What first comes to mind when Oxford is mentioned, is of course Oxford University. And while the University and it’s history dating back to the 12th century are central to the town, there is so much more to explore. Just a quick trip away from London and the hustle and bustle of the big city, you’ll find yourself along quiet alleyways, medieval spirals and age old bookshops and pubs.
I’ve highlighted below some of my favourite spots in the city and surrounding areas and hope you’ll take away some key tips.
Getting there & Getting around
As it’s only about an hour outside of London, it is quite easy to travel to. I tend to use GoEuro just as a brief check to see what will be the quickest way depending on the season/weekend. The site can be used from any cities throughout the UK, so not just for Londoners.
Once you’re in the city, I’d recommend getting around by bike or by foot – just for the experience.
Things to do
There are tons of museums and colleges you can see just by taking a walk around, so I would highly recommend going by foot for this beautiful city. Not to miss, I’d suggest a visit to the Christ Church college, known famously for Brideshead Revisited, associations with Lewis Carroll and also the location for the filming of the first Harry Potter film. Also nice, is the Christ Church meadows- a great place to relax with nice views.
As far as museums go, I’d highly recommend the Ashmolean – no surprise. Recently having undergone redevelopment, the Ashmolean is Britain’s oldest public museum, having been founded in 1683.
Aside from museums and colleges, take a look at the Hertford Bridge (Bridge of Sighs) – a quaint pedestrian bridge for the students of Hertford College which has popularly become known as the “Bridge of Sighs” of Oxford.
Lastly, take a walk around the vast Blackwell’s Books – founded in 1879, the 10,000 square foot Norrington Room excavated beneath Trinity College Gardens laying claim to being the largest space dedicated to book sales in Europe.
Food & Drink
My highlight of my weekend away in Oxford has to be hands down the Turf Tavern pub. Well hidden, but worth the search, the pub has a beautiful beer garden and is claimed to be an unmissable Oxford institution, which is easy to see why.
Looking for a cafe to laze about in? Try the Organic Deli Cafe is family run & prides itself on locally sourced organic produce. A great place for a sit down from all the walking around!
While I didn’t get a chance to stay in the Oxford Prison Hotel, I have heard nothing but rave reviews about the place. This unique, boutique hotel offers a trendy location, neon cocktail bar and rooms that were, you guessed it, previously used as prison cells. If you’re up for something different, I would highly recommend a night spent here.
Whatever you are looking for, whether it be history, architecture, pub and cafe cultures or the buzz of student life, you’ll find it in Oxford.
Interested in other weekend trips away? Try Wales!