Everyone knows about the University of Oxford, but significantly fewer know of the wonders of the beautiful city that is its host. Oxford boasts magnificent architecture, splendid parks, and fascinating museums. It’s just an hour’s nap away from London! Here are some must-see places and things you have to do as you visit this great English city.
Stop by the University
The University of Oxford is without a doubt what the city is renowned for. You would certainly be missing out if you left without stopping by. There are 38 different colleges that together form the University, but each one has its own personality. There is amazing architecture all around that has been built over a range of eras, and you’re sure to enjoy taking it all in. If you’re a Harry Potter enthusiast, don’t miss Christ Church College, which served as sets for several scenes in the movies. Another great place you shouldn’t miss is Magdalen College, where Oscar Wilde was an alumnus.
Take a walk at Port Meadow
Port Meadow is a stretch of common land in Oxford. This means that any local can have their stock graze on that land, and people still do. Visitors probably aren’t as interested in bringing their cows here for lunch, so the other attraction is simply the fact that it’s a gorgeous place to spend a warm, breezy afternoon. The Thames runs alongside this spot of land, and even when is flooded by water, it still has a beautiful, ethereal sort of vibe.
Get to the top of the University Church’s tower
Oxford is known as “the city of dreaming spires” in honor of the beautiful architecture of the University. You shouldn’t miss the chance to get to the top of one of those spires. A great place is the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. It sits right across the Radcliffe Camera in the middle of the city, meaning that you can enjoy unforgettable views at the top. You’ll have to get up 127 steps in an extremely narrow staircase to get to the top, but the view is definitely going to be worth it.
Get lost in the Pitt Rivers Museum
It’s easy to spend an entire afternoon in the Pitt Rivers Museum. It’s located right behind the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and has a great number of archaeological and cultural items from not only England, but all over the world. In a single afternoon, you can become an expert in Victorian artifacts, exploring the different objects organized by type. A huge portion of the collection is showcased in the museum, so although it is crowded, it gives off the vibe of a treasure trove just waiting to be explored.
Be inspired by Modern Art Oxford
Not everything in Oxford is old. For something a little bit more modern, check out Modern Art Oxford, a stunning gallery full of contemporary art. There aren’t permanent masterpieces on display here, but there are temporary ones that rotate regularly. Stop by to be inspired by people like Yoko Ono or Sol Le Witt. There are often events held too, ranging from music concerts to film screenings.
Hire a punt
You may envision cruising through canals Venice on a gondola, but I’ll bet quite a few of you have never thought of cruising down rivers in Oxford! Punts are popular here, and it’s an exciting new way to get around the city. It can be pretty challenging to steer one yourself, so we recommend hiring one. The Magdalen Bridge Boathouse and Cherwell Boathouse are both great places to hitch a ride on one of these small, flat-bottomed vessels.
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