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.

Members-only Walks and Visits

Tickets are needed for these events. Download the booking form here. Closing date 29 March. download booking form

  • Oxford Portraits

    Thursday 3 May at 2pm
    Tuesday 8 May at 2pm

    Alastair Lack will guide a visit to the Examination Schools which has a fascinating collection of portraits of distinguished people painted by many famous artists, including Kneller and Tissot. They are displayed in the sumptuous interiors of Sir Thomas Jackson’s building. A short walk takes us to University College where he will show us the dining hall portraits which include Arnold Goodman by Sir Graham Sutherland.

  • Old Headington – the Village in the City

    Tuesday 22 May at 2pm

    Headington is even older than Oxford, as evidenced by a 5th century Saxon burial ground. It was first mentioned in writing in 1004 when a royal charter signed by King Ethelred referred to the “royal residence which is called Headington”. Remaining a village until the 18th century, it still has much of its rural charm. A walk through the Conservation Area will be hosted by the Friends of Old Headington.

  • The Lye Valley – a Unique Fenland

    Sunday 3 June at 2.30pm

    The Lye Valley in Headington is an internationally rare habitat, a tufa-forming alkaline spring fen. It is home to some very rare species of plants, insects, reptiles and other wildlife. This circular walk, led by Dr Judy Webb, will allow us to see recent improvements and enjoy late spring flowers such as the common spotted orchid. The ground can be boggy so good footwear is advisable for the one and a half-hour walk.

  • 300 years of garden history

    Saturday 7 July at 2pm

    “What can we learn from old guidebooks?” asks Michael Pirie, Gardener to Green College. This walk round some of the college gardens of central Oxford will reveal how ideas of gardens have evolved over three centuries.

  • Sydlings Copse – a Wildlife Haven

    Tuesday 18 September 2.30pm

    Tucked away to the north-east of Oxford, Sydlings Copse is a treasure trove for wildlife enthusiasts, once described as one of the richest habitats in middle England. With Nicole Clough, BBOWT’s Reserves Officer for Oxfordshire, we will take a circular walk lasting about an hour through all of the different habitats. We will hear too about the challenges of managing such a precious place and the threat of developments nearby. Walkers with suitable footwear should find the going easy to moderate.