The Beginner’s Guide to Oxford

Known as the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ Oxford is definitely a city worth visiting. Plus the five park and ride stops around the city means it’s super easy to reach the centre. So here’s a handy guide into some of the top unmissable sites of the city.

Best Places for Architecture:

Being home to the oldest English- speaking university in the world Oxford has plenty of impressive buildings to spot. Many of the university’s college buildings are dotted throughout the city including that of Brasenose and Christchurch. And of course you can’t talk about the architecture without mentioning the round building of the Bodleian library.

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Located down New College Lane is the Bridge of Sighs, which is named after a similar structure in Venice. The original bridge in Venice was named as such as it was the path along which prisoners were lead from their examining rooms to their cells and ultimately the executioner. It is thought that many prisoners would sigh from the sadness of their fate as they captured their last glimpse of Venice.

 

Best Places for History:

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There are plenty of historic buildings throughout the city but one of the most impressive has to be Oxford Castle, with over 1,000 years of history. There’s loads to see including after dark ghost tours and an escape room. Part of the prison has now been converted into a hotel where you can spend the night sleeping in a former cell.

 

 

 

Best Places to Escape the Hustle and Bustle:

If you’re looking to take a break from the crowds and traffic of the city there are some surprising places to relax. A short distance down the Oxford Canal lies the village of Binsey. Along the way there are some great views to soak up of the surrounding rural scenery , cows and water birds. Or head in the opposite direction to explore The River Thames. During summer Salter Steamers carry out boat rides down the river, allowing you to explore further outside Oxford.

 

Best Places for Culture:

If you decide to explore the River Thames make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the Oxford University rowing boat houses. The city is famous for holding is annual rowing boat race against students from Cambridge University. You can also visit the Sir Roger Bannister athletics track which is named after the student who broke the world record for running 1 mile in 3 minutes 59 seconds. The Eagle and Child pub is also a must – CS Lewis and Tolkien were regular visitors, Infact there are many other literary connections throughout the city, the buildings inspired Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials Trilogy and Christchurch College is thought to be where Alice entered Wonderland. And many of the buildings were used as Hogwarts during the filming of the Harry Potter series.

Oxford University rowing boat houses

 

Best Places for a Trip With the Girls:

The most obvious place that springs to mind in Oxford when you hear that phrase is the Westgate Shopping Centre. I however, was very underwhelmed whilst visiting particularly by the selection of shops. I think your time will be far better being spent exploring the more unique parts of the city that can’t be seen anywhere else. That being said there were a few nice cocktail bars that are definitely worth recommending – The Alchemist and Dirty Bones. Or in Bath Place is the Turf Tavern which has a more relaxed environment and outside seating space.

There’s something for everyone in Oxford and you definitely won’t be disappointed when you visit!

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