Oxford University Press

Price guide: Free

Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP

Price guide: Free

Oxford University Press
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By Adrian Mourby, your Oxford expert

I write for Classic FM, Evening .... Read more
#10 of 21
expert-rated things to do in Oxford
Expert overall rating:3.9 out of 5
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Culture vultures, Mature travellers, Design and architecture, Education, History

Expert review of Oxford University Press

The historic home of the Oxford English Dictionary.

OUP is world famous because of the Oxford English Dictionary, the most frequently quoted arbiter on the use of the English language, regarded by many as the ultimate arbiter. The press was started in the 14th century and gained royal recognition in the 1580s when Robert Dudley, one of Elizabeth I’s favourites and Chancellor of the University, petitioned the queen.

OUP was based for many years in the Clarendon Building. Its current home - in which books such as the OED and Alice in Wonderland were first printed - was erected in 1830. It’s an impressive, spacious neo-classical construction that many mistake for a wealthy college. Free tours around this building and its museum can be arranged with Martin Maw, the OUP archivist.

The museum tour explains the history of Oxford University's involvement in printing and publishing from the 15th century to the present day. It also features the Oxford Almanacks, accounts of the first printing of Alice in Wonderland, a 19th-century printing press and 17th-century fell types (metal letters brought from the Netherlands to revolutionise printing in the UK). Visitors can also access OUP's latest publications online.

Expert tips: 
Tours take 45 minutes and should ideally be booked two weeks in advance.
Parking nearby is on well-patrolled meters. Don't risk running over your time!
OUP is in Jericho with Walton Street nearby. There will be no shortage of places to eat and drink afterwards. Try Bookbinders (17-18 Victor Street; 01865 553549 )if you like the idea of an inflatable crocodile, a bicycle and a train set hanging from the ceiling. There are also board games to play.

More information on Oxford University Press:

Price guide:
Architectural site, Museum
Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP
01865 353527 (direct to the OUP archivist)
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Mon-Fri 10am–4pm, admission by prior arrangement only. Closed Bank Holidays and between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day.
Free tags / Keywords:
Literature, Oxford English Dictionary, Alice

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