Oxford

My mom and I have only a couple of days in Oxford before heading to Bath for three days then London for 6 nights.
What are the must see places in Oxford. Thanks! Carol

Posted by Philip
London, United Kingdom
1699 posts

Museums: The Ashmolean (art and antiquities) and the incredibly atmospheric University Museum (natural history) and Pitt Rivers Museum (anthropology). Also the under-rated Museum of the History of Science (near the Bodleian) which often has very good temporary exhibitions. The Covered Market. Colleges - any of the older colleges in the city centre. Do remember though that Oxford colleges are working educational institutions and not tourist attractions - some refuse entry to tourists and it is especially hard to get into colleges in May/June when students are revising for exams. The central block of university buildings around the Bodleian Library, Sheldonian Theatre and University Church. If the weather's nice, the University Parks or Christ Church Meadow. The Jericho or Summertown areas don't have any big attractions but are nice to walk in.

Posted by Kira
Seattle, WA, USA
956 posts

Philip's covered it very well - but I will add that, when you need to stop for a pint, the Eagle and Child is ideal. Here's its entry on Sacred Destinations: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/england/oxford-eagle-and-child.htm It says, in part: " In the 1940s and 1950s, a small group of like-minded friends met at Oxford's Eagle and Child Pub in Oxford to discuss literature, writing and life. This venerable group, who called themselves "The Inklings," had many happy memories here at the "Bird and Baby." Members of this group include C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and discussions at this pub contributed to the final form of both Lewis' Narnia books and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series." The pub is SOOOOOOOOO "ye olde" and atmospheric it will blow the top of your head right off. :-)

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
784 posts

My husband and I took the train from London to Oxford. We crossed the street and got on a Hop-on Hop-off bus. We toured the Oxford area and walked around. Then we got back on a train and returned to London. It was a fine day trip, but we liked Cambridge better. We have been there twice.

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
683 posts

With two days, you can probably fit in a trip to Blenheim Palace, it is easy to get to by bus (route S3 from the coach station). In Oxford, another place to visit, especially on a pleasant day, is the Botanic Garden. You might also want to try punting - one place to rent them is next to the Botanic Garden. And if you are ok with climbing steps, go up Carfax Tower for a good view. As noted above, colleges and other university buildings can close for predictable (exams, ceremonies) and unpredictable reasons. Joining a walking tour seems to give you better chance of access. One college that is commonly open to visitors is Christ Church (probably because it charges), though even there you should check if the Hall is open if you particularly want to see that.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7211 posts

Regarding the colleges. Most, if not all, have times when they are open to the public. I'd check at the TI to see which are open on the particular day you're there. In addition to Lewis and Tolkien, there are also plenty of Lewis Carroll links to Oxford. Christ church hall will look familiar if you're into Harry Potter: http://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/visiting/harry-potter

Posted by Susan
Atlanta, Ga, USA
1463 posts

When we were in Oxford we found the Ashmolean to be closed on Monday so keep that in mind. There is an old church that is interesting and has a tower that you can climb and the baptismal font is famous for Shakespeare standing there as a godparent back in the day. The shop that has Alice-in-Wonderland items is worth a visit. The real highlight for us was being able to visit a dining hall that was all set up for lunch (King's or Christ College?) and a Harry Potter movie had a scene in that dining hall.

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
683 posts

Susan gives a good warning; unusually for museums in England, the Ashmo' is closed on Mondays, except bank holidays. Susan - I think the church with the Shakespeare connection is St Michael at North Gate. You can climb the tower. The dining hall with the Potter connection is Christ Church as mentioned by Brad (I know nothing about Potter, but I do know Oxford University doesn't have a King's College - that's in little Cambridge).

Posted by Susan
Atlanta, Ga, USA
1463 posts

Thanks Keith for clarifying the info regarding Christ College. I think King's College in Cambridge had a dining hall scene in Chariots of Fire. We made the ultimate mistake in visiting Cambridge: exam period and we could not see a single college. But we enjoyed the town and lunch at a nice pub.