These suggestions might be helpful if you’d like some time away from your course or work but don’t feel like staying in your room. All of them can be enjoyed on one’s own with no need to join a club or society.
1. Oxford has several beautiful parks! The University Parks is next to the Science Area and one of my favourite places in Oxford, with interesting trees and wildlife to see throughout the seasons. It’s pretty quiet in the afternoon as most sport teams train in the morning, and is nice for both meditating and for conversations with a friend. If you live on the southern side of the town, then the South Park is a lovely place for a stroll. I’ve never been to the Port Meadow but many people enjoy taking walks there too. A bit further away from the town centre, the Shotover Country Park is perfect for a longer walk.
2. If you are a lover of art, the Ashmolean Museum in a nice place to spend an afternoon at. It’s free to all visitors but currently pre-booking is required. The special exhibition usually has concession rate tickets or half rate tickets for students and staff of the University (check their website as you book the ticket). Some of their events are also free.
3. Modern Art Oxford is a contemporary art space near Westgate, with most of its exhibitions free of charge, and concession rate tickets are available for the special exhibitions. It also hosts many talks and workshops.
4. The entry to the Pitt Rivers Museum is free. It’s home to objects, photographs, and manuscripts from all over the world and across a wide range of categories.
5. Another museum with free entry is the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
6. Though I’m not a Christian, I like the University Church for its history and architecture. The entry to the Church is free but a ticket is required for the Tower with panoramic views of the city.
7. All Bodleian Libraries are open to the students at Oxford and Bodleian Card holders. Whilst most people are concentrating on their coursework there, there is nothing stopping you to find a nice spot and do whatever you feel like as long as you follow the rules and be considerate of others.
8. Since 1610, a copy of every book published in England and registered at Stationer’s is deposited at the Bodleian. I often take advantage of this and take out books for personal reading—the same books would cost a fortune at Blackwell’s—and then decide if I still want to invest in a copy.
9. There are a few markets in Oxford, for example the Covered Market, Gloucester Green Market, and North Parade Market. Whilst they are a good place to grab some food or search for a special something, you can also just wander along.
10. Finally, let’s be reminded that you do not need to make a purchase every time you visit a shop! There are many lovely independent shops worthy of a browse and you can visit independentoxford.com for more information.