The old and entrancing city of Oxford should be on everyone's itinerary while they're visiting the UK. A sweet city surrounds the University which is at the heart of the place. It's alive, exciting, quaint, and you can almost feel the intelligence seeping out of every nook, cranny and Harry Potter-esque hallway.
How to Get to Oxford
Conveniently located on a direct line from many of England's major cities, especially from London in just an hour, this is one place you simply cannot miss. You can buy train tickets at any UK railway station, or you can purchase them online from Trainline in advance (they're often more expensive last minute).
How to See Oxford
The best way of getting around is by taking a walking tour, such as Oxford Walking Tour. There are some hop-on, hop-off bus tour operators, but things are so close together and so tightly packed that you'll spend more time hopping off than actually on the bus. A walking tour is the best way to understand the various buildings you're looking at and the history behind them, and more often than not you'll get some exclusive extra access to places that normally only students are granted.
There are 38 colleges at Oxford, as well as many museums, libraries, theatres, residences, research centres, academic centres, chapels and restaurants. Without a walking tour, entrances for many of these include an admission price ranging from £1-5.
Within each college, there is a quad centred around what is known as a college green, or a rectangular lawn. The buildings surrounding this central space typically house a dining hall, student housing, libraries, a chapel, Fellows' studies and study space. Each of Oxford's colleges is known for a certain subject, although many colleges offer a range of studies. While at Oxford, students spend the majority of their time outside of class within their college as it provides their housing, their dining, and the Fellows in their college provide one-on-one tutoring in the students' particular field. Lecture classes are held around the city in various faculty buildings and departments.
As any avid Harry Potter fan knows, Oxford is home to some memorable filming locations. Particular favourites are the college hallways through which Hogwarts students walked, the college green where Malfoy was changed into a ferret, and the Divinity School which is home to Madame Pomfrey's hospital wing. Oxford brought the magic of Hogwarts a little closer, and is a must-do for anyone who desperately wants the world of Harry Potter to be real.
If they're not included on your tour (the stops on the tour change each time because there's so many to choose from), be sure to take the time to see the other wonderful buildings of Oxford. Just wander the streets, and you'll happen upon sweet corners and magnificent architecture. The Bodleian Library and the Bridge of Sighs at Hertford College were two of my favourites.
If you're looking for a bite to eat, the city is full of little cafes and pubs, but you should really stop in at the Turf Tavern, Oxford's oldest pub, for a typically British meal.