Oxford – Things to see and do

Oxford is, in many ways, a world-class city and much more than a famed learning centre. It is also an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding countryside and attractions – including the nearby Cotswolds – and it’s a great centre for walking, cycling, canoeing and horse riding trips.

Apart from its 38 beautiful college buildings that are primarily open to the public, Oxford boasts five world-class museums (all free), the Bodleian Library and Britain’s first Botanic Garden. Visitors to the city are spoilt for choice with other possibilities, including punting on the River Cherwell, a river trip, an open-top bus tour or a visit to Oxford’s open-air swimming pool or its ice rink. 

Harry Potter fans flock to Christ Church, whose Great Tudor Hall inspired Hogwarts and where some scenes were filmed. The Botanic Garden, designed as Britain’s first ‘physic garden’ of medicinal plants, is a haven of tranquillity where you can watch punts 

drift by or listen to the crack of the cricket ball from the playing fields opposite. 

As well as its collection of well-established museums, 2014 saw the opening of a new museum in Oxford – The Story Museum – which celebrates children’s literature and storytelling. Oxford is also a foodie’s heaven. The Covered Market is crammed with individual shops while pubs, hotels and eateries abound. 

Theatre lovers are also very well catered to by the Oxford Playhouse, the New Theatre, and the Pegasus Theatre, which offer various productions and entertainment. Music is another Oxford speciality – whether performed by the three choir schools at New, Magdalen or Christ Church colleges, in the imposing Sheldonian Theatre, or by national and local bands at the O2 or Regal. 

Accommodation is available to suit all tastes, from the five-star MacDonald Randolph Hotel to the comfy and convenient YHA next to the rail station.

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