Britain is celebrating this summer! The whole country will have its eyes on London as the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee in June. This summer is all about British culture, heritage and age-old traditions.
Britain’s Heritage Cities is a group of 6 cities across the country with thousands of years of history to share. In an effort to make their mark on tourists from abroad, these Heritage Cities want the world to know there’s more to England than just London. Bath, Carlisle, Chester, Oxford, Stratford and York… even for Brits at home this summer there is an exciting platter of events going on that shouldn’t be missed.
Oxford is whole-heartedly a university city. The city centre is dotted with university colleges, libraries, chapels… all in pretty yellow stone. One of the city’s most famous buildings is the Bodleian Library, the main research library of the University of Oxford, from 1427. With more than 7 million books on 118 miles worth of shelving… the Bodleian Library is a sight to see. Don’t miss the stunning Divinity School, used as Hogwarts sanatorium in Harry Potter.
Having such an old university in town means that there’s also quite a few quirky and cool museums too, housing the random and historical objects that have made their way here in the hands of students and scholars. Take the Ashmolean Museum for example, established in 1683, which houses the university’s art and antiques. It’s the oldest public museum in the world! Others not to be missed include the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments and the Pitt Rivers Museum.
Where can you get the best views of Oxford?
- Carfax Tower
- Saxon Tower of St Michael at the North Gate
- University Church of St Mary the Virgin
- Sheldonian THeatre
University of Oxford
If you don’t have much time, definitely make it a priority to see Oxford’s colleges and the city centre. The best way to do that is to sign up with a walking tour; there are guided tours leaving from the tourist office daily at 11am and 2pm.
When the weather is nice, there is no better place to enjoy the city than with a picnic on the riverside. Hire a canoe or a punt and paddle your way down the River Isis or along the Oxford Canal.
Museum of Oxford
For a complete round-up of the city’s remarkable history, head to the Museum of Oxford. It is the only museum in Oxford that tells the story of the city all the way from prehistoric times to today.
University of Oxford Botanical Garden
The oldest botanical garden in Britain is a sight to see at the height of spring. With 7,000+ species, the University of Oxford Botanical Garden is stunning. It’s just alongside the River Cherwell.
Any bookworms in the house? Oxford is as known for its university as it is its University press. The best place to shop for books s in the huge Norrington Room in the famous Blackwell’s Bookshop on Broad Street. Imagine a 3 mile-long room of book shelves, piled to the ceiling.
Why not plan a heritage weekend away? From London, Oxford is easiest to reach with a London car hire via the M40 and take just over an hour, depending of course which corner of London you’re coming from. Have you ever been to Oxford? What is your favourite heritage building there?