Newest Review: ... around, i'm still discovering them! The City is full of cafe's and pubs and there are some lovely places by the river such as Head of the R... more
Culture and captivity in one City
Oxford in General
Member Name: kirlykird
Oxford in General
Advantages: architecture, history & culture
Oxford is a beautiful city and was once described by poet Mathew Arnold as the city of dreaming spires. The architecture is beautiful with many old buildings ranging from university owned buildings and colleges to museums, churches and cathedrals. The city sits beautifully on the Thames and has a very cultural and cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Oxford is a wonderful city whether you are here as a student, a tourist or a resident, there is something for everyone as I will be reviewing.
The city of Oxford dates back as far as the 9th century and Oxford University which is the oldest university in the English speaking world was founded in 1167. It was actually here in oxford that the first coffee shop in England was opened all the way back in 1651. The English coffee shop was soon to become a place for middle class and upper class men to visit, drink coffee and read newspapers.
Oxford has also been a market town for centuries. The now indoor market was originally stared off as an outdoor market which spanned the streets until it was ordered to be neatened up and the now indoor market was commissioned.
Oxford has been for many years a city for academics and also the manufacturing industry. One of the largest products to leave Oxford during the present day is the Mini as BMW have their Mini manufacturing plant here in Oxford.
There is a wide range of architectural design spanning across Oxford and if not visiting for anything else, the design of this beautiful city is worth a visit alone.
Such sights to behold are the architectural designs of Magdalen Bridge which spans across the river Cherwell. A beautiful bridge next to some great architectural designs of Oxford. I can spend hours standing here watching the punts go down the river and watching the world go by, a very beautiful sight in the spring and summer months. Carfax tower stands in the centre of the city centre with its height and charm over shadowing the modern buildings of the shopping street. Fantastic views can be seen from the summit of this building which spans over Oxford and it s dreaming spires to the surrounding countryside. Just along St Aldates, the cathedral is situated within Christchurch college grounds and is said to be the smallest cathedral in England.
The Radcliffe camera is probably the most famous building in Oxford. It has stood proudly in the centre of Radcliffe square since the 17th century and was originally designed as a medical library but now actually forms part of the Bodleian library.
Next to the Radcliffe camera stands St Mary's the virgin church where the best views of Oxford can be obtained. The church has stood in this position since the thirteenth century and was one of the original teaching areas of Oxford University. The church is very beautifully and well maintained. There is also a small coffee room adjoined to the church which is a very pleasant resting place during a tourist visit of the city.
There are so many more buildings that can be commented on but we would be here all night so I will end this section with the Bridge of Sighs. This is really a magnificent piece of architecture which adjoins two college buildings and has a unique aura of beauty and is indeed one of the most photographed places in Oxford.
There are a number of different museums in Oxford which are either based inside or out such as the Bate collection of musical instruments to The Botanical gardens. We have visited most of them and they are a great educational day out with the children and as a plus point some of them are completely free of charge.
The best museums that I have found to visit with the children are the Natural history museum where the children love to look at the exhibits and then wander into Pitt's river museum where there are collections from all over the world and there is no charge for either of these two museums.
Oxford also has a science museum, The Ashmolean museum which houses beautiful pieces of artwork and stands in a dominating and elegant building and more.
*University colleges *
There are many different buildings and colleges associated with Oxford University which does indeed span across most of Oxford. Some examples of the colleges here are Christchurch College, Brasenose College, All Souls College, Balliol College and Corpus Christie College.
Merton College is one of the eldest colleges attached to Oxford University but maybe one of the best known areas of Oxford University is the Bodleian library. It is said that the Bodleian library's contents takes up over 100 miles of shelving space and parts run underneath the streets of Oxford.
Many of the colleges are partially open to the public with an entrance charge, I cannot review the tours as I have not been on one, we have just entered the free parts to the university and find them to be very beautiful and well worth the visit.
As far as mainstream shopping goes, Oxford is not the best place to head. It has a smaller version of most high street shops but if you are heading to Oxford for a super shopping trip then I really wouldn't bother.
On the other hand if you are looking for small independent shops, quirky boutiques and book shops galore then this could be the place for you.
Blackwell's has its flag ship shop here on Broad Street along with its own music shop and poster shop. The book shops are highly recommended, particularly for academic needs.
*Night life & cultural Oxford&
There is so much to do in Oxford from simply visiting the cinema or watching a live band in an old pub to a good choice of theatres, old fashioned picture houses and musical recitals. In the summer, there are outdoor theatre productions, and outside opera which are located just outside of the city. You will most definitely find something to your liking whether it is classical or modern for a night out in this City.
*Bars and restaurants*
Oxford has a wide range of cafes, bars and restaurants. These can range from hotel restaurants to brasseries to pub food and restaurant chains. Jamie Oliver has just opened up a restaurant in the city centre but there are also a lot of other independent restaurants to choose from.
It is also worth remembering that if you are happy to travel just outside of the city then Raymond Bland has his Michelin awarded restaurant, Le Manoir De Quait Saisons.
There is definitely something to eat and drink for every taste, age and culture in Oxford.
To summarise, Oxford is a beautiful city with a great deal to see and do and well worth visiting. Like any tourist City, there are walking city tours, city bus tours, Oxford history museums and Ghost walks around the city at night, therefore, more than enough opportunities to explore the city. I would recommend that if you choose to visit Oxford then take a weekend break, there are many hotels to choose from but the visit to this magnificent city is well and truly worth it.
Summary: A beautiful city which should be visited at least once