Oxford is a magical place to visit, but it’s very easy to actually miss the best parts of the city if you follow the crowds. Here’s what I would recommend from an insider’s perspective.
See the University
- Bodleian Library. The Duke of Humphrey’s library and Divinity School are definitely worth visiting, and relatively cheap. The link takes you to one of their tours, which I think helps visitors get a lot out of these buildings.
- The colleges. Christ Church is the most famous, partially because it was the setting for Harry Potter, but Magdalen college (called Maudlin) is set by the river and has a small deer park. Try and go for evensong at one of the university chapels. Pick these two, as well as a smaller one like Merton, Exeter, or Oriel for some contrast!
- The museums. Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museum are two of my favourites.
Around town Oxford is a country town, with very quaint and pretty walks. Much of it is based around the river or meadows, which is why I would recommend
- A long walk in Christ Church meadows, passing the rivers Cherwell (pronounced Char-well) and Thames
- Punt! And try to learn how to punt if at all possible – it’s not as easy to go straight as you might like.
- Visit universityrooms.com – When it’s not term time, many of the colleges will let out their rooms. This means you can also have breakfast in the beautiful dining rooms.
Eat and Drink
There are lots of great pubs in Oxford. A few of my favourites are
- Turf Tavern. This is hidden away, so you won’t come across it unless you’re looking for it!
- The Eagle and Child, which is where Tolkien and C.S.Lewis used to drink
- The Lamb and Flag, as your drink contributes towards student scholarships
If you’re looking for restaurants, these are really nice:
- Gee’s does modern European food in a lovely conservatory.
- Pierre Victoire is a delightful French restaurant in the centre of town.
- The rooftop restaurant at the Ashmolean is a delight.
- The Cherwell Boathouse is in Summertown and by the river – it’s a stunning setting with great food.