Oxford University Press

Address: Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, United Kingdom
Telephone: 01865 353527 (direct to the OUP archivist)

- Free


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.

Value for money

Expert tips

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.

Tours take 45 minutes and should ideally be booked two weeks in advance.

Recommended for

  • Culture vultures
  • Mature travellers
  • Education
  • History
  • Design and architecture