Liz Nicholls takes a peek behind the Oxford Open Doors event taking place this weekend

Good news for the curious: it’s the city’s open season once again.

Oxford Open Doors this weekend offers such a jam-packed roster that the only struggle will be deciding what you can fit in.

More than 130 institutions, from university colleges, charities and community groups to places of worship and sports clubs will offer you a free, warm welcome.

Run annually by Oxford Preservation Trust, one of this year’s themes will be Shakespeare in this, the 450th year since the Bard was born. Creation Theatre will enact famous Shakespearean speeches, sonnets and monologues, touring the City on the Sunday with performances at Exeter College, The Sheldonian Theatre, The Museum of Natural History, The Old County Court Rooms, Worcester College and Keble College. From 1-4pm, the Ashmolean Museum will display amazing items from their collection from Shakespeare’s time.

For the first time, the world-famous home of the University’s Egyptology collection the Griffith Institute, Lincoln College and the stonking new John Henry Brookes building at Oxford Brookes and Maggie’s Oxford Centre designed by leading architects Wilkinson & Eyre, will be on show.

Oxford’s Register Office opens its doors too, with its intriguing history of hatches, matches and dispatches.

Archives contain the birth, marriage and death records of many famous people including Agatha Christie and Winston Churchill. The morbid can also delve into more unusual inquests or head to St Sepulchre’s Cemetery in Jericho which offers you the chance to hunt down your ancestors and find memorials to fallen heroes of The Great War and famous names.

Open Doors is issuing free ‘passports’ for children and an interactive Science Fair at Nuffield Department of Medicine.

Oxford Castle Quarter’s Castle Mound and punishment cells will be unlocked and you can take a free vintage bus ride at Oxford Bus Museum in Bonn Square (with free goodies for children, too).

If you want to explore further afield, there are talks and tours outside the city centre. Florence Park estate turns 80 this year with a craft, tea and story party on Saturday, Oxford Stadium and home of Oxford United, the Kassam Stadium open their gates and film fans can enjoy talks at the Ultimate Picture Palace just off Cowley Road.

Debbie Dance, director of Oxford Preservation Trust said: “There are so many events and activities throughout the weekend that there really is something for everyone”.

To find out more about all of the activities and venues for Oxford Open Doors, visit 

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