We run a year-round programme of Oxford-themed talks, walks and visits aimed to encourage an awareness and understanding of our city. The talks (free and open to all) are given by leading speakers in interesting locations across the city. Topics can include Oxford’s history, buildings, arts and science, and current development projects.

The extensive programme of visits and walks (members only and usually for a small charge) is led by local experts and held both in and out of Oxford.


Open talks — all welcome

Come and learn about your city. No pre-booking, free of charge.

  • Archaeological discoveries of the last 50 years

    Wednesday 30 January, 8pm
    Magdalen College Auditorium, Longwall Street

    Since the 1960s there have been hundreds of digs in the city, revealing much about the world under our feet. Ben Ford from Oxford University’s Department of Archaeology will take us on a journey from the prehistoric ritual landscape to a military frontline stronghold during the age of the Vikings and King Arthur to the growth of the medieval university city and its vanished streets.

  • Securing nature’s recovery

    Thursday 7 March, 8pm
    Magdalen College Auditorium, Longwall Street

    Wildlife today faces many serious threats and is in general decline. Estelle Bailey, Chief Executive of the largest local wildlife conservation charity in our area, the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) will talk about what needs to be done to reverse the trends.

  • OCS@50: half a century of changing Oxford

    Tuesday 2 April 7pm, AGM at 8pm
    Venue to be announced

    How has Oxford changed in the 50 years since the Society was set up and what role has the Society played in influencing those changes? Recently we commissioned local historian Liz Woolley to investigate. Tonight she reveals her assessment of our first 50 years. An illustrated booklet will be available for sale. The AGM will follow her talk.

  • Ghosts, science and ghost hunters: a history

    Wednesday 17 April, 8pm
    Magdalen College Auditorium, Longwall Street

    The ‘scientific’ study of ghosts from the 17th century onwards was followed by ‘scientific’ ghost-hunting in Victorian times. Historian Dr Allan Chapman of Wadham College lifts the lid on a fascinating application of science. What do scientists, theologians and the public think about ghosts today?

  • ‘Heaven might be something like North Oxford’

    Wednesday 20 February, 8pm
    Magdalen College Auditorium, Longwall Street

    Architectural historian Professor William Whyte of St John’s College will reflect on the North Oxford Conservation Area, designated just over 50 years ago.

Members-only Walks and Visits

Tickets are needed for these events. Download the booking form here. Closing date 10 December. download booking form

  • Culham Science Centre – a visit

    Wednesday 20 March 6.30pm

    Culham, world-famous for its cutting-edge research into fusion power, is also a powerhouse of other high technology innovation. This 2.5 hour visit will take us behind the scenes to learn about this fascinating work.

  • Oxford’s ancient water boundaries – a walk

    Monday 8 April 2pm

    The outer bounds of the City of Oxford were defined on three sides by its waterways. In the first of a series of walks led by local historian Mark Davies you will hear about some of the unusual and amusing experiences of the mayor and his retinue over the past 400 years.