Oxford is a beautiful city that has a range of stunning architecture, history and culture. Home to one of the most prestigious universities that the U.K has to offer, Oxford also has a hatful of fascinating museums, galleries and green spaces to relieve the stresses of everyday life. The city centre is not as big as some may think, which enables you to cover enough on foot, as it is just a few minutes walk from the main rail and train stations.
When people inside or outside of the U.K utter the word ‘Oxford’, they usually associate it with arguably the best and most impressive university in the United Kingdom. It can boast an array of over 20,000 of the most brightest and gifted individuals that any university in England has to offer. It was the first university in the English speaking world and one that surely must be visited throughout your stay. We advise that you check beforehand the opening times to visit this inspiring and highly cultured establishment.
The Ashmolean Museum is the oldest museum in the country, and the most important of the four University museums. It houses a magnificent collection of arts, including classical sculptures, Far Eastern arts, Greek and Roman pottery, and a valuable collection of jewellery. For anyone seeking a dose of historical culture, look no further than the Ashmolean museum situated in Beaumont Street.
Known simply as ‘The House’, The Christ Church is one of the largest colleges in the UK and was founded in 1525 by Cardinal Wolsey and re-founded after Wolsey’s fall by Henry VIII. This is a true historical site with a huge seven ton bell on site known simply as ‘Great Tom’. Every evening at five minutes past nine it tolls one hundred and one times, with each toll signifying a member of the original college. In earlier times, each toll was to indicate the closure of all college gates.
To see more of what this fantastic city has to offer, it is recommended you take a tranquil boat trip down the River Thames. The Oxford River Cruises operate luxury river trips on the Thames in Oxford. These may include lunchtime picnics, short champagne cruises and evening trips. These river journeys will ensure you relieve the stresses of everyday life to witness British culture at its very best.
Going via Merton Street leads you into the Oxford High Street, which is aligned with some fantastic buildings and always has a buzzing atmosphere. The American writer Nathanial Hawthorne conveniently called it ‘the finest street in England’. The museum of Modern Art can easily be reached via the Oxford High Street, as can the Clarendon Building, which is on the east side of the Sheldonian Theatre.
Sights in the surrounding areas of Oxford include Iffley, Rousham House and Blenheim Palace. A very popular walk goes from Folly Bridge to Iffley which has beautiful views of a famous Norman Church. The Rousham House is situated just 19 km’s north of Oxford on the Cherwell. This is the place to be if garden and botanic displays are something that interests you. The Blenheim Palace is located in Woodstock and is the seat for the Spencer-Churchill family, the dukes of Marlborough and birthplace of Winston Churchill. It can boast plenty of parkland with a large lake and bridge which is worth visiting. It was built for John Churchill (the first Duke of Marlborough) under the direction of architect John Vanbrugh and with the financial support of Queen Anne between 1701 and 1724.
With so many places of historical culture, and sights to witness, it’s easy to see why Oxfords tourism numbers seem to be growing by the month. A truly beautiful city which is a must see for any tourist wanting a true feel of British culture and heritage.