I traveled to Oxford for work several times over the past few years and fell completely in love with this English city. Oxford is full of picturesque historical buildings that have been perfectly preserved. You feel like you are walking through history along the cobble stone pathways. The local myth is that Hitler wanted to make Oxford his new headquarter and therefore ordered for it to be “left alone” during WWII. We are fortunate enough to have this city preserved for our enjoyment.
It’s also favorite location for the film industry. You might feel a sense of familiarity with the buildings as Harry Potter was filmed at Christ Church, Bodleian Library and New College. Downtown Abbey also used Oxfordshire (the suburbs of Oxford) for their filming locations. For more information on locations used by the film industry, click on Film locations.
Here are my recommendations for Oxford.
Getting to Oxford:
Oxford is a close day trip for those staying in London. I normally fly into London and stay a day or two to visit friends before heading to Oxford. My favorite mode of transportation is to take the inexpensive hour train ride (approximately 20 pounds) from London Paddington Station. The train also leaves every 30 minutes so there is no need to book in advance or make a run for the train. Click on Transportation options to Oxford for the various options to get to Oxford
Where to Stay:
Oxford has a good selection of lodging to choose from. Here are my favorite picks.
1) Old Parsonage Hotel (Hotel Website ; 1 BANBURY ROAD, OXFORD, OX2 6NN; Tel +855-516-1090) – This is an upscale boutique hotel situated in the heart of Oxford. This 17th century converted parsonage will make you feel like you step into a Jane Austen’s novel.
2) Malmaison Oxford (Hotel Website ; Oxford Castle, 3 New Road, Oxford OX1 1AY; Tel +44 1865 689944) – This is a former prison that have been converted several years ago to an upscale hotel. The location is a bit farther away from city center so you will have to take a 5 minute cab ride to town.
3) Old Bank Hotel (Hotel Website ; 91-94 High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BJ; Tel + 01865 799599) – This is the first hotel in one hundred and thirty five years to be created in the heart of the city on High Street. This is the most convenient location for all your sight seeing needs.
4) Mercure Eastgate Oxford (Hotel Website ; 73 High Street, Oxford OX1 4BE; Tel +44 1865 248332) – This hotel is the best bang for your buck. It’s conveniently located on High Street and is also a convenient location for your sight seeing needs. The price is more budget friendly than the Old Bank Hotel. My only pet peeve is that the rooms are small so you will feel a bit cramped if you have a lot of luggage.
Where to Eat:
1) Old Parsonage Restaurant & Bar – I can’t say enough how much I love the Old Parsonage Hotel. The hotel also has a beautiful afternoon tea service and gourmet dinner menu for those in the mood to be pampered.
2) The Trout (195 Godstow Road, Wolvercote, Oxford Ox2 8PN; Tel: 0186505109320; http://www.thetroutoxford.co.uk) – This is a historic 17th century local pub that offers gorgeous view of the Thames River and delicious modern gastro-pub cuisine that dispels any notion of heavy English fare.
3) Quod Brasserie & Bar – This restaurant located in the Old Bank Hotel has something for everyone. You will mingle with the local for scrumptious food at this casual dining venue.
4) Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (Restaurant Website ; Church Road, Great Milton, Oxford, OX44 7PD; Tel +44 (0)1844 278 881)- This 2 Michelin stars restaurant is a gastronomique feast for your taste buds. It’s considered the best dining around the area. The restaurant is located at the Belmond Manor House hotel in the picturesque village of Great Milton. The 2 acres garden supplies the restaurant with seasonal ingredients. It is highly recommended that you book your dining in advance of your trip.
Pubs worth grabbing a pint at:
1) The Eagle and Child Pub (49 St. Giles, Oxford OX1 3LU, UK; Tel: 01865302925) – This 16th century pub/lodging house is a must visit for literary fan of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. You will also notice how low the ceiling is compared to modern housing.
Source: http://www.flickr.com/Thorskegga Thorn
2) The Bear Inn (6 Alfred Street, Oxford OX1 4EH, UK; Tel: 01865 728164) – This is the oldest pub in Oxford dating back to the 1242.
Things worth doing in Oxford:
1) Hire a rowing boat called the “punt” from Cherwell or Magdalen Boathouse to ferry you through the waterway.
Source: http://www.flickr.com/Miranda Ward
2) Tour Christ Church (Link) and take a stroll through the surrounding Christ Church Meadow.
3) Radcliff Square (Link) – Walk around this cobbled stone square that surrounds the medieval University Church of St Mary the Virgin, the 15th century Bdleian Library and the Palladian-style Radcliffe Camera. I believe this location was also used in Harry Potter films.
Source: www.flickr.com/Clive t Jones
4) Check out the weird and interesting artifacts that Lieutenant-General Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers collected during his posts around the British Empire at the Pitt Rivers Museum. You will get a sense just how expansive the British Empire used to be.
Source: www.flickr.com/Simon Spedding
Oxford is a small city with the usual chain stores. There is the Oxford Blue Cheese that you can pick up at the Oxford Cheese Shop (LINK ; 17, Covered Market) as souvenirs.