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.


Magdalen’s Grove Auditorium has level access via the main entrance doors though the foyer. Wheelchairs may be placed in front of the front row of seats. There is an accessible toilet via the fire exit leading to Longwall Street from the front of the Auditorium. Neither venue has disabled parking spaces nearby although there are limited general pay-and-display parking places in Longwall Street near the Grove Auditorium entrance.

Rewley House is wheelchair accessible via a ramp. Once inside there is a lift to the lecture theatre and to the bar! There is limited parking in Wellington Square and more in St Giles.

Oxford Town Hall Assembly Room is on the first floor. There is a street-level entrance to the Town Hall on St Aldate’s immediately after the Edinburgh Woollen Mill shop. You may need to ring the bell to get the door opened by Reception. Once inside there is a lift to the first floor and then a level floor to the meeting room.

Open talks — all welcome

Our autumn season of public talks is here. We are planning for these to be 'real-world' talks held in one or other of our usual venues, but of course this is subject to pandemic conditions allowing .

  • Sculls, skiffs and steamers: the history of Salter’s Steamers

    Wednesday 15th September, 8pm
    Magdalen College Auditorium, Longwall Street

    Salters Steamers cruise boatSalters’, based at Folly Bridge in Oxford, is one of the most famous and long established businesses operating on the River Thames.  Simon Wenham, a member of the part-time tutor panel of Oxford University’s Continuing Education Department, will explain how Salters’ played a key role in popularising pleasure boating on the non-tidal river, providing a fascinating insight into how water-based leisure developed over the past two centuries.

  • Wytham Woods in a changing world

    Thursday 7th October, 8pm
    Magdalen College Auditorium, Longwall Street

    Group and guide at Wytham WoodsLearn more about the past, present and future of Oxford University’s ‘Laboratory with Leaves’, from Nigel Fisher, who has been the Conservator of Wytham Woods since 2000.

  • 150 Years of Through the Looking-Glass

    Thursday 4th November, 8pm
    Magdalen College Auditorium, Longwall Street

    Mark DaviesLewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was printed in November 1871. Both books contain subtle Oxford references – people, places and events – and local historian and author Mark Davies will reflect on some of the more intriguing examples, based on his own research and publications, on a day of the year which has particular Looking-Glass relevance.

  • Railways of Oxfordshire – part 2

    Tuesday 23rd November, 8pm
    Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square

    Laurence WatersFollowing his talk to the Oxford Civic Society on the history of the railways of Oxfordshire last year, Laurence Waters turns his attention to some of the branch lines in the Vale, including the Abingdon Branch, Didcot Junction to Uffington, Faringdon and the Wantage Tramway. As photograph archivist for the Great Western archive at Didcot, Laurence brings us  an unparalleled insight into local railway history.

Members-only Walks and Visits

For some time members have been asking for a simpler method of booking events and paying for them. We have chosen the online booking service Eventbrite which seems to offer the flexibility we need. Please go to the web links given below to book your place on these visits and pay for them. If you find we have reached our maximum capacity for a particular event, please make use of the waitlist function in Eventbrite.

Bookings are taken on a first come first served basis but the lists will stay open until seven days before the event. If you are offered a ticket via the waitlist you have 72 hours to claim it.

A joint member may book two tickets.

You can cancel your booking up to 30 days before the event and get a partial refund — Eventbrite takes a small percentage of the fee. After that no refunds can be offered.

If you book and cannot attend the event, we urge you to cancel as soon as you can so that someone else can take your place. Our events are popular and we almost always have a waiting list.

Please note: our walks and visits are open to MEMBERS ONLY. If you book a ticket and are NOT a fully-paid-up member you will be required to join the Society or top-up your lapsed membership before you join the event.

  • Cutteslowe Meadow

    Tuesday 24th August, 2pm

    Cutteslowe Ponds
    Photo: Freshwater Habitats Trust

    Join us for a walk around the Cutteslowe ponds. These are located in a little known flood meadow next to the Oxford ring road, which is home to a profusion of insect life, amphibians and birds. Come and hear from Ellie Mayhew (Freshwater Habitats Trust) about the practical steps being taken at this site and others to restore such habitat, including the translocation of plant life like Creeping Marshwort and Greater Water-parsnip.

    Tickets: £9.

    Eventbrite booking link:

    Maximum number of attendees: 20

    You will be notified of the meeting point for this visit by email from Eventbrite a week beforehand .

  • Oscar Nemon’s studio and gallery

    Saturday 11th September, 10:30am and 2:30pm (2 sessions)

    Nemon and FreudFollowing the talk in May, a visit to Oscar Nemon’s studio and gallery at Boar’s Hill has been arranged, with a commentary provided by his daughter-in-law, Alice Nemon-Stewart. There will be an opportunity to view examples of his work and discuss his technique.

    Tickets: £10.

    Eventbrite booking link (morning):

    Eventbrite booking link (afternoon):

    Maximum number of attendees: 10 per session.

    You will be notified of the meeting point for this visit by email from Eventbrite a week beforehand.

  • Tap Social Brewery and Community Space

    Saturday 9th October, 2pm

    Eating and drinking at Tap SocialTap Social is a craft brewery that trains and employs people during and after prison sentences. Join us for a 1 hour tour of the brewery, including a talk about the brewing process and Tap Social Movement’s work with the criminal justice system. The tour concludes with a tasting session of all beers on tap (up to 10) and a pint of your favourite.

    Tickets: £17.

    Eventbrite booking link:

    Maximum number of attendees: 22

    You will be notified of the meeting point for this visit by email from Eventbrite a week beforehand.