Day trip to Oxford
LIGHT HISTORY OF OXFORD
As you walk along the streets of Oxford, you cannot help but feel the history that has passed before you
The history of Oxford goes all the way back to the 700s. The "first academic teaching" at Oxford dates to around 1096 and the first "purpose built" accommodation for students was Mob Quad, completed in 1310 for Merton College. The city was the site of much civil unrest and religious persecution. After Henry VIII's rule, his Catholic daughter Mary took over the throne and set out to reverse the Anglican reform. As a result many Protestants were burned at the stake, including at University Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
During the English Civil War, King Charles called Oxford home. The University was royalist and when Charles I was besieged by Oliver Cromwell, the city suffered for its support of Charles. Many heads of colleges were replaced with Cromwell supporters and some buildings were destroyed in fighting.
Further, the University of Cambridge, England's other world famous University, was founded by dissatisfied Oxford students.
What to do
There is so much to do in Oxford that it is hard to narrow it down
To start, I would recommend just walking the streets and visiting all the colleges that make up The University of Oxford, they alone are beautiful and historic. As the University still operates under a collegiate system, each college is separate and if you are in that college then you not only study there, but sleep and eat there too! It's very "Harry Potter". As a result of this, going into the garden of each college, unless you are a perspective student, is usually off limits.
Along this journey you will pass Radcliffe Camera, one of the most distinctive landmarks in Oxford, and University Church of St. Mary the Virgin (considered one of the oldest university buildings in the world). The sites are beside each other and as you wander are worth a look. Then further along you will reach The Covered Market, which dates back to the 1700s and houses several alleys of boutiques and artisan shops.
Keep walking and you should eventually bump into the Bodleian Library. It still functions as a library for the University and if you pay a pound you can visit a hall where Harry Potter was filmed. There are other ticket options and depending on which ticket you buy, you can also visit the University’s oldest teaching and examination room, The Divinity School (built 1427), or take a guided tour.
There are several, wonderful museums in the city and an array of cafes and boutiques. You will be spoiled for choice.
The Oxford Artisan Distillery they offer 45 minute and 90 minute tours.
CLIMB the Saxon St. George’s Tower
DESCEND into the atmospheric 900-year-old crypt
EXPLORE the the 18th-century Debtors’ Tower and Prison D-Wing and learn about the modern history of the site and its inmates.
Gee's Restaurant and Bar We spotted this lovely restaurant on the drive into Oxford and I insisted we come for dinner. Gee's not only is historic (it was originally a 19th century garden centre), it has lovely food (amazing bread!), wonderful cocktails, a good wine selection and is set inside a beautiful Victorian conservatory. Do visit.
GETTING THERE BY RAIL: Oxford Railway Station is just a ten minute walk from the city centre. There are direct services from London Paddington and Marylebone.
GETTING THERE BY ROAD: We drove to Oxford from Coventry and it only took around 1 hour and 20 minutes using the motorway. The real problem was once we arrived in Oxford. Parking is not that convenient, although we did find a small lot in the end. Here is a link from the city council that shows the main parking lots. PARKING.
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