Stimulate your mind in pursuit of knowledge as you experience life as a student at Oxford University for a week. Choose a fascinating course of study, live at historic Merton College, and explore the charming town of Oxford and historic sites relevant to your coursework.

Starting at: $5,995 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Merton College, Oxford University
Merton College, Oxford University
 Oxford tutors (July 2018). Credit: Wade Jennings
Oxford tutors (July 2018). Credit: Wade Jennings
 Welcome reception at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
Welcome reception at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
 The dining experience at Merton College, with High Table. Credit: Wade Jennings
The dining experience at Merton College, with High Table. Credit: Wade Jennings
 Conversation over dinner. Credit: Wade Jennings
Conversation over dinner. Credit: Wade Jennings
 The dining experience at Merton. Credit: Wade Jennings
The dining experience at Merton. Credit: Wade Jennings
 Introduction to Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
Introduction to Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
 Smithsonian Journeys travelers at a lecture. Credit: Wade Jennings
Smithsonian Journeys travelers at a lecture. Credit: Wade Jennings
 Merton College Library
Merton College Library
 The quadrangle at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
The quadrangle at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
 The chapel at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
The chapel at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
 Interior of the Merton College chapel. Credit: Wade Jennings
Interior of the Merton College chapel. Credit: Wade Jennings
 Smithsonian Journeys travelers at Oxford. Credit: Wade Jennings
Smithsonian Journeys travelers at Oxford. Credit: Wade Jennings
 Smithsonian Journeys travelers during a lecture break. Credit: Wade Jennings
Smithsonian Journeys travelers during a lecture break. Credit: Wade Jennings
 Smithsonian Journeys traveler at Merton. Credit: Wade Jennings
Smithsonian Journeys traveler at Merton. Credit: Wade Jennings
 Enjoying a few moments at a local pub. Credit: Wade Jennings
Enjoying a few moments at a local pub. Credit: Wade Jennings
 Smithsonian Journeys travelers during lecture break. Credit: Wade Jennings
Smithsonian Journeys travelers during lecture break. Credit: Wade Jennings
 Lecture break at Merton. Credit: Wade Jennings
Lecture break at Merton. Credit: Wade Jennings
 The beautiful Oxford skyline
The beautiful Oxford skyline
 Housing at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
Housing at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
 Garden walkway at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
Garden walkway at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
 The gardens at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
The gardens at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings
 An evening walk near Merton. Credit: Wade Jennings
An evening walk near Merton. Credit: Wade Jennings
 Oxford
Oxford
 The Radcliffe Camera, Oxford
The Radcliffe Camera, Oxford
 Bridge of Sighs landmark, Oxford University
Bridge of Sighs landmark, Oxford University
 View near Oxford's Main Street
View near Oxford's Main Street
 Loch along the Thames River, Oxford
Loch along the Thames River, Oxford
 Sculptural detail found in Oxford
Sculptural detail found in Oxford

Smithsonian at Oxford

8 days from $5,995

Stimulate your mind in pursuit of knowledge as you experience life as a student at Oxford University for a week. Choose a fascinating course of study, live at historic Merton College, and explore the charming town of Oxford and historic sites relevant to your coursework.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

The Smithsonian at Oxford provides an accessible educational experience, nicely balanced with opportunities to visit nearby sites of interest. The Smithsonian at Oxford also provides an opportunity to experience true student life again.

- Christopher B.

Living and studying in a centuries-old setting that famous people have lived is just...awesome!!

- Philip P.

The warm reception we received at Merton College made us feel that we really were Oxford students — a very special sense of belonging.

- Lyn G.

The Oxford University tour was an extraordinary chance to delve into the history, architecture, and erudition of Oxford. The Merton College tutor was prepared and dedicated. Fellow travelers provided the extra inspirational touch! Amazing....

- Katherine M.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Overview

Activity Level 2: Moderate

Expectations: Week-long stay based in one destination. Light pace with daily activities of four to six hours and independent time for personal interests. Most activities take place at Merton College or within walking distance. Included day excursions outside of Oxford are by motor coach and may be a full day, with walking tours of up to three miles, depending on the course selection. Throughout the program, walking may be over uneven pavement and cobblestones, and may entail some stairs without handrails. Note that Merton College does not have elevators and some travelers may need to ascend several flights of stairs in order to reach their rooms. Please see the Accommodations tab for more information on Merton College.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

The Smithsonian at Oxford provides an accessible educational experience, nicely balanced with opportunities to visit nearby sites of interest. The Smithsonian at Oxford also provides an opportunity to experience true student life again.

