Be a tourist in your own city: Free City Sightseeing bus tours for Oxford residents

Published: Monday, 17th August 2020

Oxford residents will get the opportunity to be a tourist in their own city with free tour on the City Sightseeing Oxford open-top bus.

Oxford City Council, Oxford Bus Company and the Oxford Mail have teamed up to provide the opportunity.

Everyone living in OX1, OX2, OX3, OX4 and OX5 will be able to cut a free voucher from the Oxford Mail.

The offer will run from today (17/8) until Friday 4 September.

The offer is part of the City Council and Oxford Mail’s Rediscover Oxford campaign, which aims to encourage people to visit Oxford city centre.

City Sightseeing tour

The City Sightseeing Oxford bus tour, which is operated by Oxford Bus Company, will take people on an open-top double-decker bus through Oxford city centre for about one hour.

The tour will describe Oxford’s history and as it takes in the city’s famous sites, including the Oxford Castle, Christ Church College, Magdalen Bridge, Sheldonian Theatre and Ashmolean Museum.

The audio commentary is available in 14 languages, and a version for children – which includes quizzes – is also available.

For more information about the tour, and to see the timetable, please visit:

Safety during tour

All City Sightseeing Oxford buses are cleaned thoroughly every night, and buses are taken out of service at the end of every trip for additional cleaning of touch points and commentary units.

Bus drivers are provided with PPE (personal protective equipment), and souvenir face coverings are made available to purchase for £2.50 from City Sightseeing Oxford ticket sellers, Queen’s Lane Visitor Information Point and Carfax Tower for passengers who have not brought their own or would prefer to wear an Oxford branded face covering.

Terms and conditions

A free voucher will be available in the Oxford Mail on 17, 19, 21, 25, 27 and 31 August, and 2 and 3 September.

The voucher will be valid for bus tours between Monday and Friday from Monday 17 August to Friday 4 September 2020.

Each voucher enables one person to travel for free, but a family can buy multiple copies of the Oxford Mail to collect multiple vouchers.

People will need to bring the free voucher, a proof of address and a form of identification with them.

The proof of address could be a utility bill. The same name must be on both the proof of address and the ID.

Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

The bus driver will collect the free vouchers when you get onto the bus, and exchange the voucher for a valid 24-hour ticket, allowing people to hop-on and hop-off to explore Oxford further.

The voucher only provides free access to the City Sightseeing Oxford bus tour. It does not provide free access to City Sightseeing’s walking tours.

Electric buses

One of Oxford Bus Company’s City Sightseeing buses is now fully electric, making it the first electric double-decker in service in Oxford. There are plans to add more electric buses to the fleet

The buses were upgraded after the City Council secured funding from the Government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund.

“Sitting upstairs on a double-decker bus is certainly the best way of seeing Oxford. Most of the time I’m on my bike, which is too low a vantage point to see much of the beautiful and ornate stonework throughout the city centre.

“There is so much to see in Oxford city centre. Even for someone who has lived here for years, there are still so many hidden treasures to discover – and the Oxford City Sightseeing tour is a great way to start that discovery.

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to team up with Oxford Bus Company and the Oxford Mail to provide this free offer, and I would encourage Oxford residents to take advantage of it.”

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for City Centre, Covered Market and Culture

“We’re proud to take part in this important Rediscover Oxford campaign. The tourism industry is a vital part of Oxfordshire’s economy and it is encouraging to see key stakeholders pulling together for the overall good of the city.

“Oxford is a beautiful historic city and our open-top bus tours are a fantastic value for money way to see the sights and rediscover Oxford. We have enhanced cleaning regimes on our fleet after each trip and have put social distancing measures in place to ensure our passengers are safe.

“We have partnered with the Oxford Mail and Oxford City Council to provide a fantastic free offer for residents to rediscover Oxford via our open top bus tours and we look forward to welcoming all on-board.”

Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford City Sightseeing