Tomorrow, we’ll be doing a takeover on Dame Traveler’s Instagram account. Hurray! We’ll be showing our favourite spots around the beautiful city of Oxford, England. So, to tie in with our jaunt around this city, we thought we’d also write a short guide to this city of dreaming spires.
A mini guide to a day in Oxford
1) We’d firstly recommend you rent a bike so you can zip around nice and quickly. Riding a bike is a beautiful way to see Oxford and will save you plenty of time. For our visit last weekend, we rented some bikes from Walton Street Cycles.
2) Armed with your bike, start the day nice and early to beat the crowds, and head to the Radcliffe Square to view the beautiful Radcliffe Camera. This imposing reading room is part of the famous Bodleian Library, and a truly stunning piece of architecture. Housing the Radcliffe Science Library, the ‘Rad Cam’ as its affectionately known, was built in 1737 – 1749 and even features its very own underground railway!
3) From here, walk the few steps to the Bodleian Library (also know as the ‘Bodley’ or ‘Bod’). This is one of the oldest libraries in Europe and as mentioned, even has an underground tunnel (you can book a tour of this) that leads from the Bod to the Rad Cam. How very Harry Potter! Speaking of Harry Potter, the Duke Humfrey’s Library is the authentic ‘Harry Potter’ library featured in the film and again can be visited on a tour. Although beautiful, from a practical studying point of view, the Duke Humfrey’s is not the best place for hard-work: you can only take a pencil and paper in. No pens, no water. We didn’t last long.
4) Next, have a look around some of the University’s colleges. We recommend you avoid the more obvious such as Christ Church (Harry Potter hall) and Magdalen, and explore some of the smaller and more beautiful colleges such as Lincoln or the gardens of Worcester. Mini fact: there are 38 Colleges at Oxford and 6 private halls, if you’re a student at Oxford, you will belong to one of these.
5) After lunch, head to the Pitt Rivers Museum and Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Take a look at the very creepy shrunken heads in the Pitt Rivers. This museum, dedicated to anthropology, is full of a dizzying array of artifacts and mementos, ranging from written spells and wands, to tombs and mummified bodies. It really is a wonderful place to explore for a few hours.
6) Finally, to end the day and rest your weary legs, treat yourself to some high tea at The Grand Cafe! This is said to be the site of the first coffee house in England and is quintessentially English.
NB: If you’re looking for a real ‘pub’ experience in the evening, head to The Turf Tavern. This tiny 13th century pub is usually packed full of Oxford students and sightseers (including Bill Clinton, once upon a time!) and does great fish and chips.