Exercising For Free in Oxford: 9 Free Activities and Where You Can Find Them

With summer and its gorgeously long evenings in swing, you might feel like it’s time for some fresh air or a boost for your mental health. Perhaps you have a fitness goal, feel that you need to counterbalance those BBQ feasts, or are just more inclined to emerge from the latest series of Stranger Things. Whatever your reason, we have some advice on where you can exercise for free in Oxford and Oxfordshire – good for trying out something new and much kinder on your wallet. 

Here are 9 free activities you can start in order to start exercising for free in Oxford!


Walking is not only fantastic exercise but a real boost for your mental wellbeing. There are many trails to explore both in the city and throughout Oxfordshire. To start off, you can even simply walk around your local area – I recommend your favourite music or podcast for company. 

Places to Walk in Oxford

  1. Oxford University Parks (with paths heading out towards Marston).
  2. The Thames Path – You can follow the path all the way through Oxford from Iffley Lock to Osney and Port Meadow. The path also runs in the opposite direction to Abingdon. 
  3. Shotover Country Park – an excellent choice to get away from the city. 
  4. Christ Church Meadow – free and open to the public. 
  5. Any local parks – see more info below. 
Thames Path, Dorchester, Abingdon. Photo by: Lawrence Hookham, Oxfordshire

I recommend the All Trails website to look for local routes. It’s free (you can pay for extras but it’s not necessary) and has walks of varying length and difficulty.  


Park Run is extremely popular and well established worldwide, and there’s no shortage of groups in Oxfordshire, including Bicester, Abingdon and Witney. Find the closest one to you on their website

A picture containing grass, outdoor, person, child
Description automatically generated
Photo by: Arek Adeoye. 


If you live in Oxford, cycling is an easy way to keep fit. On top of your daily routine, take a look at this wonderful group called Joyriders, which runs free cycling events specifically for women. 

Outdoor gyms

You might have seen a few outdoor gyms (also called trail gyms/fit trails) dotted around Oxford, and quite frankly, they’re great. No need to pay for a gym membership! The Oxford City Council website has a list of locations and equipment at each one. 

Wild swimming

Wild swimming is increasingly popular, and it’s not unusual to see people taking a dip at Port Meadow or elsewhere along the Thames. Many wild swimmers love the exhilaration and the boost it gives their mental wellbeing. This Red Kite Days blog lists a few spots to try out.

A person swimming in water
Description automatically generated with medium confidence
Credit: Sajad Fi. 


If you’re looking for some free exercise to do with friends, a local basketball court is a great option. The city locations can be found on the Oxford City Council website. Booking isn’t possible – just turn up. 

Skate parks

Already a pro, or fancy a challenge? As it happens, Oxfordshire has a good number of skate parks! The Skateparks Project has location and facility information. 

Outdoor table tennis 

When I hear ‘outdoor exercise’, I usually think walking, jogging, or cycling – but why not table tennis? It’ll certainly keep you on your toes and is good for those with a competitive streak. Plus, the kids will enjoy it too. There are many free tables throughout Oxford. 

Parks and green space

Oxford residents are blessed with green space. Parks are excellent spots for football, table tennis, dog walking, and for children’s play areas. The Oxford City Council website has a list of parks, including general and sports facilities information. 

A group of trees in a field
Description automatically generated with low confidence
Oxford University Parks. Credit: Kyle Bushnell. 

Need any more inspiration? Oxford City Council has ideas and information on this page of their website: https://www.oxford.gov.uk/goactiveoutdoors. Please just remember to stay safe, particularly if you are trying out a new type of exercise. 

There’s no excuse now! Get yourself outside and enjoy the physical and mental boost that a bit of exercise gives. If you want to find more Oxford gems whilst on your walk, find out more about the top 6 historically significant places to visit in Oxford City Centre here!