With temperatures soaring, and the school holidays on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about how to entertain the kids this summer.
But fear not, Oxford is a great place to be, whatever your budget. Whether your kids are into history, dinosaurs, picture books, or just after a good time, then Oxford has a feast of treats to offer all the family.
1. The Story Museum
“Stories are the most important thing in the world. Without stories we wouldn’t be human beings at all.”
– Phillip Pullman
We all love a good story, and great news – Oxford’s best loved story museum is open every day throughout the summer holidays! Celebrating the coming-together of authors, artists, teachers, volunteers and, of course, children, The Story Museum offers a variety of both free and paid-for events. Over the summer break you’ll be able to check out:
- Summer Story Makers – A week-long experience exploring the museum’s interactive exhibitions and story worlds, where you can create your own dramatic stories using theatre, story-telling and puppetry. Age: primary age, £160; 31st July-4th August.
- The Elephant’s Garden – A hands-on event to help Jane Ray create a magical collage garden as part of her exotic tale of The Elephant Garden. Ages 5-10; £7/£5; 26th August.
- The Canon – This sketch show features contributions from William Shakespeare to EL James, offering a witty insight into some literary favourites. Ages: Teenagers; £8/£6; 14th July
Pembroke Street, Oxford
2. The Dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History
You can’t come to Oxford without visiting some of its oldest inhabitants… from the Jurassic era!
The Museum of Natural History boast over 1,200 dinosaurs in its collection, from the world’s first named dino, the Megalosaurus Bucklandii, to the famous Tyrannosaurus Rex which came from Devon in 1992.
Open 10-16.30 Tuesday-Sunday, 12- 16.30 Monday; Free
South Parks Road, Oxford
3. The Mummies at the Ashmolean
The Ashmolean museum is a great choice for kids. Not only is it free, but it has a vast range of interactive activities available to children all year round.
A firm favourite is the Ancient Egyptian and Nubian galleries on the ground floor. It covers over 5,000 years of human history, exhibiting several mummified bodies, one of whom had been found to have no heart.
Open 10am–5pm Tuesday–Sunday; Free
Beaumont Street, Oxford
4. Oxford Castle Unlocked
Oxford Castle offers around 1,000 years of history behind its spooky walls. Back in 1066, when William the Conqueror invaded England, Oxford Castle was named as the best place for a motte-and-bailey castle.
But today, you are invited to:
- climb St George’s tower, one of Oxford’s oldest buildings with amazing views of Oxfordshire
- descend into the dungeons to the 900-year old remains of St George’s crypt
- explore the 18th Century prisons
- and ascend the 11th Century mound of the motte-and-bailey castle.
Open 10am – last tour at 16.20; Adult £10.95, children £7.75, under 5s Free, family £35.
New Road, Oxford
5. Hinksey heated outdoor pool
After all that history and culture, it’s about time you take your kids to cool off in Oxford’s outdoor (heated) pool. As temperatures are set to soar this summer, Hinksey Pool is a great place for families to hang out and splash about.
Although the pool’s been providing memories since 1934, it has recently been refurbished with nicer changing areas. It is also heated and offers a fun area for the less serious waders like you and me. However, it does provide lane swimming for those who like to keep fit. The site also offers plenty of space for chilling out, and a cafe for a spot of light refreshment.
Open 7am-8pm July-August; Adult £6.20, U16/60+ £4.10, Family £18.40
Abingdon Road, Lake Street, Oxford