Oxford ... a potted guide
Places worth visiting...
Blenheim Palace Library
Oxford is, in many ways, a world class city and so much more than a famed centre of learning. It is also an excellent base 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 mostly 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, open-top bus tour or visit to Oxford's open air swimming pool or its ice rink.
Harry Potter fans flock to Christ Church, whose Great Tudor Hall was the inspiration for 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 for with the Oxford Playhouse, the New Theatre and the Pegasus Theatre offering a huge variety of 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.
There is accommodation to suit all tastes, from the five-star MacDonald Randolph Hotel down to the comfy and convenient YHA next to the rail station.
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