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what to do in oxford?

We're thinking of planning a day trip to Oxford but we're not sure if it's worth going. Any suggestions on things to do? Is it a safe town to walk around at night? How close is the rail station to the major tourists attractions? Thanks!

Posted by
4674 posts

Mostly safe at night in the central area: always loads of people around. The railway station is about 15-20 minutes walk from the old centre, all pretty level. There are frequent buses if you have problems walking that far.

Posted by
970 posts

Look at one of the guided tours that can get you inside the colleges. Visit the covered market. Eat at one of the pubs. Visit Blackwell's bookstore. (The exterior is deceptive. It's huge inside.) As mentioned, the rail station is very close to the city center. It's a safe place.

Posted by
1986 posts

You must try for one of the guided tours inside the colleges. So much interesting stuff that the casual tourist cannot see. otherwise its a busy little town

Posted by
687 posts

The T.I. runs tours (not free) that will visit the colleges. However, you can also visit the colleges on your own - some charge entrance fees but some are free. The Ashmolean - www.ashmolean.org - is well worth seeing, and you might check for special exhibitions at the Bodleian - http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/bodley - current exhibition is on the King Jame's Bible. If the weather's good you could check out the Botanical Gardens, or the river. Where are you visiting from? The bus station is more central than the train station, and there are frequent buses to London.

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks for the suggestions. We're traveling from London via the national rail (which by the way had an awesome price of 16GBP roundtrip for 2!). I'm not familiar with the abbreviation "TI". Any recommendations for places to eat?

Posted by
687 posts

T.I. - Tourist Information Office, Oxford's is on Broad Street.

Posted by
27406 posts

Depending on when you go, even with a guide, or on your own, you can't get into most Colleges in the mornings, and you simply cannot go in during Exam Times.

Posted by
12 posts

I completely forgot about that. Shoot. Should we even bother visiting Oxford? I really wanted to see Oxford University. Are we still allowed to walk around the campus if school is in session?

Posted by
4674 posts

There is no "campus" at Oxford University. Individual colleges and departments, some of which are more open to the public and others, are dotted around the city. The closes thing is the complex of libraries, the Sheldonian Theatre, and the University Church around Radcliffe Square, but that doesn't really qualify as a "campus". The various university examinations take the whole of June and run into the first week of July. During this time and for the rest of May colleges will generally NOT be open to the public to preserve the privacy and quietude of revising students.

Posted by
1068 posts

There is a lot to do in Oxford! It can be touristy, but it is adorable - awesomely historic - gorgeous - amazing - literary - just... wow. The University has been operating since at leasat 1096 - which just blows my mind. And the city, with its "dreaming spires," is a perfect jewel of England. If you are driving, there is a sneaky way into town from the north that allows you to get right off the motorway and into a local parking lot - avoiding the tourist lots and bus tours completely - but since I don't drive, I don't remember acurately how that works. Someone else on this board hopefully will! You can indeed tour the colleges, but you can also just wander their grounds without going in (some colleges won't even let you do that - you should check with each college on the web). And you can also: Visit the Bodleian Library: they have lovely temporary exhibits, and amazing old books on display. Take a punt out on the river. Here's the local daily guide, with instructions: http://www.dailyinfo.co.uk/guide/punting.htm Shop along charming Broad Street and the High Street: http://www.dailyinfo.co.uk/guide/shopping/index.html Enjoy an excellent pint at the Eagle and Child, the pub where J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis met to drink and discuss their work! Check out the Rabbit Room - the actual room where they met. This is, in my humble opinions, one of the most charming and delightful pubs in all England. Wiki says: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eagle_and_Child I guess I have foamed at the mouth enough. Enjoy Oxford!