- Christopher B.

Living and studying in a centuries-old setting that famous people have lived is just...awesome!!

- Philip P.

The warm reception we received at Merton College made us feel that we really were Oxford students — a very special sense of belonging.

- Lyn G.

The Oxford University tour was an extraordinary chance to delve into the history, architecture, and erudition of Oxford. The Merton College tutor was prepared and dedicated. Fellow travelers provided the extra inspirational touch! Amazing....

- Katherine M.

Itinerary

2025 course selections include:

June

  • The Monarchy and the British Constitution, 1660-2023
  • Secrets and Spies: Britain and the Second World War
  •  Life, Legacy, and Literature of Charles Dickens
  •  The Rise & Fall of the British Empire

September

  • Archaeology of Great Britain
  • Jane Austen in Context
  • The Rise & Fall of the British Empire
  • Keeping the Homes Fires Burning: Life in Britain 1939-1945

Full course descriptions can be found under the Tour Details tab. Please indicate your top three choices of course subject at the time of booking. Final assignments will be determined based on traveler interest. Enrollment is limited. 

Day 1 — Depart the U.S for London

Depart the U.S. for London on individual flights.

Day 2 — London, Oxford

Arrive in London this morning and transfer to Oxford. Settle into your en suite dormitory lodgings at Merton College, the university’s first self-governing college, established in 1264. This evening, gather for a welcome dinner and plenary talk. (Meals: R, D)

Days 3–7 — Oxford

Delve into life as a student during morning classes in your chosen course at Merton College. Meet for lunch at the dining hall and in the afternoons, enjoy an organized excursion, expert lectures, or free time to get acquainted with the university and the town. Take part in an Oxford tradition with a High Table dinner, typically prepared for university fellows and their guests. 

Excursions: Take a guided tour of the historic and cultural highlights of Oxford town, and gain insights into the British educational system and the university’s role in it. Hear the story of James Smithson, a leading British scientist who attended Oxford—and later became the founding donor of the Smithsonian Institution. Alternative afternoon excursions are available for return travelers. In addition, take a field trip tailored to your specific course:

  • The Rise & Fall of the British Empire: Travel to Sezincote House in Gloucester, constructed in 1805 when British India was becoming the “jewel in the crown” of the world’s largest empire.
  • The Monarchy and the British Constitution, 1660-2023 :  Visit Windsor Castle in Berkshire, the royal residence associated with the English and then the British royal family, and learn about its rich architectural and cultural history.
  • Secrets and Spies: Britain and the Second World War: Tour Bletchley Park, an estate outside London where the famous codebreakers of World War II worked to crack the Germans’ Enigma code—as depicted in the acclaimed movie The Imitation Game.
  • Life, Legacy, and Literature of Charles Dickens: Visit the Charles Dickens Museum, a typical Georgian terraced house where Dickens lived while writing Oliver Twist.
  • The Archaeology of Great Britain: Venture to the intriguing World Heritage site of Stonehenge and Avebury and learn about the latest theories about the sites’ significance  and recent archaeological finds.  
  • Jane Austen in Context: Travel to the village of Chawton to tour the Jane Austen House Museum, set in a cottage where the author lived for the final eight years of her life. Continue to the nearby Chawton House Library, a historic Elizabethan home that houses the Centre for the Study of Early Women’s Writing.
  • Keeping the Homes Fires Burning: Visit the Imperial War Museum and gain insight into the experiences of everyday people during the war; and tour the Churchill War Rooms, top-secret underground headquarters where Churchill and his network determined the course of World War II.

On your final evening, gather with your fellow Smithsonian students for a farewell reception followed by a celebratory dinner. (Meals: 5B, 5L, 1R, 5D)

Day 8 — Oxford

After breakfast transfer to Heathrow Airport for individual flights back to the U.S. (Meals: B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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