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  • Chris Cunliffe

The Best of Oxford and it’s Must-visit Attractions

Oxford is known across the globe for its rich history and prestigious university. Visitors are immersed in its charm, its classic England look and the varied heritage. Being just a little more than an hour away from central London, it is definitely worth considering to add to your itinerary, due to it’s classic England feel, it’s heritage and the varied attractions it has to offer. Discover some of these top-notch attractions in Oxford below and plan your memorable experience to this classic English city.


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The University of Oxford


No better place to start than what the city is most known for, one of the world's oldest and most prestigious universities. The University of Oxford, which dates back to the 12th century, has been a beacon of education and higher education worldwide. You can visit the university and see inside some of its grand halls, corridors and the library with guided tours around the building. Of course the university has many working buildings with many studying still, so not all places are accessible but do check the university’s website to find more information about the tours and what type of tours are running on your visit dates. . A journey through its numerous colleges is crucial for comprehending not only Oxford's past but also the customs that influence the pursuit of knowledge globally. Among the 38 independent colleges at the university, Christ Church stands out for its historical and architectural significance, as it was used in the Harry Potter films to inspire Hogwarts' Great Hall, not just for how it looked. With its impressive buildings and vast deer park, Magdalen College is renowned for its May Morning tradition, which involves choristers singing from the top of their college tower to welcome the arrival of spring. Balliol College, which is one of the oldest and most esteemed colleges in Oxford, has produced many British prime ministers. Merton College, one of the oldest colleges in Oxford, was founded in 1264 and is renowned for its impressive gardens and medieval library. Plus, don't miss visiting the Bodleian Library, one of Europe's oldest libraries which houses more than 13 million printed items. The site was also a filming spot for many films, including Harry Potter. Visitors to the University of Oxford can explore a world of tradition, beauty, and intellectual curiosity.



University of Oxford
University of Oxford

 

Oxford Castle & Prison


A fascinating insight into Oxford's medieval history is available at Oxford Castle & Prison. Throughout its long history, this Norman castle, built in the 11th century, has been utilised as both an artillery barracks and a county jail. Today, it is a significant heritage site that offers fusions of history, archaeology, and architecture. Furthermore, you can take a tour at night to experience the history of this ancient site in costume. As you ascend the Saxon St., George's Tower offers a panoramic view of the city and its famous spire. Walk into the crypt, which is the only Norman stone-built chapel in Oxfordshire and has survived 900 years. The Debtors' Tower and the Prison D-Wing, where inmates were held until the prison was closed down in 1996, are also worth a visit. Located within the castle grounds, the Mound is a fortification constructed from motte and cane trees that provide sweeping views of Oxford. Oxford Castle & Prison contains stories about every aspect of the social and penal history of England from its Norman conquest onwards. Explore the diverse range of stories and human experiences that have shaped Oxford over the centuries by visiting. The Castle & Prison are suitable for anyone who loves history, architecture, or just want to escape the city.

 


Oxford Castle
Oxford Castle

 

Natural History Museum


If you're interested in exploring the natural world, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is a must-visit museum. The museum, which opened in 1860, boasts an impressive collection of natural sciences, including dinosaur fossils and various insects. The museum's architecture is truly impressive. This Neo-Gothic style museum is known for its glass and iron roof, which shines brightly throughout the main court, drawing attention to the ornate stonework and the collections below. The museum's collection includes Oxfordshire dinosaurs, the dodo and other exhibits in its tower. In addition to the extinct Dodo, there are fossils that provide insight into the evolution of life on Earth. A magnificent skeleton of a blue whale hangs in the main court, plus the museum showcases dinosaurs in their natural habitat. Additionally, the museum's focus has more recently shifted from just exhibiting to providing a narrative about conservation and sustainable futures. Offering a range of educational programs, workshops, and lectures that are both entertaining and informative, not just for children, the museum really provides a day out for everyone, with the programs aimed to enhance the knowledge of natural history and provide opportunities for the upcoming generation of scientists. Touchable specimens, multimedia displays and live demonstrations make the museum an interactive learning hub so you won’t get bored.



Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum

 

Port Meadow


A visit to Port Meadow in Oxford is a must-do experience for those seeking some tranquility and the traditional English garden space. In the north west of the city is this retreat with an open, undisturbed landscapes of the city that have kept people amused for approximately 4,000 years. During sunset, the Port Meadow is particularly beautiful with the spectacular colours of sunlight that shines off the lake. The meadow changes seasonally, from wildflowers in the spring and singing skylarks to chilly winter landscapes. Those who enjoy walking can take in the view along the river, with the Thames Path taking in views of Godstow Abbey and other historic sites. With its vast open spaces and diverse wildlife, it iss a great destination for nature enthusiasts and those seeking secluded spots to enjoy the natural beauty of Oxford. Whether you're looking for a serene walk, picnic, or simply to admire the pastures and bovine life, this is a picturesque beauty in Oxford.



Port Meadow
Port Meadow

 

The city of Oxford has a wealth of historical and leisurely landmarks that will make your visit more worthwhile to understand the charm of Oxford and why it still stands as one of the most influential cities in the world. The city is timeless whilst always continuing to regenerate and innovate. On your next visit to the UK, make sure you add this iconic city to the list.

 

We've reached the end of the article Exploring the must see attractions in Oxford. So whether you're a local that wants to see more or a curious traveller exploring Oxford for the first time, we encourage you to embark on your own adventure through the city's classic attractions. If you are visiting England, make sure to read our previous blogs. In case you are traveling to Portugal or Poland in the future, you should try out our tours in Porto, Lisbon, and Warsaw. Remember to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on the new releases. We will be back soon with a new article!

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