Spend a week living at historic Oxford University and sample life as a student at Merton College. Study with renowned Oxford tutors and delve into one of our fascinating courses.

Starting at: $4,995 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Merton College, Oxford University  Welcome reception at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings  Oxford tutors (July 2018). Credit: Wade Jennings  Smithsonian Journeys travelers during lecture break. Credit: Wade Jennings  The dining experience at Merton College, with High Table. Credit: Wade Jennings  Conversation over dinner. Credit: Wade Jennings  The dining experience at Merton. Credit: Wade Jennings  Introduction to Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings  Smithsonian Journeys travelers at a lecture. Credit: Wade Jennings  Merton College Library  Interior of the Merton College chapel. Credit: Wade Jennings  The chapel at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings  The quadrangle at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings  Smithsonian Journeys travelers at Oxford. Credit: Wade Jennings  Smithsonian Journeys travelers during a lecture break. Credit: Wade Jennings  Smithsonian Journeys traveler at Merton. Credit: Wade Jennings  Enjoying a few moments at a local pub. Credit: Wade Jennings  Lecture break at Merton. Credit: Wade Jennings  Housing at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings  Garden walkway at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings  The gardens at Merton College. Credit: Wade Jennings  An evening walk near Merton. Credit: Wade Jennings  Skyline of the medieval town of Oxford  On excursion at the Birmingham Museum. Credit: Wade Jennings  Interactive exhibit at the Staffordshire Hoard. Credit: Wade Jennings  Treasures of the Staffordshire Hoard. Credit: Wade Jennings  The beautiful Oxford skyline  The Radcliffe Camera, Oxford  Bridge of Sighs landmark, Oxford University  View near Oxford's Main Street  Loch along the Thames River, Oxford  Sculptural detail found in Oxford

Smithsonian at Oxford

8 days from $4,995

Spend a week living at historic Oxford University and sample life as a student at Merton College. Study with renowned Oxford tutors and delve into one of our fascinating courses.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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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.

I love Shakespeare; I love to study and to study Shakespeare at Oxford and to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform is a dream come true!

- Blanche M.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Overview

Spend your mornings learning from an expert from Oxford's Merton College. For July 2019, choose from five featured course subjects: The Archaeology of Britain, The Age of Winston Churchill, Medieval Castles, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire, and The Legendary History of the British Isles. Please select your course at time of booking to ensure your choice!  Space is limited for each course.  (Information on experts can be found on the Enrichment tab.)

Classes will be interspersed with excursions, including a visit to Pembroke College, which was attended by James Smithson—the founding donor of the Smithsonian Institution. Each course will also feature an additional special excursion tailored to its theme.

The Archaeology of Britain

In the 5th century, Britain ceased to be part of the Roman Empire and witnessed profound transformations, including the end of urban life, substantial migration from the Continent, a complete political restructuring, and abrupt discontinuity in processes of production and exchange: a situation many would call “systems collapse.” Learn about the events of the next half millennium and the rise of many complex developments, including the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, trading sites, towns, churches, and monasteries, punctuated by Viking raids culminating in the establishment of the Danelaw.

Field Trip: Visit the Staffordshire Hoard in Birmingham, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found.

The Age of Winston Churchill

Study Winston Churchill’s political career from 1900 to 1955 and gain an understanding of the profound political and social changes that took place in Britain over his lifetime. He was considered by many contemporaries to be a figure trapped by history as much as he was steeped in it. His influence continues, not just through the way he shaped events as a war leader and peacetime politician, and in the example he gave of a certain political style, but in his voluminous writing about Victorian times and great events in his own lifetime, the First and Second World Wars.

Field Trip: This class features a field trip to Chartwell, Churchill’s country house and home for over four decades.

Medieval Castles

Castles were the great powerhouses of the Middle Ages. They were the centers of conquest and oppression, the seats of government, and the luxurious homes of the ruling classes. This course will examine the castles of medieval England and Wales, from their arrival with the Normans in the 11th century to their evolution into country houses in the 15th century. Explore their architectural development, the balance between fortification and domesticity, and consider ways to both attack and defend a castle. Sources include the standing remains of these once-proud buildings and the written evidence of poets, chroniclers, and clerks, as well as delicate imagery taken from medieval illuminated manuscripts. Together, they form an exciting picture of power in the Middle Ages.

