City Guide to Oxford, England
Author: Julie Thompson | Last Updated: 30 Jun 2019
The city of Oxford is located in southern England and the city revolves around the prestigious and famous university of Oxford. The university dates back to the twelfth century and it comprises of thirty eight different colleges. The city is home to a mix of modern and ancient and there is plenty of things to see and do, including visiting one of the many historic buildings, a spot of retail therapy or relaxing and enjoying some fine food and drink. It is very easy to get to the city of Oxford as it has excellent road and rail links to other parts of the UK. The nearby airports are in the city of London and these are Gatwick airport and Heathrow.
Best time of the year to visit Oxford
The city of Oxford has a maritime climate and there is precipitation all throughout the year. The average temperature in the city tends to vary greatly, however the warmest months tends to be June, July and August. The busiest month for the city of Oxford is August however June and July also tend to be rather popular. The city tends to be rather quite in December as there are not as many tourists during this month.
Oxford City Centre
The city centre is not very large however there is a lot of things to see and do. There are four main streets that make up the city and these all meet at the intersection called Carfax. The High Street in the city of Oxford is lined with a number of spectacular buildings which includes many of the colleges which are part of the university. There is also a range of high-end chain and independent stores on the High Street if you fancy a bit of retail therapy.
Carfax Tower dates back to the fourteenth century and it is a relic of St Martin’s church which has now been destroyed. This tower stands at the point where the four main streets of the city meet. St Martin’s church was once the official civic place of worship and officials were expected to attend there for worship. It is thought that council meetings were held within the church prior to the dedicated hall. There are at least twenty Oxford Mayors buried at the church and these date back to 1349 and Richard Carey. The tower is now owned by the city council. For the adventurous visitors there is an option to climb to the top of the seventy four foot tower and this will reward you with panoramic views of the city.
Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral serves the district of Oxford which encompasses the counties of Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Originally the cathedral was known as the church of St Frideswide’s Priory. The location of the cathedral is thought to have been the location for a nunnery which was founded by St Frideswide, who was the patron saint of the city. The shrine is located in the Latin Chapel and it originally contained relics that were taken from the rebuilding during 1180. The cathedral has had a choir since 1526. A visit to the cathedral will be perfect for visitors you have an interest in architecture.
Radcliffe Square is located in the heart of Oxford and it is surrounded by historic building that are used by the college and university. This square is cobbled, and it is laid with grass and surrounded by railings. This area is pedestrianised except for access therefore it is a great location for a stroll. This square is named after John Radcliffe who was a student at the university and went onto be the doctor to the king. The centrepiece in the square is Radcliffe Camera, which is a library that was originally for science and it was built during 1737 and 1748. This library is part of the Bodleian Library which is the main building located to the north of the square. This is another splendid area to view some great architecture.
Sheldonian Theatre is located in the city of Oxford and it was built during 1664 and 1669. This theatre as built using a design from Christopher Wren and the building was named after Gilbert Sheldon. Gilbert Sheldon was a chancellor of the university. This theatre is a grade two listed building and it is used for some of the bigger concerts within the city. This theatre is yet another great example of splendid architecture within the city of Oxford.
Cornmarket Street will be a popular location for visitors who enjoy some retail therapy. This street is one of the main shopping areas in the city and it is pedestrianised. To the east of the street there is small jewellery shops, an arcade and some crafts shops, which are in a historical courtyard. To the west of the street is the indoor shopping centre, which is called Clarendon, and this is an L shaped building that is connected to Queen Street. There are many buildings on this street which have timbre frames and date back to the fourteenth century.
A visit to Oxford castle is really something that should be on your to do list for when you are visiting the city. The building has a rich history dating back more than a thousand years and includes when William the Conqueror invaded England and when the Battle of Hasting was won in 1066. This castle was the ideal location for the Normans. The castle and prison are a very popular visitor attraction and the tours provide the ideal way to learn about the history. The climb to the very top of St George’s Tower which is one of the oldest buildings in the city will enable you to enjoy 360o panoramic views of the city. On your visit you can descend underground into the dark atmosphere of the nine hundred year old vault which is the only remains of St George’s Chapel that have survived. Admission to the guide is by tour only and the tour will also take you to see the former prison.
Blenheim Palace is a monumental house located in Blenheim in Oxfordshire. This house was the principal residence for the Dukes of Marlborough, and it is the only non-royal house in England to be given the title of a palace. The palace was built during 1705 and 1722, in 1987 it became a designated site for World Heritage. This attraction is probably best known for the 1704 Battle of Blenheim. This house was first intended to be as a reward for John Churchill for his military triumphs against the Bavarians and the French. A visit to this palace will give you an insight into the life of the Dukes and the gardens are a delight to walk around.
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Natural History is a great way to spend a day out and it will be interesting for people of all ages. This museum is part of Oxford University and it was founded during 1860. This museum has a significant collection of international natural history archives and specimens. These artefacts are housed in a stunning building that is neo-Gothic and inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites. The museum is also home to a lively and varied program of teaching, public events and research. The museum is home to vast amount of permanent collections however there is also some temporary collections, therefore there is always something different to see when you visit. The museum is also home to a café and a shop. The café is the perfect place to relax and enjoy some freshly prepared cakes, soups and sandwiches and a range of beverages.
Ashmolean Museum will be an interesting day out for people of all ages. This museum is part of the University of Oxford and it is home to a vast array of archaeology and art related exhibitions. This museum was founded in 1683 and it is home to a famous collection of Egyptian mummies. There is also some contemporary art and stories telling tales about human cultures across the decades.
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