Library guided tours

A group of people stand around a tour guide - they are all looking to their left

Library guided tours

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 30, 60 or 90 minutes

 Divinity School, Old Bodleian Library

 Available in English

  Suitable for ages 11+

  Book tickets in advance

For upcoming closures in May, please check our Plan your visit page.

A trip to Oxford is incomplete without a visit to the world famous Bodleian Libraries.

The Bodleian Library dates back to 1488, with the library, as it stands today, opening in 1602 by Sir Thomas Bodley. In its reading rooms generations of famous scholars have studied through the ages, amongst them monarchs, Nobel Prize winners, British Prime Ministers and writers including Oscar Wilde, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

We offer three guided tours of the Bodleian Library:

30 minute library tour

  Daily

  £9 per person

Discover the Bodleian Libraries’ medieval origins. Admire the elaborately carved gothic ceiling of the Divinity School featuring over 400 crests and other images, see the pulpits and benches where students and tutors once debated, and visit Oxford University’s oldest reading room, the stunning Duke Humfrey’s Library.

You will see the Divinity School and Duke Humfrey’s Library


60 minute library tour

 Daily

 £12 per person

Delve into the drama of the university and stories of student high jinks. Starting in the Divinity School and ending in the exquisite Duke Humfrey’s Library, hear how Oxford University maintained order in the 17th-century and also housed King Charles I’s parliament whilst the King was resident in Oxford during the English Civil War (1642–1651).

You will see the Divinity School, Convocation House, Chancellor’s Court, and Duke Humfrey’s Library.


90 minute library tour

 Wednesdays and Sundays

 £18 per person

Experience 600 years of history on an in-depth journey from the 15th-century Divinity School and Duke Humfrey’s Library to the iconic 18th-century Radcliffe Camera via the 21st-century Gladstone Link.

Discover beautiful domed reading rooms, fan vaulted ceilings, late gothic architecture and underground tunnels as our experienced guides reveal the fascinating history and secrets of the Bodleian Libraries.

You will see the Divinity School, Convocation House, Chancellor’s Court, Duke Humfrey’s Library, Gladstone Link and the iconic Radcliffe Camera.

Library tour information

  • Guided tours are conducted in English.
  • All tours include a number of stairs and some walking, no lift is available.
  • The routes and times of tours may change, please check with staff.
  • Only children over the age of 11 years are permitted on guided tours.
  • Children aged 11–16 must be accompanied on tours by a responsible adult, as our guided tours enter into Duke Humfrey’s Library which is still a working library.
  • Tickets can be booked up to one month in advance online.
  • We reserve the right to cancel any tour at short notice. In case of cancellation any pre-purchased tickets will be refunded.
  • For more information, contact the Tours team.

*Please check our plan a visit page for information and unexpected closures.

 

In the shop

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What else to do on your visit

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Contact the Tours team


 +44 (0)1865 287400
 tours@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

Our office hours are Monday–Friday, 9am–4pm

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