Ideas for surviving the summer in Oxford

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Top 10 Ways to Survive the Summer While Living or Studying in Oxford

Ideas for surviving the summer in Oxford

Summer. Warmth (maybe). And so much potential. Are you in Oxford this summer, and wondering what to do with your days or nights? Don’t worry. Here are some tips and ideas for surviving the season – whether you are a student, a tourist, or a local with a desire to find new spots and activities. Don’t worry, our ideas include outdoor and indoor summer options!

What is Oxford like in the Summer?

In this article, we covered the best times to visit Oxford and what each season is like in this amazing city. The summer, in particular, is a perfect time to visit or enjoy Oxford because many students are free from exams and the local crowds rush to the parks to enjoy the warmer weather. 

The warmest summer month in Oxford tends to be July. Temperatures can reach around 23 degrees C, with nights rarely going below 12 degrees. This means you will be able to walk around and not freeze to death. There are, of course, the casual moderate rains. This is England, after all. But here are some options for enjoying the summer in Oxford that will give you a few good ideas no matter the weather.

Take a Stroll or Have a Picnic in an Oxford Park

Oxford has some of the most beautiful parks in England. There’s the University Parks, Christ Church Meadow, the Botanic Gardens & Arboretum, and several walks you can take to enjoy the weather. if the weather permits, you should bring a blanket and some snacks. These places are also ideal for a nice picnic! One big advantage Oxford parks have is that they are close enough to the city to have other people around, but big enough to give everyone their space. This means you will be able to read a book in quiet sun enjoyment or practice sports without having to worry about hitting someone in the head with your frisbie (you thought we were going to say balls? ;)). 

Visiting Oxford in the Summer - Image courtesy of Laurence Elsdon.
Visiting Oxford in the Summer. The parks and gardens look greener than ever! Image courtesy of Laurence Elsdon.

Enjoy a World Renowned Museum's Artefacts... and Its AC

A rather unconventional suggestion, but a valid one nonetheless we think. If it’s a particularly hot Oxford summer day, one thing you can do is visit one of the best museums in the world – as it has not only some incredible archaeological artefacts (you can plan your own free tour here) but also the best AC in Oxford! Of course, we’re talking about the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
The Ashmolean museum is an Oxford must-see (and it's free!). Also a fresh option for a hot summer day.

Visit a Farmer's Market and Grab a Bite

Good news is: Most Oxford markets are open all year round. However, they are much more enjoyable when you can combine them with some sun and a healthy walk – especially when shopping for groceries and delicatessens. Oxford has many markets. For example, this summer you can visit East Oxford Farmers’ and Community Market, South Oxford Farmers’ and Community Market, Gloucester Green Market (right in the middle of the city), and the popular Covered Market

East Oxford Farmers' and Community Market
East Oxford Farmers' and Community Market, one of Oxford's most rewarding summer visit.

Find the Perfect Summer Read

Blackwell’s Bookshop is, most definitely, an Oxford institution. This place opened its doors in 1879 (that’s… over a hundred summers ago!). Sure, it’s not everyone’s ideal summer activity, but this is Oxford after all, and we all know Oxford is full of (us) nerds! So why not visit this unique place, and find your next summer read? Blackwell’s has (on top of many, many books) a cafe. So you can finish your shopping tour with a little coffee on the sunny curb. 

Shops to See in Oxford: Blackwell's Bookshop. A Massive Historical Store. Image courtesy of Chuca Cimas.
A must-see in Oxford: Blackwell's Bookshop. A Massive Historical Store. Image courtesy of Chuca Cimas.

Visit Oxford's Castle and Think of Summers Past

Visiting Oxford Castle will give you a chance to see one of the city’s oldest buildings – and marvel at its architecture that has survived many a summer intact. Plus, during the summer there are several events that take place in the castle’s yard. For example, Oxford Shakespeare Festival. There are several other historical places you can visit in summer during the summer. For example, the Bodleian Library, the Saxon Tower of St Michael, or Christ Church Cathedral

Oxford Castle and Prison - Image courtesy of Meraj Chhaya
Visiting Oxford Castle and Prison is a perfect summer activity, because this historical place has plenty of open air spaces and holds regular events.

Go Punting

If you live or study in Oxford, or you’re visiting the city this summer, you should consider going punting. No matter how long you’ve been here, this is something everyone needs to try at some point! Punting on the Cherwell is a very memorable activity – and a perfect idea for a romantic date. You can get started by going to Magdalen Bridge, at the end of Oxford’s world-famous high street. 

Punting on the Cherwell River
Punting on the Cherwell River is a perfect summer activity and must-do for Oxford visitors and residents alike.

Have a Summer Night Drink

Summer is not just the sunny days. It’s also the warm nights! And what better place to have a nice cold drink than one of Oxford’s many bars and pubs? For example, FREUD Café and Bar used to be a 19th-century church Today in the Oxford suburb of Jericho. Today, it’s a trendy bar where you can enjoy a cocktail while enjoying a view of the pre-Raphaeolite glass windows!

Oxford Bars: FREUD. Image courtesy of Joanna Penn
FREUD is one of the best bars in Oxford, and an excellent idea for a summer night.

Watch a Play at the Oxford Shakespeare Festival

Each summer, you will have three Shakespeare classic plays to enjoy during the Oxford Shakespeare Festival. The plays are performed by different companies that are based locally. While some of them are more traditional, others have explored a wider spectrum of themes. For example, there was a sci-fi Romeo and Juliet play not long ago! The festival takes place in the Oxford Castle & Prison’s yard from June to August (there are plays all days except Sundays). 

The Oxford Shakespeare Festival in the yard of Oxford Castle.
FREUD is one of the best bars in Oxford, and an excellent idea for a summer night.

Explore the Little Oxford Shops

Oxford is home to several shops you’d hardly find in other locations. For example, one such secret place is Alice’s Shop. But there are others. Harry Potter fans will find countless trinkets to explore in the Shop of Secrets – not exactly an Oxford exclusive but one of the biggest HP’s merch places outside of the studios. 

Oxford Shopping: Alice's Shop
Oxford has many original and cute shops you won't find anywhere else. For example, the Alice's Shop.

Visit the Colleges

If you’re a student and you have finished with your exams… the last thing on your mind right be going into a college – no matter which one it is. However, summer is the perfect time to visit some Oxford Colleges because their quads tend to be filled with green. If you’re a visitor or tourist in Oxford, you’ll find colleges are quite cheap to visit (just £2 for most of them), and you’re allowed into a lot of their best corners. As a student, you’re usually allowed into them too. So why not explore uni life a little more, and make some new friends in the process?

Oxford University - Balliol College Gardens. Image courtesy of Randy Connolly via Flickr Commons.
Oxford University - Balliol College Gardens. Image courtesy of Randy Connolly via Flickr Commons.

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