Uncover Oxford with a tour guide

Round & About

After deciding 30 years behind a desk was enough, Joanna Hamilton trained to become an accredited member of the Oxford Guild of Tour Guides. What will you discover on a tour of the famous city?

Do you know your own backyard? Oxford residents are bracing themselves for the summer arrival of visitors who flock to the city to find out more about the dreaming spires and their surrounds, but how much do you know?

Many of these visitors take a tour to learn about the city, it’s famous university, the great (and not so great) who have studied and worked here – and, of course, our literature and film locations from C.S. Lewis to Harry Potter!

But it’s often more local visitors, old and young, who discover the most and enjoy seeing familiar sites with fresh eyes. Members of the Oxford Guild of Tour Guides are all trained and accredited and offer a more personal experience for curious local as well as overseas guests. We also have exclusive visiting arrangements to some of our famous colleges.

No two tours are ever the same. All guides cater for people’s individual interests – be that history, architecture, famous books (from the Oxford English Dictionary, Alice in Wonderland and our own Inspector Morse, film locations (you can see me in the opening sequence of Mama Mia 2 which was filmed in New College’s stunning hall with Bjorn from Abba!) to the story of the City and the University from Saxon times, through the beginnings of the University (lots of violence as well as study and religion) through to the current day, the turbulence of the 16th and 17th Century when Charles I set up court here and what is going on in Oxford now…

And the stories can be told while wandering our lovely medieval streets. Even in the busy summer, you can organise a tour for early morning or later afternoon to avoid the crowds. Or wrap up warm and take a tour during the quieter winter months.

People often book tours as gifts for family and friends (I did a funeral party once and also a wedding group) or local businesses looking to treat their staff or VIP customers.

You’re sure to find out so much more about places that we all know – but do not always know much about.

Every day I learn something new, not just about Oxford, but about the history of our country and the rest of the world. I also get to meet such interesting people and have an excuse to immerse myself in the work of notable characters and scientific innovations connected with our beautiful City.

You can find a Guide (you may know some of us!) at www.oxfordguildoftourguides.co.ukĀ