In May of last year, I spent a few days in London, and I took the time while I was there to go on a day trip to Oxford. There is so much history to this picturesque town and its well-known university — from Oxford Castle to Christ Church College, there’s so much to see. Here are my top things to see in Oxford.
Oxford Castle — The castle was originally built by the Norman baron Robert D’Oyly in 1071. Most of this original wooden and bailey castle was renovated with stone in the 11th century. It eventually became a prison after the English Civil War. Today, the site is protected as a Scheduled Monument, and can be visited with a tour company, though some parts are accessible for free.
Bodleian Library — This library is Oxford University’s main library and is the second biggest library in Britain. It often houses very interesting displays on historical writings, including the Bodleian Treasures, to which admission is often free of charge.
Sheldonian Theatre — This building is named after the chancellor of the university at the time of the theatres construction, which was completed in 1669. The theatre is used for various ceremonies, recitals, conferences and regular concerts.
Turf Tavern — This well-hidden pub, popular amongst locals and students, has origins dating back to the 17th century! It is also known as the pub where President Clinton “did not inhale” while he was attending Oxford. I’m told the food is great too!
University Church of St-Mary the Virgin — This church was apparently the first building of Oxford University. Until the 17th century, it was not only used for religious purposes, but also for graduation ceremonies. Its tower also offers one of the best views of Oxford.
Museums — Like in most places in the UK, the museums in Oxford have free admission! Notable ones are the Museum of Oxford, the Ashmolean Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of History of Science and the Pitt Rivers Museum.
Christ Church College — This college inspired the Great Hall in the Harry Potter movies! Its distinctive features have made it an inspiration for other academic institutions.. It is considered to be one of the university’s most aristocratic colleges, and has also produced thirteen British Prime Ministers.
Christ Church Cathedral — This church serves as both College Chapel and Mother Church of the Oxford Diocese. It was once a convent church, and today is one of the cities most visited building’s.
Other Colleges worth visiting — Noteworthy colleges include All Souls College, to which you cannot apply since students are chosen (“elected”), Lincoln College, where Dr. Seuss studied, Worcester College, which is the college Emma Watson attended, Merton College, which was one of the original colleges, and New College, which is simply beautiful! Note that many colleges have an admission fee (between £2 and £5, normally). (FYI: The photo above, along with the cover photo for this article, were taken at Worcester College.)
Above are a couple more pictures I took near Christ Church College. You can use the picture below to share this article on Pinterest if you enjoyed it! By the way, I’ve visited the UK a second time since this trip, this time in Scotland! If you want to know more you can check out my post on my 48 hours in Edinburgh! And stay tuned for an upcoming post on London!