Oxford is a beautiful city located in the county of Oxfordshire in England, just about an hour and a half away from London. Famous for its prestigious University of Oxford, the city boasts a rich history and culture, beautiful architecture, and scenic landscapes. Whether you are a Harry Potter fan or an avid traveler, Oxford is a destination you cannot miss. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on visiting Oxford, including things to see and do, where to eat and drink, and how to get there.
Things to See and Do:
Visit Oxford University and its Colleges
A visit to Oxford would not be complete without exploring the University of Oxford and its 38 colleges. The university is not only one of the oldest in the world, but also one of the most prestigious, having produced many famous alumni, including Stephen Hawking, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Bill Clinton. You can take a guided walking tour of the university and its colleges or explore them on your own. One of the most famous colleges is Christ Church, which has a rich history and stunning architecture. Parts of the Harry Potter movies were filmed here, making it a must-see for fans of the series.
Oxford Castle and Prison
For those interested in history, the Oxford Castle and Prison is a must-visit attraction. The castle dates back to the 11th century and was used as a prison until the 1990s. Today, it has been converted into a museum and hotel, offering visitors a glimpse into the city’s dark past. You can take a guided tour of the castle and its underground crypts, climb the Saxon St. George’s Tower for panoramic views of the city, and even stay overnight in a converted cell.
Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Natural History is another top attraction in Oxford, housing an extensive collection of specimens from the natural world, including dinosaur skeletons, fossils, and insects. The museum is located in a stunning neo-Gothic building, making it an excellent spot for photography. Admission to the museum is free, although donations are welcome.
Oxford City Centre
The city centre of Oxford is a vibrant and bustling area, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes. You can spend hours exploring the streets and admiring the architecture, especially the Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library, and Sheldonian Theatre.
Where to Eat and Drink:
- The Eagle and Child: The Eagle and Child is a historic pub that dates back to the 17th century, and was a popular meeting spot for famous writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. The pub serves traditional British pub food and a selection of local ales.
- The Covered Market: The Covered Market is a bustling indoor market that dates back to the 1770s. It houses over 50 traders selling everything from fresh produce to souvenirs. You can also find a variety of cafes and restaurants offering local and international cuisine.
How to Get There:
- By Train: The easiest and fastest way to get to Oxford from London is by train. Trains run regularly from London Paddington and Marylebone stations, with a journey time of around one hour.
- By Bus: There are several bus companies that operate between London and Oxford, including National Express and Oxford Tube. The journey time is around two hours, depending on traffic.
- By Car: If you prefer to drive, Oxford is easily accessible from London via the M40 motorway. However, parking in the city centre can be challenging, so it is best to park outside and take public transport into the city.
Visiting Oxford is a must-do day trip from London, offering visitors a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you are interested in exploring the city’s famous university and colleges, or simply strolling through the charming streets, there is something for everyone in Oxford. So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and head to this picturesque city for a memorable day trip.
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Suggestion for Visiting Oxford:
If you have more time to spare, consider staying overnight in Oxford, as there is much more to see and do. You can explore the countryside, visit nearby villages
and towns, or take a relaxing punt ride along the River Thames. Some other attractions worth exploring include the Ashmolean Museum, Pitt Rivers Museum, and Botanic Gardens.
If you are a fan of Harry Potter, consider taking a guided tour to see some of the filming locations used in the movies, including Christ Church College and the Bodleian Library. You can also visit the Harry Potter Shop, located on the High Street, to find all sorts of magical souvenirs.
For those looking for a more immersive experience, consider staying in one of Oxford’s historic colleges, which offer comfortable accommodation during the summer months. You can also attend a concert, lecture, or play at the Sheldonian Theatre, which has been hosting events since the 17th century.
Overall, visiting Oxford is a wonderful way to spend a day or more, and with so much to see and do, it is no wonder why the city attracts millions of visitors each year. From its historic university and colleges to its beautiful architecture and scenic landscapes, Oxford is a destination you will not forget. So, plan your visit today and experience the best of this charming city.