Oxford Walking Tours

Coronavirus Information

Last updated:

Restrictions due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have eased, and we have been able to resume our regular daytime tours, subject to certain limitations (see below). 

If you fancy a day trip out, or a short break or Autumn holiday in the UK, we can assure you that Oxford is still much quieter than normal.

As far as we are aware, none of our guides or sellers have been infected with COVID-19 or shown any of the symptoms.

However, we ask that you (and our guides) follow WHO advice and UK government social distancing guidance to minimize transmission of the virus, in particular keeping two metres apart from anyone outside your household (or ‘support bubble’).  When visiting inside the Divinity School, you will be required to wear a face covering (unless you have an exemption).  Please see the sections below for more information.

Tours

Content

Most colleges remain closed to visitors for the foreseeable future, so we are currently unlikely to be able to take you inside colleges. 

We will instead intend to visit the Old Schools Quad (a Harry Potter film location) and inside the Divinity School (which is now open to visitiors).  However, there are restrictions on visitor numbers to these locations and we cannot absolutely guarantee they will be included.  Also, they close at 4pm and cannot be included in a tour starting at 4pm.

We will of course show you the colleges from the outside, and you will still be able to see most of Oxford’s fine architecture.

Although Magdalen and Christ Church colleges are now open to visitors, the former is somewhat off the beaten track to include with less than one mile of walking, and both charge a significant entrance fee that we would not be able to include in the current ticket price.  With agreement from the entire group (including paying the additional admission charge), we may be able to take you inside one of these colleges.  Otherwise, it should be possible to stand briefly outside college gatehouses and peek in, but please be mindful of social distancing and allow plenty of space for anyone going in or out.  If you would like to visit inside a college with a professional guide, we would suggest booking a private tour – please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Our guides have a great knowledge of history, and many uniquely-researched stories to tell. 

Despite (or perhaps because of) the current restrictions, one recent customer was more than satisfied:

Availability and Pricing

At the moment, we are not receiving significant numbers of visitors and group sizes are usually very small, so you can expect a socially-distanced, intimate tour.

We recommend advance booking online directly via our website, though will soon be able to accept contactless payment at the time of the tour if you have not pre-booked.

Other speciality tours may be booked, but please bear in mind that most colleges and many other buildings are currently closed to visitors.

Our guide, Iain, spoke to BBC South Today on about the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on tourism in the region:

Advice to Minimize Transmission of the Virus

We are not health experts, and in the first instance would refer you to the following resources:

The general advice is

  • Keep at least two metres apart from anyone not in your own household (or ‘support bubble’);
  • Wash your hands regularly with hot water and soap/detergent for at least 20 seconds:
    • in particular, do so as soon as you come in to your place of residence or anywhere you are going to be spending any length of time, before touching anything;
    • if soap/detergent and hot water is not available, a hand sanitizer with a greater than 60% alcohol content is recommended;
    • “antibacterial” products might be ineffective unless they have other qualities – COVID-19 is a virus;
  • Catch any sneezes or coughs in a tissue and properly dispose of the tissue in a bin as soon as possible; wash your hands afterwards;
    • This applies regardless of whether a sneeze or cough may be related to another issue such as hay fever or smoking;
    • If you don’t have a tissue to hand, use the inside of your elbow;
  • Try to avoid hand contact with your face.

Studies have shown that humans instinctively touch their face almost subconsciously, thus we think it might also be prudent to regularly wash your face according to the same guidelines.

Walking-Tour-Specific Advice

In the sections below we have interpreted the guidance and law for the context of a walking tour.

Group Size Limits

You must not attend a tour as an individual group of more than six people (including all children), except as a single household or ‘support bubble’ (or, before , no more than two households or ‘support bubbles’).

There may be other groups on the tour, but you should not socialize with them even if they include people you know.

Social Distancing

You should always keep at least two metres apart from anyone not in your own household (or ‘support bubble’).  It should be at all times possible to maintain such a distance on a walking tour and therefore there is no reason to relax this to one metre in any but the most exceptional circumstances.

Given that the guide will be doing most of the talking, projecting breath forwards, we suggest standing further back from the guide than this.

When moving between one place and the next, avoid walking in single file if possible (to avoid breathing in air that has just been exhaled by the person in front).  If that is not possible, leave a bigger gap than 2m and walk slowly.  The guide will wait.

(Outdoors, when at each location, perhaps also be aware of which way the wind is blowing and try to avoid standing directly downwind or upwind of another person.)

Masks

When visiting inside the Divinity School, you will be required to wear a face covering (unless you are exempt on grounds of age, health or disability); however, these are not mandatory for the outdoor parts of the tour.

If You Think You Might Have Coronavirus

If you have any of main the symptoms, or have been in contact with anyone who has within the last seven days, we respectfully ask, for the benefit of everyone, that you do not attend the tour (we will refund your ticket price).

The main symptoms are

  • a persistent dry cough;
  • a body temperature above 37.5°C (99.5°F; fever) –
    • you will “know about it” without necessarily needing a thermometer, and
    • if someone were to touch your chest or back (they should wash their hands afterwards), you would feel hot to them – and/or
  • loss of sense of smell or taste (anosmia).

Other symptoms may include fatigue, muscle aches (myalgia) or headache.

Refunds and Cancellations

If you have booked a tour scheduled for between and , you are entitled to a refund of the purchase price of the tickets.

  • If you booked directly through us, please contact us to arrange a refund or reschedule.
  • If you booked through GetYourGuide, you should already have been refunded; if not, please contact them.
  • If you booked through Tripadvisor Experiences, please contact them to arrange a refund or reschedule.

We will also refund any cancellation due to COVID-19 after this, provided that you advise us before the time of the tour.

As this is our livelihood (we need to feed our children, etc.), if there’s any possibility that you could postpone rather than cancel your booking, we would be exceedingly grateful.

Nuisances

Anyone wilfully not following health guidelines, advice or instruction will be removed from the tour in accordance with our terms and conditions, for the benefit of everyone.

Feedback

If you have any concerns that the content of this page is misleading or inaccurate, please direct them to .