Field Trip: Visit Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, first built by the Normans and the site of key events in England’s history.

The Rise and Fall of the British Empire

This course puts the rise and fall of the British Empire in the context of global history with a special focus on America’s impact. Discuss key developments in both the imperial homeland and the colonies. Examine formal and informal aspects of the empire, and contrast the image projected by the empire with reality.

Field Trip: Participants in this course will travel to Dashwood House in West Wycombe, built in the 18th century as a pleasure palace for Sir Francis Dashwood.

The Legendary History of the British Isles

All three of the major British language groups, the English, Welsh, and Gaelic speakers have their own rich traditions of legendary history. King Arthur, the best known legendary figure, is first found in Welsh literature but was adopted throughout European literature. We will look at some of the stories of Arthur and Merlin, but also at the strange Welsh Mabinogion stories, and at the deeds of the Irish hero Cuchulain and the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf. We will ask ourselves how we should interpret these texts today, and look at what they tell us about the original tellers and listeners, where they might have come from and to what extent they allow us to have a window on the past.

Field trip: The excursion for this course will focus on local Oxford legends. Visit Binsey Church with its holy well said to have been created in answer to the prayers to St. Frideswide (the patron saint of Oxford), and the ruins of Godstow Abbey where Rosamund Clifford—known in legend as the Fair Rosamund—was buried. 

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.

I love Shakespeare; I love to study and to study Shakespeare at Oxford and to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform is a dream come true!

- Blanche M.

July 2019 Itinerary

Our July 2019 course selections include The Archaeology of Britain, The Age of Winston Churchill, Medieval Castles, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire, and The Legendary History of the British Isles. Please enroll in your choice of course subject at the time of booking. 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. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner and plenary talk. (D)

Days 3–7 — Oxford

Lectures take place at Merton College, Oxford University.

Course Subjects: The Archaeology of Britain, The Age of Winston Churchill, Medieval Castles, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire, and The Legendary History of the British Isles.

Excursions: Explore highlights of Oxford, including the connection between James Smithson (the founding donor of the Smithsonian Institution) and the university, which he attended as a student. 

Plus, take an additional special excursion tailored to your specific course. Those enrolled in The Archaeology of Britain will visit the Staffordshire Hoard in Birmingham, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found. The Age of Winston Churchill features a field trip to Chartwell, Churchill’s country house and home for over four decades. Those in the Medieval Castles course will travel to Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire. The excursion for The Rise and Fall of the British Empire will be a trip to Dashwood House in West Wycombe. Travelers in The Legendary History of the British Isles will visit Binsey Church and the ruins of Godstow Abbey, where Rosamund Clifford—known in legend as the Fair Rosamund—was buried. (B,L,D) ​

Day 8 — Oxford

After breakfast transfer to Heathrow Airport for individual flights back to the U.S. or travel to London for the optional extension. (B)

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

September 2019 Itinerary

The Vikings and The Development of Politics and Society in Victorian England. Please enroll in your choice of course subject at the time of booking. 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. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner and plenary talk. (D)

Days 3–7 — Oxford

Lectures take place in Oxford.

Course Subjects: The Vikings or Victorian England.

Excursions: Explore highlights of Oxford, including the connection between James Smithson (the founding donor of the Smithsonian Institution) and the university, which he attended as a student. 

Plus, take an additional special excursion tailored to your specific course. Those enrolled in The Vikings will visit the Burghal defenses at Wallingford—the earthwork defenses and street layout of an Anglo-Saxon town created as part of King Alfred’s defenses against the Vikings. Travelers in Victorian England will visit Hughenden Manor: the former home of the celebrated and controversial Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli– and a great favorite of Queen Victoria herself. (B,L,D)​ 

Day 8 — Oxford

After breakfast transfer to Heathrow Airport for individual flights back to the U.S. or travel to London for the optional extension. (B)

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