Oxford Walking Tours

Coronavirus Information

Last updated:

National lockdown restrictions ease from , allowing up to six people or two households to meet outdoors (other than for exercise).  Thus we are able to resume providing walking tours, which for the time being will be outdoors only.

We are now accepting bookings for all tours, and will refund any cancellations due to COVID-19. 

We’re accredited by Visit England as “Good To Go”, which confirms our tours are COVID-secure – i.e. an appropriate risk assessment has been carried out, and suitable processes are in place.

We ask that you (and our guides) follow WHO advice and UK government guidance to minimize transmission of the virus, in particular keeping two metres apart from anyone outside your household (or support bubble).

Please see the sections below for more information.

Tours

Content

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

While meeting indoors is restricted to a single household (or support bubble), it is unlikely you will be able to see inside buildings on a public tour.

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.  It should be possible to stand briefly outside college gatehouses and peek in, but please be mindful of physical distancing and allow plenty of space for anyone going in or out. 

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, Pricing, and Group Sizes

At the moment, we are not receiving significant numbers of visitors and group sizes are usually very small, so you can expect an intimate yet socially-distanced tour.  We are limiting overall group sizes to make it easier to maintain physical distancing (see below for more details).

While most large private group tours would not be permitted, we are offering Private ‘Bubble’ Tours priced at £50.00 per group, with a maximum group size of 5.

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-paid.

Tours will be running on-demand only until ; booking 20 hours in advance is required for tours before then.  Ghost Tours will similarly be on-demand until .

Other speciality tours may be booked, but please bear in mind that most colleges and 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.

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 party that exceeds the limit on the number of people who may meet socially in an outdoor public place.  From , this is no more than 6 people (including all children), except as a single household or support bubble.

There may be other groups on public tours, but you should not socialize with them even if they include people you know.  Note that the restrictions on people meeting do not apply to the overall tour group size (just as they would not apply to the total number of people in, say, a garden centre), but apply to individual groups who arrange to attend a tour together.

We are currently aiming to keep tour group sizes to a maximum of around 15, so that it should be easily possible to maintain physical distancing at all times during the tour.  However, if you feel uncomfortable with number of people in your tour group in relation to this aspect, please alert us as soon as possible so that we can take account of it.

Physical (‘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

If visiting inside a building, you would 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.

The guide will not normally be wearing a mask outdoors, as this would impede communication, but can do so on request when conducting private tours.

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 that has to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions you are entitled to a refund of the purchase price of the tickets.

We will also refund any other cancellation due to COVID-19 (e.g. you have symptoms), provided you advise us before the time of the tour, and any cancellation made at least 48 hours in advance.

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.

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