It is difficult to present a city that does not require an introduction. Oxford is home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world, dating back to the 11th century. With its various self-governing colleges scattered throughout the old city centre, Oxford has a unique character and is adorned with monuments worthy of architects like Sir Christopher Wren. Throughout the year you'll see students in black robes walking around and you can take a quick tour of these colleges as well as enjoy amenities such as Wren's Sheldonian Theater and the record-holding Bodleian Library.
Today we're sharing the top 10 things to do in Oxford so you can plan a trip and discover all the exciting attractions and activities this magnificent city has to offer.
Christ Church, Oxford's most popular and picturesque college, has many interesting places to visit. Founded in 1546 by King Henry VII, this college offers attractive architecture just south of the city center. It houses an impressive courtyard, cathedral and rooms. Plus, you can stroll through an idyllic meadow and explore the college's art gallery and library.
The Bodleian Library
The Bodleian Library, one of the oldest and most beautiful libraries in Europe, is located in the east of the city, between the Sheldonian Theater and the Radcliffe Camera. It has more than 13 million books, manuscripts and maps, making it the university's main library. Founded in 1602, it has hosted many kings, prime ministers and Nobel Prize winners. Don't miss out on discovering this immense collection of knowledge.
Oxford University Natural History Museum
The University of Oxford Natural History Museum offers a fascinating insight into the history and diversity of life on Earth. This museum, established in 1850, is located next to the Pitts River Museum, which also houses an impressive collection. These two museums are housed in a superb neo-Gothic building designed like a cathedral dedicated to science. You will be able to admire varied and enriching exhibitions, all in a magnificently decorated interior courtyard.
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Oxford Castle is one of the city's main tourist attractions. Located west of the city center, it offers fascinating features to explore, such as dilapidated crypts, towers and prison cells. This castle, which was originally made of wood, was rebuilt in stone by the Normans at the end of the 12th century. Information panels scattered throughout the vast gardens will teach you the history of the castle.
Oxford University Botanic Garden
The beautiful Botanic Gardens of the University of Oxford are located to the south-east of the city centre, next to Merton College. One of the oldest scientific gardens in the world, it offers numerous paths to explore and is full of colorful flowers, plants and trees. Originally established in 1621 as a physical garden of medicinal plants and herbs, it now boasts over 8,000 different species, from ferns to lilies, palm trees, roses and even fly traps. Venus.
Balliol College, which claims to be the oldest in the university, was founded in 1263. It is located next door to Trinity College on Broad Street. Balliol's peaceful and picturesque buildings date mainly from the 19th century. You can stroll through the gardens and discover the history of this college rich in academic tradition.
Radcliffe Camera serves as a reading room for students at the University of Oxford and is not accessible to the public, but it is still worth stopping by for its architecture. An iconic landmark and one of the city's most photographed, it has fascinating Paladian features, such as large Corinthian pillars and a balustraded parapet surrounding the circular library. Built between 1737 and 1749, the building was designed by James Gibbs, one of Britain's most influential architects, and is home to one of the largest domes in the country.
The 46 meter high Magdalene Tower has long been a familiar landmark at the eastern entrance to the city. This square tower, crowned with pinnacles and brackets, was completed in 1509 and is one of the college's oldest examples of architecture. Every May 1 at six o'clock, the college choir sings two traditional hymns from the roof, one of many eccentric and ancient rituals observed by the university. Finally, the cloister, built at the end of the 15th century, offers a soothing setting for a walk.
Pitt Rivers Museum
The fabulous Pitt Rivers Museum, nestled northeast of downtown, houses an eclectic collection of artifacts and archaeological finds. Given that its collection is still largely curated and displayed in a Victorian style, exploring its rooms is all the more memorable. Since its founding in 1884, its ethnographic and archaeological collection has grown considerably and today includes more than six hundred thousand pieces and objects. Don't miss out on discovering this unique place.
University Church of Saint Mary the Virgin
The University Church of Saint Mary the Virgin saw the birth of the University of Oxford from the 13th century. Most of the building is in Gothic style, typical of the 15th and 16th centuries. You can climb to the top of the tower any day of the week to enjoy a rewarding view of the city. The south porch of the church is magnificent and tells a fascinating story.
So here are the 10 best things to do in Oxford. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
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