Oxford is a fantastic city to visit year round with kids. In addition to the university colleges being every Harry Potter fan’s dream day out there are a few hidden gems to ensure a visit to Oxford is a hit for all the family whatever the weather.
Museum of Natural History
The Dinosaur Museum and attached Pitt Rivers Museum are fantastic and brilliantly child friendly museums. The Natural History Museum is a perfect size for kids and has a great collection of dinosaurs and interactive exhibits. One of our favourites is upstairs, a section of beehive between panes of glass where you can watch the bees waggle dancing away; trying to spot the queen is a sure fire way to kill 10 educational minutes! There is a café on the balcony upstairs overlooking the dinosaurs. It’s also worth checking out lists of family friendly events at all of Oxford’s museums as there are excellent free events at all the University museums, especially during school holidays.
The Story Museum is a different kind of museum, you do have to pay to go in but for slightly older kids and keen readers it’s excellent. Visitors are left to explore a maze of themed rooms, dress up as wild and wonderful characters in the best costume selection I’ve ever seen, relax with a story on the most enormous of beds or push through a wardrobe door and find yourself in Narnia. Again the story museum runs excellent events and has a very good café.
Oxford’s botanic gardens are a very central and buggy-friendly space for a run around (no ‘keep off the grass’ signs here). Look out for the Cheshire cat hiding in an old quince tree!
Paddling at Port Meadow
If the weather’s good, the riverbank alongside Port Meadow becomes Oxford’s beach and the river full of inflatable crocodiles and airbeds on strings. Port Meadow is home to hundreds of ducks and geese and herds of cows and ponies. The walk from Jericho (Walton Well road) across to the Perch (a fantastic year-round pub) takes in swimming and paddling spots or from Wolvercote there are lots of gentle river banks. Also in Wolvercote is the excellent Jacob’s Inn; any pub with pigs and goats in the garden gets our vote.
Start planning your trip to Oxford today. You can find find child-friendly glamping, hotels and cottages near Oxford on Away with the Kids.