Oxford is a charming city renowned for its prestigious university. At times, the locals find Oxford too academic, decent, strict, that there is no spirit of a free university campus, hovering, for example, in Bristol. A visit to Oxford, an examination of ancient architecture, acquaintance with a rich history, one of the oldest universities in the world does not leave tourists indifferent and will prove that Bristol is not alone.
Oxford climate and best time to visit
- Summer is the peak tourist season with temperatures rarely exceeding 22 ° C. In summer there are outdoor events, markets, small festivals.
- Spring and autumn are a great time to travel: the city is buzzing with student life, the weather is mild and dry.
- Winter - the number of tourists decreases, the temperature rarely drops below zero, prices get lower.
Students study for three semesters:
- Michael's semester lasts from October to December
- Hillary's semester - January to March
- Trinity semester is from April to June.
During the last weeks of each semester, university students are overly stressed and anxious, so it is best to visit the university during the holidays.
- Oxford University is the main attraction: you can take a tour of all colleges, look at university life, school history, architecture.
- Balliol College (1263) - one of the oldest colleges at Oxford University, one of the first to open doors for women, so that the walls inside the institution are decorated with portraits of graduates. Sit on the lawn, bring lunch, and enjoy the friendly and informal atmosphere of Balliol College on your field trip.
- South Park , located on the east side of Oxford, is Oxford's largest park with free admission, stunning views of the city, including the university skyline. On a good day, the park is filled with people sunbathing, exercising, eating lunch.
- Known as the “Bridge of Sighs,” Hertford Bridge (college students sigh beneath it on their way to their exam) with an iconic design reminiscent of the Rialto Bridge in Venice. Walk through this beautiful structure to the Turf Tavern and feel like a student over a pint of beer!
- Founded in 1683, Britain's oldest public museum is the Ashmolean Museum. It displays the heritage of Ancient Egypt, an impressive collection of oriental art, the famous exhibit - a fresco of Princess Amarna. Free admission.
- The Oxford University Botanical Garden opened in 1621. The collection consists of traditional English plant species, the oldest plants of the redwood species. Entrance fee - £ 5.45, discounts for students and seniors.
- As the main research library of the University of Oxford, the Bodleian Library is one of the oldest libraries in Europe and the second largest in the UK. It opened in 1602. The Anglo-Gothic architecture of the building has served as a backdrop for many films and books, including the first two "volumes" (films) about Harry Potter. The library, with its fan-shaped ceiling and ornate decor, served as the hospital wing of Hogwarts.
- Boating is a unique local activity: boating along the rivers and canals of the university using a pole. The skiing season lasts from mid-March to mid-October, you can rent a boat or hire a boatman. Rent - £ 18-25 / h, the boat can accommodate up to 5 people.
- The Museum of Natural History stores scientific collections of university zoological, entomological, geological, paleontological, mineralogical specimens. The exhibits are dedicated to history, the diversity of life on Earth. One of the most famous exhibits is the Oxford Dodo, the only surviving soft tissue of an extinct bird, and the skull of a dodo. Free admission.
- Built in the 11th century , the Oxford Castle Prison offers exhibitions about the former prisoners and their crimes (from murder to tyranny and religious uprising) and possible executions. The prison is located in the tower of St. George, which offers a panoramic view with a 360-degree view. A 2-hour historical ghost walking tour (The Bill Specter Ghost Trail) introduces visitors to real-life ghost stories from Oxford. Entrance - £ 12.95, The Ghost Trail - £ 12, runs on Friday and Saturday nights.
- Day trip to Blenheim Palace , located eight miles from Oxford. In addition to the amazing Baroque architecture, the rooms have preserved the original furniture, on the territory of the hotel there is a beautiful garden, the Butterfly House. The entire palace is filled with statues, tapestries, priceless furniture, fine porcelain, and paintings. You can walk freely in the state rooms: free 45-minute guided tours run every 30 minutes. Be sure to check out the tapestries of Blenheim, which consist of 10 large veils commemorating the conquests of the first duke. Interesting fact: this palace of the 17th century. - the only non-royal house that can still be called a palace! Entrance - £ 28.5.
Eat and drink in Oxford
- Buy snacks at Covered Market, a 250-year-old historic market. There are dozens of cafes, restaurants, traditional butchers, fishmongers and independent shops - you can taste everything from handicraft sausages to sushi. It serves a lot of homemade food + it's the best place to shop for handmade goods - clothes, souvenirs, jewelry.
