Last weekend the sky was blue and I had a great time with my kids on a self guided themed family walking trail around Oxford. Great fun for the whole family to discover Oxford city centre on a day out with kids. Cryptic clues, maps, fascinating facts and amazing to discover a city that I moved to over 20 years ago!
Treasure Hunt Oxford kindly gifted the experience for me to enjoy with my family. However I didn’t receive payment and views are my own. If you’ve been following Red Kite Days for a while you’ll know that I only include honest reviews of places and experiences that I would recommend to my friends. If it doesn’t hit the mark then it doesn’t get included on Red Kite Days.
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Sounds intriguing? Let me tell you a little more without giving away too much.
What is Treasure Hunt Oxford?
Treasure Hunt Oxford is a fun walking tour perfect for families, hen parties or even a work team building event, but with a very big twist. Instead of just following a map and some information, instead you discover Oxford through a fun treasure hunt.
Cryptic clues to solve are sent to your phone on a WhatsApp style interface so it’s really easy to use. Find the answer, submit it and if you’re correct you’ll get the next clue. The riddles are not too easy and not too difficult so you definitely get a challenge. If you get stuck you can message for a clue.
The Oxford treasure trail has a pirate theme with Captain Bess as your guide. We followed the suggestion of choosing a navigator, first mate and lookouts which worked really well. With each child having a role they were really invested in the adventure and hardly noticed that they’d walked for over 2 hours by the end. The route is all suitable for pushchairs too. My 8 and 10 year old were able to really get into the clue solving and map following. My 4 year old was just happy to be out and about and being first mate!
In between the clues to solve there are also sections of map so a good mix between cryptic puzzles and making progress through the city.
Treasure Hunt Oxford Sights
The walking tour treasure hunt takes you past lots of the most amazing and famous sights in Oxford but solving the clues makes you slow down and really look around. I’ve never looked up or down or peered through gateways so much and seen so many of the little details. What’s great is that once you’ve answered a riddle you also get some fun and interesting facts linked to what you’ve been looking at. Don’t yawn at this point, they are actually really fascinating!
Always essential when you’re out with kids is where to find toilets and snack breaks! Current lockdown means less options but there are lots of cafes open for takeaway and you can always pack up snacks and drinks and bring with you like we did. There are public toilets open at the Covered Market.
When things finally open up a little again, I’d definitely recommend a quick pit stop to the Turf Tavern, a grade II listed pub and one of my old favourites. Drinking guests at the Turf have included CS Lewis, Bill Clinton and Stephen Hawking and Inspector Morse. It’s got a little outdoor area area and is hidden down a narrow alley. Half the fun is slipping down there Harry Potter style. St Helens Passage is close to the Bridge of Sighs which the walking tour leads you right under.
There’s no way I would normally get my three kids to walk for 2.5 hours around Oxford city centre but add in a fun treasure hunt with cryptic clues and maps and they had a brilliant time. In fact, we all did. It was great to do something as a family that wasn’t just for the kids but something that my husband and I really enjoyed too. I would recommend this whether you’re local to Oxford or visiting as a tourist.