📍Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK
Interesting Fact: I myself had the delight of studying at Oxford University over the summer a few years ago!
...and I have to say,
every time I go back, it seems to be larger and even more fascinating than I remembered it!
When you hear the word Oxford, you most likely immediately think of the University, allegedly second oldest one in the world! Moreover, did you know that this very site, known as the city of spires, brings in well over 10 million visitors a year along with being one of traveler's favourite cities in Britain !
Oxford really is so much more than the prestigious university, and today I'll be delighted to show you around this most marvellous site, just an hour north-west of London by train!
I'd love to start off our tour with my personal favourite site in town, being the Christ Church meadows, a lovely garden oasis in the middle of the city with surroundings of Oxford's impressive Gothic revival style buildings !
Back in the day, I came to the meadows almost every day during my time in Oxford. It was the perfect space to just relax, have a picnic and read a book! I now found it to be even more splendid in the early autumn time with that light fog, foliage and ever peaceful aura.
I recommend you come in through the St. Aldates Road entrance as it is the main one, as well as the loveliest indeed!
Through the marvellous gardens, you'll be able to walk onto Rose Lane, Christchurch University,
the Oxford Botanic Gardens and Magdalen College.
A most scenic stroll, I can guarantee.
Outside the building of Christ Church College, you'll probably encounter a long queue of people as this very spot served as a filming location for Harry Potter. So beware if you're a fan!
During you stroll, you'll most definitely wish to to stop and snap away upon each ivy covered building, stained glass window and broad open cricket field with majestic views of the city sights. The bright and orange crunchy leaves will make for an even more memorable scene! Not that it would be any less brilliantly during any other season !
As you walk, sit by the river Thames and admire the passing of rowing boats as well as little ducklings and squirrels. You can go for a boat ride yourself if you fancy.
I'll take a break now to share with you an interesting Fact. It is said that in 1862, Lewis Caroll wrote his most enchanting story, which then came to be known as Alice in Wonderland, right in this very site in Oxforshire.
The main character was inspired by a young girl called Alice Liddell, the daughter of the dean of Christ Church College. Lewis Carroll was a math lecturer at the site when he first met her. Lewis, Alice and her sisters, went on a boat trip over the Thames one day, where he then shared a story about a girl named Alice who was looking for adventures… I suppose you know the rest of the tale from there😉
With that being said, you must make a mandatory stop to Alice's Shop in St. Aldates Road, where the real Alice bought her sweets 150 years ago! It is certainly the no.1 site for Alice in Wonderland gifts and souvenirs!
...After the meadows, make your way down to Oriel square, where you'll encounter the Canterbury Gate of Christchurch College, as well as Oriel College, known for being the oldest royal foundation in Oxford, its royal connection has had the site additionally known as King's College and King's Hall.
Then on, head down to Alfred St. where you'll encounter The Bear pub, a site known as Oxford's oldest pub, dating back to the 13th century. And maybe make a stop for lunch and traditional ales!
After this alley, head straight back into St. Aldates Road, then walk past Pembroke college, up to Cornmarket Street, a place normally packed with both tourists and locals for its wide range of shops and restaurants!
Through this street you'll be able to access Oxford's well known Covered Market! Trust me, you'll see signs for it everywhere, so you cannot miss it! This space is filled with over 50 stalls and shops with a variety of local and fresh grown produce including fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, souvenirs, crafts and flowers upon flowers!
Afterwards, keep walking straight on Cornmarket Street and turn right on Broad Street, another one of Oxford's main streets filled with rows of colourful houses and Tudorian style architecture! Plus, most of the famous Oxfordian spots you'll often see on brochures and online will be located just down this road!
First up will be The Sheldonian Theatre, where university graduations and many other ceremonies often take place. The theatre was built as an imitation of a classical roman theatre, and outside you'll see the statues of the heads of multiple Roman Emperors.
Around the Corner, you'll encounter the Radcliffe Camera, an English baroque building of round structure, decorated by corinthian style columns and a large cupola, this library dates back to the 1700's and houses over half a million books.
Right in front of this landmark you'll see Hertford Bridge, also known as the Bridge of Sighs, nicknamed after the Ponte dei Sospiri in Venice; however, in reality I think it looks much more like the Rialto bridge 🤔 What do you think?
Moving on, of course I had to bring you in for a cuppa as part of our tour! It's me after all ! ☕
The Grand Café in particular, happens to be the oldest coffee house in England, serving their famous high tea all day! So do pop in for a treat 😄!
I love to have a nice cup of Earl Grey tea accompanied by a slice of their Victoria sponge Cake, a true English classic named after Queen Victoria !
This lovely site marks the end of our tour! I told you Oxford was marvellous !
Tell me what you've enjoyed the most about this little tour down in the comments, and tell me if there's any other English town nearby you'd like me to visit and guide you through !