sharing pizzas like this one.

The plough Inn Oxford

The Saxon Tower

Opposite the Plough Inn is the distinctive Saxon Tower, more than 100-yrs old making it one of the oldest buildings in Oxford. For a small charge, you can walk up the 97 steps to the top of the tower which offers up some fantastic views across the city as well as an interesting insight into the building and its uses over the past thousand years. This was the only "attraction" we paid with adult tickets £3.5, kids £2 or there is a family ticket for £9.

We had also planned to visit The Ashmolean Museum and Modern Art Museum, both of which are free, however, we ran out of time, but it just goes to show you can easily spend a budget-friendly day or weekend in Oxford, taking in all the history and fantastic museums as a family. 

Oxford on a budget


  1. I recently took my kids to Oxford, and your tips were invaluable for keeping our trip both fun and affordable.

  2. I've never been to Oxford but a friend of mine just came back and told me it is a must visit! I can't wait to plan a trip to Oxford, so much history, so much to see.

  3. This is amazing! It looks like you had a great time! I'd love to go one day!

  4. Thanks for sharing your tips! It sounds like you had a fantastic time exploring Oxford without breaking the bank. I'll definitely keep your recommendations in mind for my next trip there!

  5. I really do love that there are so many free museums in England! It's such a good way to enjoy places and have fun - affordable - days out.


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