The bus station is right by Gloucester Green which is where the Wednesday market is held. Here you will find a few shops and restaurants including Thirsty Meeples, a board game cafe for all ages much loved by students and families www.thirstymeeples.co.uk/
Similarly, Oxford Castle www.oxfordcastleunlocked.co.uk/ with a mound you can climb, a tour of the former prison and a bit of open space to run around in. The University Museum of Natural History in Parks Road is stunning, full of dinosaurs, fossils, shrunken heads (in the Pitt Rivers at the back) and much, much more.
Pick up a tourist map and you will find a peaceful canal walk close to the bus station. You can walk all the way to ancient Port Meadow if you're keen.
From St Aldates it's a short walk down to Christchurch College, beautiful quad and Oxford Cathedral and just beyond, Christchurch Meadows, gorgeous walk in spring especially and will take you all the way to the river. You can take a boat trip to nearby Abingdon and back.
I can recommend the Tree Hotel in Iffley Village. You'd have to check the prices or look on booking.com but it's very pretty there and is a short bus ride into the centre or a wonderful walk beside the Thames from Iffley Lock. The University usually only has rooms in the vacations and nowadays not even then but it's worth a try.
I can heartily recommend accommodation in the University! I used www.universityrooms.com and we had marvellous accommodation at Keble College. You'll need to check the locations of the colleges in relation to where you want to be, but I can confirm that there were children staying where we were. A very special experience to stay in beautiful surroundings at a very modest cost. Breakfast was served in the Great Hall and we opted for dinner there, too, which was wonderful - probably not suitable for children, though.
Try the "days out with the kids oxford" there really is so much to do, the Pitt Rivers Museum is always a hit with children as is the castle tour.On St Aldates the gardens and river walk of Christ Church University is wonderful.Try booking.com for accomadation. Enjoy your trip.
I shall be visiting Oxford at least three times in the next couple of months and am looking for advice. We are taking our twin grandchildren who are nine to the Ashmolean museum and I was wondering if there was anything else for children in Oxford bearing in mind that one is autistic and has minimal attention span. Does anyone know of a reasonably priced hotel or B &B relatively near the theatre ? I am meeting an old friend and if the weather is nice we would like to sit and natter in a park.Is there one near the bus station or near St. Aldates ?