We did a day trip to Oxford recently before the fall colours went away for the year. By the end of the day we realised that it is impossible to see all of Oxford’s sights in a single day. We nevertheless had a fantastic day sightseeing. The city is a photographer’s delight with its beautiful architecture, picturesque scenery and glimpses of history in every nook and corner. In autumn, the city becomes even more beautiful with fall colours and vibrant sunsets.
The Bodleian Library (est. 1602): We started our day trip by taking a guided tour of the Bodleian Library. It’s the second largest library in the UK (after London’s British Library) because it gets 1 copy of every book that is printed. For Potterheads, it’s also the place where the library scenes were shot along with the Yule Ball rehearsal scene (video posted below along with our pic). The top floor library is stacked floor to ceiling with books, some of them really old. It was a little disappointing that we couldn’t take pictures there or enter the reading section but it’s a great tour nevertheless.
Oxford University Press (OUP): This is sort of an offbeat place to visit but at the very top of our bucketlist. We’ve grown up reading a lot of books (textbooks or otherwise) published by this iconic publishing house. We visited the Museum / Archives that showcases the history of the press (appointment only) and were shown around by an OUP archivist. The coolest bit was seeing the hand printing tools from back in the day. We highly recommend contacting OUP and setting up a visit.
No visit for book lovers to Oxford is complete without checking out the OUP bookshop at High Street, Oxford. Note that the bookshop is in a very different location from the OUP HQ. Yoda went nuts with her book sniffing new books here and old books at The Last Bookshop.
Tip: Score a 10% discount by flashing a valid student ID while buying any book from the OUP bookstore.
University of Oxford Campus: One of the most picturesque university campuses in the UK if not the world. Again, Potterheads can visit other shooting locations for Harry Potter movies. Just taking a walk across campus on a sunny fall day was worth making the day trip. Do no miss the Radcliffe Camera (which we can’t get enough of), the Hertford Bridge & the Sheldonian Theatre which are located close to each other.
Oxford Canals: We visited the canals to get our final glimpse of fall colours. Like other English canals, this system connects a number of cities but starts from Oxford. There are walking trails next to the canal system. Well worth a visit when trees have leaves on.
Other sights & things we missed
For readers of this post who haven’t been to Oxford before there are a few places that we didn’t visit due to lack of time so we’ll just give them a mention. Ashmolean museum (pictured, closed Monday), Christ Church, Trinity College, Blenheim palace & Oxford Museum of Natural History are places that we’ll visit on a future trip.
We saw a couple of interesting things worth mentioning while we walked about. We entered the City Church of Oxford for a wee bit. We also saw the Google Maps guy!! So BeyondOurHorizons@ is now proudly pictured within the Google Maps street view of Oxford’s city centre.
Food & Drink
Our only meal of the day was breakfast (for lunch) at an Oxford institution, Brown’s cafe within the Oxford covered market. Excellent value for money & comfort food, no complaints from us. 🙂
Getting in and around
Getting to Oxford is best done by train. It’s slightly more than an hour from London Paddington by the Great Western Railway and CrossCountry connects Oxford to Birmingham and beyond. A number of buses connect Oxford to London 24/7.
We got around Oxford by walking everywhere, it was just great because we had good weather and it’s such a walkable city. There is a local bus service too that we’d recommend over taking the Hop on hop off bus (Blenheim palace is the only place that’s worth the money).
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