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.

  • Homelessness in Oxford

    Thursday 27 September, 8pm
    Magdalen College Auditorium, Longwall Street

    Homelessness and in particular rough sleeping appears to be on the increase in Oxford but is a complex issue to address. Simon Bennett, Partnerships Officer at the City Council, will talk about the issues and how the Council, working jointly with other agencies, is attempting to tackle them.

  • Coats of arms and colourful folk: the Bodleian

    Thursday 11 October, 8pm
    Magdalen College Auditorium, Longwall Street

    In the second of his two talks on Oxford libraries, John Ashdown, former Conservation Officer for the City, talks about the most famous library of them all, the Bodleian. He will reveal some of the stories you may not know about this revered institution.

  • Citizens in crisis

    Wednesday 14 November, 8pm
    Magdalen College Auditorium, Longwall Street

    Al Bell, Director of Oxford Citizens Advice, talks about the charity’s role in helping Oxford people and influencing decision makers on a range of contemporary social and economic issues including debt, housing, Universal Credit and Brexit.

  • The Oxford Local Plan: a discussion

    November: date and venue to be confirmed.

    This autumn the City Council will be consulting further on the Local Plan that will guide Oxford’s development for the next 20 years. This discussion will be an opportunity for members to discuss the issues and give their views. We will announce the details of this event by email, on our website and on Twitter when we know the City’s timetable.

Members-only Walks and Visits

Tickets are needed for these events. Download the booking form here. Closing date 31 August. download booking form

  • Sydlings Copse – a Wildlife Haven

    Tuesday 18 September 2.30pm (booking closed)

    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.

  • Exploring the city walls – a walk

    Saturday 6 October, 10.30am

    The medieval walls and gates of Oxford are often well hidden and much of the evidence has disappeared. Archaeologist Julian Munby will lead a walk along the line of the city wall from the Castle to the South Gate (but not including the well-preserved section in New College gardens) and for those who wish to continue, on to the West Gate and back to the Castle.

  • The Botanic Garden – a walk through history

    Thursday 4 October, 1.30pm
    Saturday 20 October, 11am

    Local historian Mark Davies will lead this 75-minute tour, highlighting some of the more unusual individuals and events associated with Oxford’s 400 year-old ‘physick garden’. These include the garden’s first superintendent, Jacob Bobart, the German Prince of Plants; some of Britain’s earliest hot air balloon launches and the garden’s associations with Lewis Carroll and other celebrated writers.

  • Lincoln College – a visit

    Monday 29 October, 2.30pm

    An opportunity to see some of the oldest and newest parts of this ancient college, located in the heart of the city since the 15th century.

  • Rhodes House – a visit

    Monday 5 November, 2.30pm

    Rhodes House is a hidden delight in the heart of Oxford. Designed by Sir Herbert Baker, it reflects a number of influences: Cape Dutch farmhouse, English country mansion, and the arts and craft movement of the 1900s. Isabelle Barber of Rhodes House will show us where Rhodes Scholars and their distinguished guests have studied and entertained for nearly 100 years.