Considering I actually woke up late and booked an earlier train home to avoid the crowds at the station on a match night (that and to catch Gareth Bale at his finest), this blog should realistically be called “How to spend about five hours in Oxford.” Luckily Oxford is very easy to find your way around, with most of the main attractions being close together. So here’s a whistle-stop tour of what to see and eat in Oxford.
What to see
Radcliffe Camera – Located in Radcliffe square, this University library is casually known as “Rad Cam,” (probably amongst students who are cool or quirky enough to use that term, of which I’m not, so I’ll stick to its original full name). The architecture of the Radcliffe camera makes it a key attraction in Oxford, and it’s said to look even more impressive on a clear night. It’s best viewed from the University church opposite.
University Church of St Mary the Virgin – The main purpose of most tourists visiting the church is to climb the church tower. Ticket prices are £4 for adults, and £3 for concessions and Oxford University students. If you ask me on most days whether I’d enjoy spending £4 to climb a narrow winding stair case (slight fear of heights), I’d more than likely say no. However, the views of Oxford at the top of the tower are arguably the best in the city, so it’s definitely worth it. (Even if you do need someone to hold your hand, or have to sing a Beyoncé song in your head as you hurriedly make your way down the steps). The Church also has a traditional café called Vaults, with a cute garden area on Radcliffe square.
University colleges – You soon realise that there are so many colleges in Oxford that you’re never really more than a couple of minutes from one. Each building is just as pretty as the next, with Christ Church being one of the most popular, as one of the main film locations for Harry Potter.
Blackwell’s Book Shop – A book lover’s dream – Blackwell’s is a seriously impressive bookshop. This original branch of the chain covers multiple floors with a spacious cellar.
University Parks – When you fancy a change from wandering the streets of beautiful buildings, head to University Parks with a picnic, or something from one of Oxford’s many coffee shops.
Where to eat
The Covered market, Market street – The covered market has a range of food and drink outlets, along with other independent gift and craft shops to explore. I’d recommend Fasta Pasta for (as its name indicates) quick, no fuss, good food to fuel your day of sightseeing, and Moo Moos Milkshakes, which have the biggest milkshake menu I have ever seen. Seriously, think of any chocolate bar, biscuit or cake, and I can almost guarantee that they make it in milkshake form. The Custard cream and Terry’s Chocolate Orange shakes were amazing.
G&D’s (George & Davis’) Café, Little Clarendon Street– Open from 8am to Midnight, this is the place to go for ice-cream, gelato or cake whatever time of day. G&D’s also has sister cafes on Cowley Road and in St Aldates.
While I definitely couldn’t study in Oxford (I’d be way too distracted by every street looking like the front of a post-card), I’ll definitely be visiting again soon to start making my way through the Moo Moos menu.