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Exploring the exhibitions | Courtesy of The Story Museum
Exploring the exhibitions | Courtesy of The Story Museum
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The Best Family-Friendly Things To Do in Oxford

Picture of Sarah Dawson
Updated: 10 August 2017
Looking for something to keep all the family happy? Oxford has so much to offer when it comes to fun days out that kids will love. Whether you fancy stepping back in time at Oxford Castle or playing at being a spy for the day, this beautiful city has got it all.
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The Story Museum

Pretty much as far removed from the traditional image of a stuffy old museum as possible, The Story Museum is heaven for children (and big kids too!) With a changing programme of vibrant exhibitions and fun interactive installations (including live story readings on a giant starlit bed), the innovative museum celebrates stories and storytelling in its own unique way.

Rochester House, 42 Pembroke Street, Oxford +44 01865 790050

The Changing Room | Courtesy of The Story Museum

The Changing Room | Courtesy of The Story Museum

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Oxford River Cruise

Slow down the pace with a trip on the water with Oxford River Cruises. Take your pick from a 30-minute sightseeing highlights tour (probably your best choice for younger kids), a longer 50-minute or a two-and-a-half-hour cruise taking in all the sights of the city. The boats have covers, so perfect for keeping off the strong summer sunshine (we’re being optimistic here!) or rain, plus you can pick up snacks at The Folly Café to take on board with you.

The Folly, 1 Folly Bridge, Oxford +44 08452 269396

River Cruise | Courtesy of Oxford River Cruises

River Cruise | Courtesy of Oxford River Cruises

Oxford Spy Mission Treasure Trail

Whether you’re visiting for the day or an Oxford local, there’s no better way to explore the city than on foot. This self-guided, themed, walking treasure hunt can be downloaded directly from the Treasure Trails website for you to follow at your own pace. To complete the mission, you just need to follow the route and answer a series of clues involving some of the sights you’ll pass along the way.

Following The Clues | Courtesy of Treasure Trails
Following The Clues | Courtesy of Treasure Trails
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Oxford University Museum of Natural History

If your kids usually roll their eyes at the very suggestion of visiting a museum, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History might just change their minds. With fascinating collections depicting the natural world – along with a fantastic display of dinosaur skeletons and fossils – there’s plenty here to really inspire.

Parks Road, Oxford +44 01865 272950

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City Sightseeing Oxford Bus Tour

There’s something about sitting on the top deck of an open-top bus that transforms a day of sightseeing into a real adventure for children and teenagers. This ‘Hop on, Hop off’ bus tour means you can choose to just sit and enjoy the commentary as you are driven around the city, or enjoy the freedom to make up your own itinerary and jump off at any of the attractions you want to explore.

Park End Street, Oxford +44 01865 790522

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Oxford Castle Unlocked

Watch the 1,000 years of Oxford Castle’s history come to life on a tour around the building and grounds by one of the costumed character guides. The kids can burn off some energy by climbing the Saxon St George’s Tower, one of Oxford’s oldest buildings, with incredible 360 degrees panoramic views over the city. Then, if they’re feeling brave, you can all head underground into the 900-year-old crypt before exploring the ancient prison cells.

44-46 Oxford Castle, Oxford +44 01865 260666

Step Back In Time | Courtesy of Oxford Castle Unlocked

Step Back In Time | Courtesy of Oxford Castle Unlocked