If you’ve never been to Oxford before, then I highly suggest you visit. It is filled with beautiful architecture, pretty flowers everywhere in Spring and Summer, and many quirky, daint shops. It is one of my favourite places to visit in the UK and is relatively accessible wherever you come from. I have included a walking tour map, created by me, for you to use when visiting Oxford. The link is at the bottom of the page.
Firstly, if you’re driving, parking can be a bit expensive for a whole day. I drove down but beforehand, I reserved a parking space that someone had rented out through the website/app Your Parking Space. It came to around £8 for central all-day parking in a secure location; therefore, I recommend checking it out if you don’t like paying a lot for parking.
I started my route in Westgate Shopping Centre, conveniently next to where I parked. Westgate is a really nice shopping centre with an open rooftop with restaurants and a fantastic view. If you would like to go to a nice bar, I recommend Victors. It is a bit pricey but has an amazing interior covered with flowers hanging down from the ceiling. I got an Each Peach Mocktail, which tasted heavenly. If you go in the summer, I suggest booking ahead as they were busy when I went and were turning people away.
After Westgate, I walked to Carfax Tower, which are the remains of a 13th-century church. It is another excellent viewpoint for the city and only costs £3 to walk up. Be aware that there are a lot of steps, and it is very narrow in some places. Fun fact – no building in Oxford is allowed to be constructed higher than the tower! After that, I walked to the iconic Radcliffe Camera and took lots of photos. I got there around 10 am, and it was very quiet, unlike when I walked past later in the day at around 2 pm.
After Radcliffe Camera, I saw the Bridge of Sighs and then the Claredon Building, which was really impressive! Opposite Claredon was Blackwells Bookshop, which any book lover would love to explore for a while! Outside, there was Lyra and Will’s bench (from His Dark Materials), but I believe that at the time of writing this post, it has moved to Christ Church Meadow if you’re interested. Then, I went to the most fantastic fudge shop in existence – Fudge Kitchen! You must go there if you love fudge. They even do vegan fudge, so that’s no problem. The staff are always lovely, no matter which location you visit, and the staff member in Oxford complimented my dress! So that is definitely worth a visit.
After walking around more of the shops, I then headed for the Ashmolean Museum. Entry is free. After Ashmolean, we then went to the Museum of Natural History, where admission is also free. Both museums were equally as good as each other, so if you only feel like visiting one, I suggest you visit whichever one interests you the most. Ashmolean is the oldest museum in the UK, but the Museum of Natural History feels more ‘museum-y’ due to the interior.
I then went and got some food from Itsu to take away, and sat down and ate it in the University Parks, which was a vast, green, clean open space. After my food, I walked along the other side of the River Cherwell and recrossed at Magdelen Bridge. My feet started to hurt from then on as we had done 20,000 steps by 4 pm! Luckily, there was a bench on the bridge where I rested for a few minutes before returning to my car.
Things to Avoid:
Whilst I personally believe Oxford is one of the best places to visit in the UK, there are some things I suggest you avoid. One major one is punting. Punting is a flatboat where someone has a pole to push it along, similar to a Gondola in Venice. The lowest price I saw in Oxford was £25 for an hour, which is quite reasonable, being as though it could take up to 5 people, thus meaning you could split the price. However, I feel as though it isn’t worth it as in the Summer months, it’s crowded in the river, and there’s a long wait to go punting. Walking along the river feels the same to me. I’d rather go kayaking or canoeing myself somewhere else for the same price.
Another thing I would avoid is the Botanical Gardens. It costs £5.45 to go in per adult. This is quite reasonable, though; if you’re a student like me, I just didn’t feel like it’s worth paying to visit. I understand that it needs to be run well and maintenance needs to be upheld, but if you’re just not that into plants and flowers that much, I would suggest giving it a miss. If you had children or like gardening, I do think it would be enjoyable for you.
If you’re interested in visiting Oxford and the sites we saw. I have specially made a map for you to follow. It includes everything I have mentioned in this post and is suited for people who want to walk around Oxford.
Click here for the link.
Let me know if you’ve ever visited Oxford and what you thought of it! See you next Wednesday, but in the meantime why not check out – How To Get Cheap Flights