Oxford – A Fascinating City of Universities
This remarkable city welcomes millions of tourists every year and enchants them with its wide streets, beautiful buildings and numerous attractions. Being a city with a very diverse economic base, it has something interesting and useful to offer to all its visitors, regardless of their interests: education, science-based businesses, information technology, publishing, motor manufacturing, and even brewing are all individual puzzles in the big picture that is Oxford.
What most people think of when they hear this city’s name is the fabled University of Oxford, and those who haven’t been here before usually expect to see some grand main building in a majestic campus. The reality, though, is completely different: there is no central campus, only 39 colleges spread throughout the city, the oldest of which is approximately 750 years old. Actually, this is the oldest university in the city, the second oldest surviving one in the world, and the oldest one in the English-speaking world.
If you have to pick just one college to visit, it must be Christ Church College, where Alice in Wonderland author, Lewis Carroll, taught mathematics, and where scenes of Harry Potter were filmed. Very interestingly, the college’s chapel is also the city’s cathedral, which makes it that more appealing to visitors and tourists.
Another absolutely amazing destination in Oxford is the Ashmolean Museum, which has the power of transporting its visitors in time and space through extensive collections belonging to different places on earth and different eras in history. Established in the 17th century (1683) by Elias Ashmole, this is the oldest public museum in the Great Britain, and the world’s first university museum.
Its first building was erected to hold Ashmole’s donation to Oxford University: his remarkable cabinet of curiosities, known as Tradescant’s Ark. One of the many interesting things to see here today is the mantle of Pocahontas’ father. Whether it’s Egyptian, Japanese, Chinese, Islamic, or European, if it is interesting, it has a place here at the Ashmolean Museum.
Another excellent place to visit while in the city is the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. This is a historic site, originally created as a physic garden meant to help medicinal research. Created in 1621, this is one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world. Today it is open all year long, boasting over 8,000 different species of plants. In fact, this botanical garden flaunts the world’s most compact and diverse collection of plants in the world. Whenever tourists and locals feel the need to escape the busy city life, the tranquil Botanical Garden awaits them with soothing colors, aromas and sounds.
- Shopping enthusiast cannot miss an escape to Bicester Village, Europe’s prime luxury outlet in Bicester, Oxfordshire.
- Spring and summer are the best time of year to visit Oxford.
- Food in pubs is usually really good. You should definitely try eating at the King’s Arms (KA), which is said to be the oldest pub in the city.
- Inspector Morse tours are always exciting and fun – you should take one.
- Really good luxury hotels include The Randolph Hotel, The Cotswold Lodge, and The Malmaison.