WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT OXFORD
- For its renowned University and the iconic buildings at its historic heart including the venerable Bodleian Library and Sir Christopher Wren's Sheldonian Theatre
- To visit the stately limestone colleges of Oxford University in particular Christ Church and Magdalen College
- Explore the newly refurbished Ashmolean Museum and adjacent Pitt Rivers Museum for a plethora of quirky finds
- Visit the circular Radcliffe Camera, completed in 1749 and home to one of the university's libraries
- Climb the tower of the 13th-century University Church of St Mary the Virgin, thought to be the oldest university building in the world
- Explore Oxford Castle with its many dark secrets
- Wander around the Covered Market where small shops sell everything from hand-made hats to Oxford sausages
- Take a punt on the Isis or sit back and watch the college rowers in training
- Meander down Christ Church Meadow and the University Botanic Garden, hidden havens of green tranquillity for walks and riverside picnics
OUR SPECIALISTS 'MUST DO'
Where to begin? An initial guided tour of this famous city will unearth some of the highlights you may wish to go back and explore in more depth. The colleges and their buildings are unique and each has its own story, while the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums are well worth a visit.
A LITTLE MORE ABOUT OXFORD
“I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all like an opera”.
William Butler Yeats
It goes without saying that any first visit to this beautiful city should include a selection of its historical highlights: Oxford University, the Bodleian Library, the Radcliffe Camera, the Sheldonian theatre, Oxford Castle and the Bridge of Sighs. You would be remiss, even if a little touristy, not to include the Covered Market, while a wander down the High Street provides star attractions such as All Souls, Queens, the Examination Schools and Magdalen.
Merton Street is more peaceful — except for the sound of bike wheels on cobbles — with gems such as Merton, Corpus Christi and Oriel Colleges. If you prefer the hip to the traditional, then take a walk through the streets of Jericho, a thriving community of cocktail bars, cool cafés, eclectic restaurants and quirky shops.
The Ashmolean Museum is a must too, not because it is the oldest public museum in the United Kingdom but because its £61 million refurbishment showcases its remarkable collections quite brilliantly. In contrast to the well-displayed collections of the Ashmolean are the crammed glass cabinets of the Pitt Rivers Museum, a veritable treasure trove of blowpipes, Masai swords and shrunken heads collected by Victorian explorers.
Pubs and punting are two well-known features of Oxford. Well frequented pubs include the Bear, the Turf and the Eagle and Child (especially if you are a fan of Tolkien or CS Lewis) though for a quieter scene try the Rose & Crown or the Gardeners Arms. From a punting perspective join the hordes around Magdalen Bridge or seek the secluded calm of Cherwell Boathouse.
For a more bucolic side to Oxford, head down to Christ Church meadow, running alongside the Isis (River Thames), it is home to the college boathouses and their crews, or wander down to Port Meadow where the iconic spires of Oxford sit silhouetted against a backdrop of verdant green.