Oxford: a little guide and what to do in one day

Oxford

Like Brighton, Oxford is a  good day trip from London. Being one hour by train from the British capital, it’s a great way to spend a sunny weekend!

The University of Oxford

Of course, one of the things you wouldn’t want to miss in your day trip to Oxford is its famous university. You can breathe the academic culture as soon as you arrive, as at the train station you can read:

Welcome to Oxford, a city of learning and culture

The Colleges

Oxford Radcliffe Square
Karim, me, and the Oxford colleges

There are 38 Colleges in Oxford and are usually open to visitors under a small fee. If you are particularly interested in visiting one building, I suggest you make your checks in advance, because some of them may close for internal events. For example, Karim and I wanted to visit the Christ Church College, whose Great Hall is nothing less than the Hogwarts Great Hall! But, unfortunately, it was closed.

Balliol college
The Great Hall of the Balliol College

So we visited the Balliol College, the most ancient college in Oxford and thus one of the most ancient in the world. It’s possible to visit it by paying a fee of £3. The Balliol College was established in 1263 by John de Balliol. He didn’t do it out of the kindness of his heart, however.

The Kind of England required him to do an act of charity as a punishment for a dispute with the Bishop of Durham. So, he decided to give one of his properties for the use of scholars. After his death, his widow, Dervorguilla of Galloway, made arrangements to keep the college open indefinitely.

The Radcliffe Camera

Oxford Radcliffe Camera
Radcliffe Camera. “Camera” is an Italian word that simply means “room”

The Radcliffe Camera is a peculiar building in the hearth of Oxford. It’s the reading room of the Bodleian Library and it is possible to visit it. But again, check before you plan your travel because when we arrived today it was closed. This building was also a set of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, for the scene when Ms Mcgonagall teaches her students to dance.

Punting

Oxford punting
People punting in the Thames

Punting is quite a classic in most British towns with a river. I’ve done it in Cambridge and Canterbury so I’ve decided I’d rather explore around by foot. However, it’s a nice ride along the river and I would encourage first timers to try it.

Oxford
Karim and I lost in the green and the Oxford colleges in the backgorund

In conclusion, Oxford has been a great day trip from London, even though I have to say I have preferred Cambridge (sorry!). I’m not sure why, it may be because Cambridge looked more like a small, traditional town and I had a very good time there. I was expecting something similar from Oxford, but it appeared to me as a big, urban city full of tourists.

But, apart from this travel sentimentalism, I recommend a visit!

 

Oxford
Goodbye from Oxford!

One Reply to “Oxford: a little guide and what to do in one day”

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