- Much of Oxford's energy comes from the sheer number of students, and the students love pubs. The city has unusual dive bars, romantic cocktail bars, traditional British pubs. The Eagle and Child Pub on St Giles Street is one of Oxford's most famous pubs and has been a popular meeting place for literary heavyweights like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S.Lewis. Most pubs serve food: Old Binder's offer mouth-watering French chef menus, Victoria specializes in traditional British pies, Gardener's Arms serves vegetarian options, and delicious pizza can be enjoyed at White Rabbit.
- In Oxford, you can eat inexpensively by choosing a cafe near the university. Most of them offer student discounts so you won't pay more than £ 7 for lunch (even if you are not a student). Most of the student cafes are located on and around George Street, with small display cases and stalls selling everything from falafel to burritos.
- Fast food (like McDonald's) will cost around £ 5, a pint at a tavern around £ 3.
- Dine in a cozy restaurant costs around £ 25 including a drink. Three course dinner (with champagne) at a gourmet restaurant - around £ 40.
- The city's finest selection of independent restaurants can be found in East Oxford, especially around Cowley Road. Here is Moya, the city's only Slovak restaurant, excellent cocktail bar, Daily Info serving the best goulash west of the Alps, Italian cuisine from Mario's, on the corner of Iffley Road, Magdalen Arms serves delicious snacks, and a tempting Sunday lunch. Cuttlefish on St. Clement Island will satisfy your seafood needs. Door 74 offers a small menu of delicious vegetarian options.
- East Oxford is the heart of Oxford's South Asian community, home to some of the best Indian and Bangladeshi food in town, and Nepalese restaurants are popular.
- Basic weekly foods (fruits, vegetables, pasta, chicken, sandwiches) will cost between £ 40 and £ 50. The best places to buy groceries are Lidl, Aldi, and Sainsbury's.
Ideal city for those looking for an independent bookstore! There are many of them here; inside many of them there are eateries and cafes. There are second-hand book shops, charity book shops and many other types of bookstores.
Waterstones is the UK's last surviving bookstore chain and one of its most impressive branches is in Oxford. It occupies an honorable place at the corner of Cornmarket and Broad Street in a beautiful Tier II listed building called the William Blake House. The house was built in 1914, and in 1987 the Waterstones store was opened in it. A large window curving around the corner of the street, a themed showcase that draws in shoppers, the ground floor sells gifts, fresh books, and the stunning Harry Potter collection.
The Last Bookstore is located close to the center and has a distinctive red façade. Today's bookstore is actually the second "Last Bookstore": the first opened in 2009, but only lasted three years before it closed. The new store opened in 2014 and continues to operate ever since.
Oxfam Oxford - There are several Oxfam bookstores in the city where you can buy classics at a very low price, and good used books are also sold here. Central Oxfam Bookstore is located on Turle Street, next to Missing Bean, one of the city's most popular cafes. Another Oxfam is located on St Gile's. It sells classics, fiction, history, politics, vintage editions from Everyman's Library and Folio Society. These shops are small, but worth a visit for interesting books.
If you're traveling Oxford expect to spend at least £ 56 per day. This budget will cover hostel, public transportation, street food and cooking, free attractions. Average budget, from £ 120, covers rented room with Airbnb, meals away from home, public transportation, and a daily paid excursion.
With a budget of £ 305 / day, you can get a great four-star hotel, eat in good restaurants, have a drink, take a few taxis, do excursions, sightseeing.
Accommodation at the University of Oxford is a great option during the off-session period. Exeter College, part of Oxford University located in the city center, has several buildings and offers Bed & Breakfast accommodation. However, rooms are only available during Easter, summer and winter holidays.
The easiest way to explore Oxford, especially if you are in the central tourist areas, is on foot or by bike. It is a compact city that is easy to move around.
Oxford has an extensive bus network, with three separate bus companies operating public transport. The fare for one trip is £ 1.2, day passes are about £ 2.
There are a number of contactless bike rental companies operating: look for Pony Bikes and Mobike. It is possible to rent a bike through the app: pay - £ 0.5 per unlock, then just 69p per minute, £ 13 per day. Oxford is very cyclist friendly with many bike paths.
Taxis cost around £ 6 per mile, and the price decreases as the journey increases - a six-mile ride will cost around £ 24. As elsewhere, there is Uber here, and prices will be lower when ordering a taxi from the application.
Communication at Oxford
- One of the best mobile operators in Oxford is Three, although there are a couple of "black spots"
- Other options are slightly worse - Orange / EE.
- O2 has a 4G signal all over Oxford, but indoor glitches.
- GiffGaff will provide cheap access to the O2 LTE network.
- Vodafone in Oxford is performing worse than the rest of the operators.