In and out of Oxford

Here’s how to make the most of a day trip to the UK’s famous Oxford University.

In and out of Oxford

Home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Oxford is well worth the visit if you find yourself in the UK.

If you are visiting from London, as we were, one of the easiest ways to get there is to jump on the train. Just a bit over an hour away, you’ll arrive within walking distance from the centre of town.

So what to do when you get there? We were blessed with blazing sunshine which made for a perfect day to go punting on the river. There are two options when it comes to the traditional Oxford punt: choose to have a crack at it yourself, or sit back and soak up the scenery while one of the experts does it for you. We went for option B and I can wholeheartedly recommend you do the same. Before you go, grab a bottle of prosecco and some cups, and then head down to Magdalen Bridge Boathouse – you can also purchase boater hats if you want to look the part. The punting route takes you behind some of the university’s 30 colleges, with no shortage of stunning scenery. Pop open your wine, and sit back and relax as you watch those who chose option A struggle with their poles – you can rest assured they are not having the same enjoyable experience you are.

Attended by many of the world’s leaders, writers, and artists, Oxford University’s colleges are famous in themselves. So, which ones should you visit? Christ Church College is known as the ‘Harry Potter College’, as it contains the Great Dining Hall which inspired the set for the Hogwarts Great Hall. Scenes from the film series were shot here too. Lewis Carroll’s real-life inspiration for Alice in Wonderland lived here too, as her father was the Dean.

Lincoln College was where Dr Seuss earned his education, and it has a particularly pretty front quadrangle. Magdalen College, attended by CS Lewis, Oscar Wilde and J. Paul Getty, is considered to be the most beautiful. For something different, New College has distinctive architecture that looks more like a castle, with famous alumni including Hugh Grant and Virginia Woolf.

For a panoramic view of Oxford, Carfax Tower overlooks what has been a crossroad for 1000 years. It’s the only surviving part of the medieval St Martin’s Church, and is a great place to visit (especially if you can climb the 99 steps to the top).

If you want a great view without all the effort, head to The Varsity Club, or TVC as it’s called. Spanning four floors, TVC offers everything from eating and drinking to partying. We opted for the rooftop, the perfect spot to soak up the sun and the scenery, and enjoyed a delicious mezze board accompanied by a bottle of rosé .

If you’ve got the time and wish to stay the night, it’s worth looking into the university’s accommodation, as you can stay in the dorms when students are away.

Have you been to Oxford? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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    COMMENTS

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    Maur
    9th Jul 2016
    7:00am
    Born in Oxford, it is a beautiful city. Rich in history and called the city of dreaming spires. Oxford has produced many famous people who were educated there. Traditions are still very much alive . Undergraduates still ride bikes as it is the easiest and preferred method of getting around Oxford . I suggest that a visitor take the open top bus and view all the historical buildings and colleges. The driver does a running commentary. Well worth a visit.
    Maur
    9th Jul 2016
    7:00am
    Born in Oxford, it is a beautiful city. Rich in history and called the city of dreaming spires. Oxford has produced many famous people who were educated there. Traditions are still very much alive . Undergraduates still ride bikes as it is the easiest and preferred method of getting around Oxford . I suggest that a visitor take the open top bus and view all the historical buildings and colleges. The driver does a running commentary. Well worth a visit.
    MICK
    9th Jul 2016
    10:07am
    Twins?
    MICK
    9th Jul 2016
    10:07am
    "MOther country"???? Sorry but not mine dear.
    Better places to visit in the world which are also much cheaper, but a matter of perspective I guess.
    Maur
    9th Jul 2016
    12:41pm
    I replied to the "have you been to Oxford "
    Yes i have also travelled extensively and yes there are beautiful things to see I agree . However it was only the topic on Oxford i mentioned. Agree with Fish Head below a day trip to Oxford would not take in all the historical features and places of interest .
    fish head
    9th Jul 2016
    10:36am
    Oxford a day trip? Hardly. Unless you are been there -done that visitor. Far, far too much to see. Better taken at a slower pace to absorb everything. Besides which you are competing with bikes everywhere which does restrict pedestrian spend somewhat. Why do you think the students love them.
    Gammer
    9th Jul 2016
    3:19pm
    Born in a small village 8 miles from Oxford it was a brilliant place for me growing up. I love history so it was an ideal environment and it is so picturesque. Terrific museums and places of historical significance. Oh yes, visit Oxford and be enchanted! I do watch 'Morse', 'Lewis' etc so that I can get a little rush of nostalgia for my home town....
    Sue
    9th Jul 2016
    3:59pm
    I was born in Oxford and agree there are many interesting places to visit there. I left and came to Sydney at the age of 24 on a working holiday and stayed here. I have fond memories of cycling to school in the winter, snow on the road, and very cold. Other times, I took the bus to Queens Lane and changed to go to my school at Headington. I remember May mornings when the choir used to sing at the top of Magdalen Tower. We would decorate our 'boaters' with flowers on May Day and watch the Morris Dancers. There used to be a record store called Maxwells at The Plain with a coffee shop where my friends and I would meet. (That was in the 60's)
    granje
    10th Jul 2016
    12:52am
    I was also born in the Radcliffe Infirmary Oxford -lived at Thame, Wolvercote and Yarnton before coming to Australia in 1967. I worked in the bursary at New College and used to go under the Bridge of Sighs (pictured) which went over New College Lane on my way to and from work.Like Gammer love to watch Morse and Lewis . Happy memories.
    Oscar1
    10th Jul 2016
    8:16am
    Had a day trip to Oxford last yr. Took train from London. Great city. So picturesque. So much history. Had a nice lunch at the pub next to New College, the one featured in Lewis and Morse shows. Regret did not punt. Would definitely visit again if in UK. Also Cambridge.


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