University City Oxford: Where to walk, what to see

University City Oxford: Where to walk, what to see

All over the world the name Oxford is associated with the most prestigious university in the world and higher education in general. So, considering this city as a kind of university campus, not all tourists include it in their itinerary around England. And completely in vain. In addition to the famous university, here is preserved the true spirit of old Britain. With its ancient architecture the city will interest any lover of historical tourism, everyone will find a place to walk and look at.

Oxford University City: Where to go, what to see - Photo 2

University City Oxford: Where to walk, what to see

How to get there

Oxford is about 90 miles from London, so it’s easy to get here. The fastest way to get here is by train from Paddington Station. Express trains leave every 20 minutes, journey time is about an hour. Bus service between the cities is also excellent. If you’re travelling in a group it’s a good idea to book a cab or hire a car.

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How to get there

Where to Stay

Hotels in Oxfam are usually small and often run out of rooms. So if you are coming to Oxford for a few days you should book a room in advance. The price depends on the area.

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The Royal Prison Building in Oxford Where to stay

The most expensive hotels are in Old Town . In the newer districts of New Hinksey and Iffley a night in a hotel is cheaper, but the interesting places can be reached on foot in at least half an hour.

The tourist season is June through August. At this time come not only tourists but also the British themselves. Prices for accommodation and sightseeing go up dramatically and it becomes problematic to rent a room. Therefore the best time to come here is spring.


Oxford, founded in X century on the banks of the River Thames, is impressive with its ancient architecture. The main attraction is obviously the famous university. The exact date of its foundation is unknown, but it was mentioned that students study here back in 972.

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Unlike other educational institutions, which are one monumental building and academic buildings, Oxford University has its own unique structure. It is a whole complex of colleges scattered throughout the city .

It is inconvenient for students, but very interesting for the tourist. After all, this arrangement sets the architectural tone for the whole city. There are no free-standing houses, the buildings are small fortresses of colleges, inside which there are churches, courtyards, gardens and even its own cemetery. All buildings were built at different times, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Entrance to colleges is paid, and not all are open to the public. It is worth choosing 2-3, especially since the internal layout they are largely similar.

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College Christ Church Attractions.

The most interesting ones are: – New College – Christ Church College – Merton College and others.

Another interesting structure is Oxford Castle . Unlike other fortresses, the walls of this castle close the square in a crescent, only on three sides. A hill was used as the fourth wall during the construction.

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Built in the twelfth century, the castle was used as a fortress and residence of local lords. Gradually, the formidable military structure lost its purpose, and then it was turned into a prison . From the XVIII century, punishments and executions were carried out in the castle square. The prison was closed only in 1996, today it resembles a hotel, the rooms of which are equipped in the form of cells. For a nominal fee guides from among the former prisoners give tours with stories about their stay here.

Oxford is a small city and many people come here for day trips. Here are a few other must-see sights on a day trip: – Carfax Tower

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– Saint Mary’s Church and other places of interest.

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A trip to Oxford is a great chance to experience the spirit of medieval Britain and have a great time away from the hustle and bustle of industrial cities.

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10 things to do in Oxford

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Oxford was first mentioned in chronicles in 912, and the university was founded in 1117. And for nearly 900 years, studying at Oxford has been considered a privilege.

The university consists of scattered colleges, scattered throughout the city, but you can walk around the central part in a day. Although getting into the spirit of the city and staying for a few days is not at all unreasonable.

How to get there

Oxford is very easy to get to. You just need to make a choice: fast or cheap.

Fast – by train from Paddington Station. Trains are frequent and take about an hour but you’ll pay about £30 for the pleasure.

Cheaper way is to take the Oxford Tube bus from Victoria Station (plus a few more stops in the city at Marble Arch and Notting Hill Gate). It takes at least 1 hour and 40 minutes (think traffic), but costs £18 for a return ticket (return can be used the next day). It’s cheaper for under 26s at £14 and an evening ticket (after 3pm) at £11. If you buy your ticket on the internet be sure to print it out. You can also buy it from the driver (for the exact amount).

