Oxford: historic, modern, lively
Right on the River Thames lies Oxford, a buzzing city offering a perfect blend of history and modern flair. Perhaps best known as one of the two oldest Universities in England, Oxford has many venerable buildings and historic sites, some even dating back to the Saxons.
Apart from its academic fame, Oxford is noted for publishing and car making, amongst others. With its many students and visitors, it also is a town full of life at any time of the year.
What To Do And See
Worth seeing are the imposing colleges and university buildings, most of which are located in the centre of Oxford, within easy walking distance of each other.
Queen Street and Cornmarket Street are home to Oxford's various chain stores, as well as a number of independent retailers, one of the longest established of which is Boswells, founded in 1738.
Also worth a visit is the Ashmolean Museum originally built in the late 17th century to house the Cabinet of Curiosities given to Oxford University by Elias Ashmole in 1677.
Oxford truly is a shopping heaven, with its diverse range of shops covering everything from specialist food stores and boutiques to family owned department stores (notably Boswells, Oxford's oldest, family-run independent department store).
Broad Street is known for books, art supplies and specialist clothing, whereas the emphasis in Little Clarendon Street is on household accessories and vintage clothing. The Westgate Centre offers a wide range of health foods, coffee shops and grocers. Or, for a different shopping trip why not visit Oxford's covered market which has a wondrous array of specialist shops from a saddle mender to shoe makers.
In Oxford you are sure to find something for every taste.If you prefer outdoor shopping, then the area around Oxford has weekly farmers' markets providing a chance to try and buy some of the excellent local produce.
The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world.
Blackwell's Bookshop claims the largest single room devoted to book sales in the whole of Europe, the cavernous Norrington Room.
Apart from the beautiful, quintessentially English countryside surrounding Oxford, there are also many towns and villages worth a visit.
Within 15 Km of Oxford are the towns of Abingdon, which claims to be Britain's oldest continuously occupied town, and Woodstock, the location of Blenheim Palace birthplace of Winston Churchill.
About 20 Km south are Wittenham clumps with their panoramic views of the Oxfordshire countryside. About an hour away is the town of Reading with its many shopping opportunities and walks along the canal. In the valley to the north lie Day's Lock and Dorchester Abbey, both of which are clearly visible from the hills.
How to get there
From the M40 take the A40 towards Oxford and follow signs to the ring road. At the third roundabout, take the first exit onto Woodstock Road, towards the city centre. (Please note, parking in Oxford is difficult and expensive and it is worth considering using the Park and Ride system).
Oxford Website: http://www.oxfordcity.co.uk