Oxford is known the world over as the ‘City of the Dreaming Spires’, filled with ancient university buildings and historic architecture. Oxford has been the home of royalty for some 800 years and a place for scholars to study and philosophise since the 9th century. This stately and historic Oxford is often romanticised as being a true taste of English heritage and history but despite appearances it has moved with the times and is still very much a modern city; alongside the ancient stone walls of the university buildings you will find high tech businesses plying their trade. Oxford is a wonderful city to visit as there is just so much to see, from the old university quads to the wonderful museums and galleries that are located here.
Parks and Open Spaces
Whilst there are a number of parks and open spaces that are free for all to enter, remember that some of the college gardens are also open for visitors too, for a small admission fee. If you are visiting the city through the summer make a point of visiting Christ Church Meadow, for as you walk along the riverbank you will be able to see the teams of rowers from the university practicing on the river. Wolvercote Common and Part Meadow is a large area of open land that was once used for racing horses, especially during the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as for grazing animals. There are a number of walks that will take you around the area which encompass a number of hands stops for refreshments. The Botanic Garden of the University of Oxford is also free to visit and is situated just opposite Magdalen College. These beautiful gardens were originally founded in 1621 as a physic garden, for the production of medicinal herbs, though now has many other features such as the bog garden and tropical greenhouses.
The City Centre
Much of the centre of Oxford is dominated by the different colleges of the university including Balliol, Trinity and of course Christ Church which are the most recognisable, though in fact there are a grand total of thirty six Oxford university collages. The church of St Giles attracts many visitors and has a unique memorial to those bishops of the protestant faith who during Tudor times were burned at the stake by Queen Mary (Catholic), there is a small in the grounds outside of Balliol College that signifies the spot where the executions took place. Being such a vibrant and cosmopolitan city centre there are plenty of opportunities to indulge in a little retail therapy, as well as being able to treat your taste buds at any number of dining establishments from the student’s favourites to find dining experiences. Much of the architecture and many of the buildings will be recognisable from the number of television dramas that have been filmed here, and there are a number of tours that will take you around the different locations that have been used both in novels and for the screen.