So we got to Oxford.

What to do here

1. Go to the Harry Potter locations.

There are a few locations in Oxford – New College, Bodleian Library, and Christ Church College.

So for now, let’s stick with New College. In the courtyard of this college the scene of the fourth Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie with Cedric Diggory and the scene of Draco Malfoy turning into a ferret was filmed. To get there, look for signs to the chapel. The college website reports that there is a fee to enter the grounds, but in practice you can pass as well. We also recommend a tour of the chapel itself and the college grounds – the ancient walls and unusual woods are sure to please you.

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2. Check out Weston Library.

This relatively new building was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, creator of the famous red phone booth. The low building keeps a secret – three huge underground floors that are larger than the above-ground portion.

Plus an underground tunnel connecting the old and new library buildings. Unfortunately, you can’t see them, but even knowing they exist is very cool. Of the pleasures available to the eye: you can freely visit one of the exhibitions. The exhibitions here are constantly changing, but the value of the exhibits remains at a high level. This winter, they say, they are going to exhibit the Magna Carta, the Gutenberg Bible, and drafts by Tolkien and Carroll.

3. Walk with a tour of the Bodleian Library

Unfortunately, the second largest library in all of Britain can only be walked with a group tour. They run every half hour (half-hourly for £5) and every hour (respectively hourly for £7).

You will be led into the hall where students have stood behind the pulpit for centuries, taking exams. The small hall also has its secrets. Potteriana fans will remember the scene where Professor McGonanall taught the students to dance and the dark vaults of the hospital wing, all filmed here.

They will show you the room with the old books, which are more than 300-400 years old. They will tell you why books were chained and how long it takes to take a book out of the library now. An interesting fact: by treaty of 1610, any publication in Britain is accompanied by sending a copy to the library, and this is not just books, but also magazines, newspapers and even advertising pamphlets. Every week about 5,000 new titles.

When the library was closed for the filming of Harry Potter for three days, the honorary scholars almost went on strike!

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4. go around the Radcliffe Rotunda

Right now, perhaps the most famous building in Oxford is only open to students. But there’s nothing stopping you from going round it and looking in the windows, is there?

5. Wait out the rain under the roof of the Covered Market

Until the end of the 18th century it was on the square, but bad publicity forced the city authorities to go to extremes – to destroy the market. Residents defended the glorious place, but it was moved to a building. Now it is several blocks of cafes, souvenir shops and handmade craftsmen.

6. Visit England’s first public museum

The Ashmole Museum opened its doors to visitors in 1683. Since then, the collection has only grown. It now houses masterpieces by Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Michelangelo and, of course, British artists.

7. Drinking in Tolkien’s company

You can’t quite make it, but you can visit The Eagle and Child, a pub that opened in 1650 where Tolkien visited as a member of the literary circle Inklingley.

8. Get a bird’s eye view of Oxford.

You can do this by climbing the tower of University Church Mary the Virgin.

Think how it reminds you of Italy, especially Florence, with its tiled roofs. Once again, marvel.

9. Spend a few hours walking around Christ Church

Christ Church College is the largest in Oxford. It is also the most honorable. Thirteen British prime ministers are its graduates (all other colleges in Oxford have the same number).

We recommend you to visit the Great Hall – the Great Hall, where dinners are still held and which became the prototype of the Great Hall at Hogwarts.

Go to Oxford’s smallest cathedral. And just wander around the places where, for example, the very same Alice walked.

10. Fall in love with Oxford and think of 100 ways to stay here.

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After seeing all the sights (you can even wander the streets, go to the stores on High Street, all the open college doors, and the pubs. Have a cream tea in a cafe, chat with students, read a book on the lawn. Basically, stop being a tourist for a day and devote it to yourself! In Oxford, it’s very easy. Once you’ve enjoyed the atmosphere, you’re more likely to hit the books and go to university to make sure you stay here for the long haul.

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