Vanbrugh House




Calling all Instagram photographers! Our picturesque city is full of beauty spots. No matter the weather, everywhere you turn there are inspirational image opportunities aplenty. In this blog, our Oxford hotel shares the most Instagrammable photography locations in the city of dreaming spires.

Magdalen Bridge Boathouse

Discover vibrant colours against a beautiful waterfront backdrop at Magdalen Boathouse! With the most colourful array of punts along the River Cherwell, Magdalen Bridge Boathouse provides stunning scenery, whether you’re on the water or off. Stand at the top of the bridge and point your lens downstream to capture large trees bending lazily over the water, then visit the punts lined up along the water for a tranquil image. To get closer to the action, hop on a boat and take in the views from the river itself; a photo of someone steering from within the boat is always an amazing image. No matter whether you’re behind the photos or standing in front of them, your Instagram feed will delight in this splash of colour.

Plan your visit: Magdalen Bridge Boathouse


Radcliffe Square

You can’t visit Oxford without going to take in the beauty of the infamous Radcliffe Square. While definitely not hidden, this square is still one of Oxford’s most loved gems. The building featured in the centre is the Radcliffe Camera, a library and an excellent example of neo-classical architecture from the mid-18th century. Zoom in on the finer details to appreciate the design’s intricacy, but make sure to get some wide-angle shots of the square, too. If you’re using your phone camera without adjustable lenses, you could try a panorama to take in the whole square, just make sure to keep your hands steady. Our top tip: crouch down low to take a great shot every time.

Discover how to get there and plan your route here: Radcliffe Square, Oxford


The Oxford Bridge of Sighs

Discover an architectural masterpiece and a classic Oxford landmark. Taking its nickname from the original Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Hertford Bridge joins two parts of Hertford College and is a great architectural photo opportunity. Particularly stunning at sunset, this Grade II listed bridge is only accessible to the public from the outside, but that’s the best part. Get a little closer and tweak your camera’s exposure to spy the red brick underbelly, or take a picture directly down the centre of the street for a great composition. This also makes for the perfect angle to photograph friends and family standing beneath the structure.

Learn more about the history of The Bridge of Sighs here: The Bridge of Sighs, Things to do and see in Oxfordshire


The Narnia Doorway

Discover the famous door that inspired C.S. Lewis to write the magical tale of Narnia. Down St Mary’s Passage lies this intricately cut wooden doorway, featuring a lion flanked by golden fauns. Whether you’re posing with the creatures or simply capturing the history and magic of the area, this is a truly magnificent photography spot. The famous street light is also nearby, making for another amazing image, particularly when featuring people. Although wonderful at all times of year, visiting in the snow will have you believing you’ve stepped through the wardrobe yourself.

Learn how to get there and visit the Doorway: Narnia Door Oxford


Christ Church Garden

Nature lovers will delight in the gardens of Christ Church, where you can capture beautiful floral arrangements and explore history. Exterior photographs of the famous church are enhanced with wildlife, as shown above, providing a complementary contrast of nature and architecture. This magical outdoor space also holds the door to the Deanery garden, which inspired Alice in Wonderland. Alice was the Dean’s daughter, and the Cathedral Garden was the one she was not allowed in. You can even see the Cheshire Cat’s horse chestnut tree.

Explore the gardens and plan your trip here: The University of Oxford, Gardens and Meadows


The Oxford Botanical Gardens

The Oxford Botanical Gardens

If you’re looking for the most beautiful spot in Oxford, you’ll find it at the Oxford Botanical Gardens. The gardens are home to over 5,000 different plant species, making it the perfect place to snap a good picture.  Get lost walking through the wildflower meadow, discovering different angles and close-ups of the flowers there. For book fans, you can even visit ‘Will and Lyra’s Bench’ from the His Dark Materials trilogy located in the lower garden. Look out for the beautiful Daeman statue that’s definitely worth a good photo for your Instagram!

Plan your visit here: Visit Oxford Botanical Garden


Holywell Street

Holywell Street

To get an aesthetic shot for your feed, you can’t beat a row of colourful houses! Head to Holywell Street in central Oxford to walk down and soak up the history and surroundings. It’s one of Oxford’s most vibrant streets and home to some lovely pastel houses in pink, purple and yellow. For the perfect shot, we’d recommend asking a friend to take a photo of you while you stroll down the street in front of the houses. 

Explore the history and how to get there: Holywell Street Oxford


The Skyline from The Varsity Club

The Skyline from The Varsity Club

Taking pictures of Oxford is thirsty work, so head up to The Varsity Club for cocktails and panoramic views over the city. Here you’ll be able to get some gorgeous shots of the city’s skyline while sipping on Aperol Spritz. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate your Oxford staycation in style while capturing memories to last a lifetime.  To find The Varsity Club, simply find the staircase beside the High Street entrance to the Oxford Covered Market, and climb your way to the top. 

Book a table by visiting The Varsity Club website: The Varsity Club


The Rose and Crown

Everybody knows that colourful buildings make for an excellent photo opportunity, and The Rose and Crown is no exception. Featuring a pink exterior, bright flowers and cosy lanterns, it’s one of the prettiest spots in Oxford to stop for a drink. Point your lens up at the pink building, capturing the beautiful hanging baskets in front. Although this pub is a slight walk away from the centre of Oxford, we promise you, it’ll be worth it! 

Plan your visit and book a table here: Rose and Crown Oxford


Oriel Street

Oriel Street

For a mix of colour and historical buildings alike, Oriel Street is the place to be. This enchanting passage is a narrow street that runs between the High Street and Oriel Square. Get lost as you wander down the street, snapping pictures as you go. In your shots, you’ll get the contrasting colours of the rainbow buildings vs. the historical college wall, making for a great addition to your Instagram feed. 

Discover Oriel Street’s history and learn more here: Oriel Street Oxford.


Whether you’re a professional or amateur, our city of dreaming spires has a plethora of photo opportunities for you to explore. Our boutique hotel seamlessly blends with the architecture and romance of the city and is another historic spot to discover. 

Find out the stories behind our rooms and check availability here: Vanbrugh House Hotel Rooms

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