A day out in Oxford with Treasure Hunt Oxford
Last weekend I was given the opportunity to see my home city through the eyes of a tourist as I headed to Oxford to take part in a guided route around the city with Treasure Hunt Oxford. Aimed at those wanting to explore some of Oxford’s hidden gems as well as the typically touristy areas too, Treasure Hunt Oxford makes for a quirky way to see one of the UK’s most popular cities. As I was born in Oxford and have lived in Oxfordshire my whole life, I know the city extremely well and of course have visited Oxford many times before, but this tour actually took me to some places I had never been to which was a pleasant surprise! I brought my two sisters and one of their boyfriends along for our day out and the weather was amazing which definitely helped, but we had such a lovely day. Here’s a little bit more about Treasure Hunt Oxford and what we got up to on our day out…
About the Treasure Hunt team
Founded by best pals and business partners Ian & Paul, Treasure Hunt UK is designed to showcase hidden areas of some of the UK’s best loved cities. As well as Treasure Hunt Oxford, you can also play the game in a number of other UK cities including Bath, Cambridge, Manchester, Liverpool and York. Ian & Paul had set up an internet security company which wasn’t going particularly well, but in a last ditch attempt to create something fun they put together a treasure hunt game instead. Paul wrote up some clues and planned a route around his home city of Liverpool, whilst Ian put his art degree to good use and drew the maps and, before they knew it, they were up and running on WhatsApp and Treasure Hunt was born!
The Treasure Hunt team are very flexible; if your plans change or the weather isn’t great you can cancel for free and rearrange for another time. The Treasure Hunts are best suited to adults and children over the age of 8; there is lots of walking involved and younger children may struggle to keep up the pace, plus the clues were hard enough for us adults so I can only imagine that the kids would find it a lot harder!
How it works
Once you’re all booked in and have chosen your date of play, you will receive an email 48 hrs before the game with a link to instructions which need to be downloaded ahead of your game. I didn’t open the link until we were actually at the start point at Oxford Castle and it was absolutely fine – the download is just on a web browser and each player can open the link on their phone separately so you don’t have to just rely on one phone during the game. You’ll then be sent a series of clues by Treasure Hunt Oxford’s very own Captain Bess, who will be your virtual guide for the day.
Each clue will lead you to your next location around the city, and you’ll be asked a number of riddles which need answering before you can continue. Some of the riddles were actually quite difficult and we certainly needed to use the ‘hint’ button a few times! We learnt a lot about Oxford throughout the day though and I really enjoyed the historical references that were part of the clues – we even noticed things about the city we had never seen before, like a mural of St George and his dragon high up on the corner of St Michael’s street, something I would never have spotted had Captain Bess not told us to look up!
The sights you’ll see
During our day with Treasure Hunt Oxford we saw all the classic Oxford landmarks including the Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library, Sheldonian Theatre, Carfax Tower and the Bridge of Sighs to name but a few. We also walked through the Covered Market, the Westgate Shopping Centre and criss-crossed our way through some of the famous college buildings of Oxford University. As each clue is revealed you cover more areas across the city and end up seeing most of Oxford by the time the game is over. The treasure hunt started at Oxford Castle, located right next to Westgate, and finished up at St Aldates, near to the Royal Blenheim pub.
We passed countless pubs, bars, cafe’s and restaurants along the way and the best thing about Treasure Hunt Oxford is that you can take as much or as little time as you like to play the game. We completed it in 3hrs 9mins and that was because we stopped to use the toilets a few times and also had an hour long lunch break in the middle! The treasure hunt covers approximately 3 miles of walking so it’s a great way to discover the city on foot and get your daily steps in too. As the tour is private and self-guided, you don’t need to meet any other people to physically take part, and it’s all outside so you can adhere to social distancing at all times too.
As you can tell, I had a lovely day out taking part in Treasure Hunt Oxford and it made for something really unique to do, especially for someone who has visited Oxford hundreds of times before! I love my home city so much and I will never get bored of it, but it can feel quite samey sometimes, so it was nice to do something a little bit different on this visit. A huge thanks to Treasure Hunt Oxford for having me, and I can’t wait to take part it another of their treasure hunts in a different UK city very soon! If you’d like to book a game of your own head over to the Treasure Hunt website and enter my unique code JWJ-BLOG-10 to receive a 10% discount at the check out until the end of 2021!
NB. My tickets for the game were gifted by Treasure Hunt Oxford but, as always, all views are of course my own. I did not receive payment for this article.