Ralph Jones is a writer and comedian based in Oxford who has written for Sunday Times Magazine, the Guardian, the New Yorker and Wired among others. Previously he was a staff writer at Shortlist, where he interviewed Jack Black, Paul Rudd and more. 

Ralph Jones

Ralph Jones

Contributing Writer, Oxford

Articles (3)

The 25 best things to do in Oxford right now

The 25 best things to do in Oxford right now

The world-class museums. The scenic waterways and parks. The hallowed halls and libraries and corridors where Nobel Prize-winners, prime ministers and literary giants spent their formative years. Oxford is chock-full of brilliant things to see and do, and best of all, many of them are free to visit.Sure, several of the most famous attractions – from punting and choir services to galleries filled with ancient treasures – have something to do with the city’s storied university. But alongside all the Oxbridge buzz, you’ll find a rich industrial past, meandering rivers crying out to be explored by kayak or paddleboard, and a strong arts and music scene that brings a little edge to this most conservative of cities. Read on for the best. RECOMMENDED:🏛️ The best museums in Oxford🍴 The best restaurants in Oxford🏨 The best hotels in Oxford This guide was recently updated by Ralph Jones, a writer based in Oxford. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines. 

The 23 best restaurants in Oxford right now

The 23 best restaurants in Oxford right now

Oxford really does live up to its reputation as one of the UK’s most beautiful places, and it’s got the restaurants to match. But dining here isn’t all dainty Victorian conservatories, art gallery roof-tops and riverside pubs (although those are on the menu) – there’s a creative, diverse culinary scene here, too.  Feast upon the likes of Tibetan momos, Slovak goulash and Keralan curries, alongside high-end tasting menus, hotel restaurants and more. Whether you’re here for a day-trip or a full-blown staycation, you’re guaranteed to eat well in Oxford if you take our advice. Here are the best restaurants in Oxford. RECOMMENDED:🌤️The best things to do in Oxford🏛️The best museums in Oxford🚞The best places to visit in the UK This guide was last updated by Ralph Jones, a writer based in Oxford. Contributions and original photos by Oxford local Etain O'Carroll. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines. 

Munya Chawawa is the funniest man on the internet

Munya Chawawa is the funniest man on the internet

‘Londoners have a great sense of humour,’ says Munya Chawawa, over an orange juice in a West Hampstead bar. ‘It’s a coping mechanism, even if we don’t readily admit to it being one.’ He knows there are lots of things in this city that could be ‘really quite depressing’ if you think about them for too long: ‘Oppressively high rent, long, rattling tube journeys every morning, saying to friends, “Yeah, we’ll catch up”, knowing that’s basically a ten-year promise.’ So these things have to become jokes. This is the Chawawa ethos: when the reality is properly grim, why not cheer people up? With a small country’s worth of people on social media now hanging on his every word (Chawawa has 1.1million followers on TikTok and 965,000 on Instagram), the comedian has the ability to cheer up a lot of people. But he wasn’t always so social-media savvy. When he was 17 years old, his younger sister begged him to let her create a Facebook account for him. The reluctant teenager was ‘petrified’ of social media, he says, and only agreed if he could hide behind a pseudonym. The name he chose? ‘Arnold Milky’. Chawawa has come a long way since then. But in a way, he’s still Arnold Milky. Photograph: Jess Hand The world at his feet Over the last two years, Chawawa and his character comedy have lifted our mood. His ability to create a topical video in the time it takes to refresh your Instagram feed is seriously impressive, and this year looks like a good one to be in his shoes.  For someone whose f

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Ashmolean Museum

Ashmolean Museum

What is it? Slap bang in the middle of Oxford, the Ashmolean dates back to the 17th century and is the oldest public museum in Britain, specialising in art and artefacts. Is it worth visiting? Undoubtedly one of the finest museums in the world, the Ashmolean’s many highlights include Pre-Raphaelite paintings, a Stradivarius violin probably worth more than an entire country, and art from some guys you might have heard of: Picasso, da Vinci, Michelango and Raphael. The Ashmolean has always been impressive. When a renovation helped it double in size 15 years ago, it became even more impressive. Is the museum free to visit? You’ll only be charged if you want to eat something or take something home with you in a bag. Looking at the exhibits is wonderfully, blissfully free. The museum recommends booking (free) tickets in advance if you want to jump the queue for particularly popular features. If this all feels too good to be true, you can, of course, always contribute a donation while you’re there. Where’s good to eat nearby? If you’re feeling flush then straight across the road is Oxford’s poshest hotel, the Randolph, which offers afternoon tea and a cracking steak among other things. But, if you want to walk a bit farther but spend a lot less, Ramen Kulture is a great and cosy Japanese joint on St Giles’. In the other direction and closer to the city centre is Gloucester Green’s Sichuan, whose spicy Chinese food – including frogs’ legs – is bound to wake you up. 📍 Discover more

Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum

Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum

What is it? Owned by the university, the Botanic Garden and Arboretum is the oldest botanic garden in the UK. This means that when it was founded – in 1621 – it was for reasons of medicinal research. Open to the public, it’s a gorgeous green jewel in Oxford’s crown. Is it worth visiting? One of the most picturesque sights in Oxford – and that’s saying something – the Garden is big enough to drown out the noise of the city and let you wander around stroking roses and gazing at the River Cherwell, which runs alongside it. It has been inspiration for some of the country’s most famous authors, including Lewis Carroll, Philip Pullman, and JRR Tolkien. Yes, it’s spectacular. Is it free to visit? Though you can peer into the Garden from outside, to officially be allowed inside you need to pay for a ticket, which will set you back £7.20 if you’re unfortunate enough to be an adult.  Where’s good to eat nearby? You’re spoilt for choice here, with this spot lying between the city centre and the trendier East Oxford bars and bistros. Head east, then, to Shiraz Persian at the bottom of Cowley Road. Here you’ll find the best Persian food in the city at incredibly reasonable prices.  📍 Discover more of the best restaurants in Oxford

University of Oxford Tours

University of Oxford Tours

What is it? Fascinating glimpses into the innards of various University of Oxford colleges and libraries, home over the years to a great many geniuses. Is it worth visiting? If you are a huge fan of Harry Potter, beautiful buildings, or both, this is absolutely worth doing. For anyone who likes Simon Schama documentaries and imagining an alternative universe where they studied at Oxford, it is also essential. If you’re visiting Oxford at your own pace, and want the freedom to roam, you may want to cut loose and do your own thing instead. Is it free to do? The University of Oxford doesn’t offer these tours themselves. A few tours, many of them given by current students looking to fill up their CVs, are indeed free. For others you will be expected to pay around £25. Where’s good to eat nearby? Because the university’s colleges are spread evenly around the city, you could be feeling peckish anywhere. Most of the action, however, is likely to be not too far from the fantastic Vaults and Garden Café on Radcliffe Square, and the trendy, wisteria-clad restaurant Victor’s is a stone’s throw away from the iconic Christ Church, which only a fool would neglect to include in a tour.  📍 Discover more of the best restaurants in Oxford