What to do in Oxford, England
In this post, I’ll tell you how I traveled to Oxford, what I ate there, where to get a great view of the city, what I saw, and many more. Stay tune for a great story! To get to Oxford, I took an Oxford Tube bus from Victoria bus station in London. It costs only £14 for a round trip for a student. The trip takes about 1.30 hours and you can choose to take the bus from many bus stops in London. The bus also makes several stops in Oxford, so you can choose to get off when it get close to your destination. The Oxford Tube bus comes very frequently. The maximum time between the two rounds are only 20 minutes, so if you miss the bus, you don’t have to wait forever for the next one to come. For a day in Oxford, I would suggest that you dress appropriately for the weather. Personally, I think Oxford can be lovely in any weathers because there are a lot to do in the city even on a rainy day. However, a pair of sneakers would be highly recommended if you are planning to visit many attractions because Oxford is such an old town that the roads are made of cobble stone everywhere. Imagine walking on rugged rocks for the whole day in high heels…yike!
Eat: Ben’s Cookies, Hot Chocolate at Golden Cross Cafe, Shezan Indian Restaurant, homemade ice cream at George & Danver Ice Cream Cafe
Visit: Christ Church College, Alice’s Shop, Covered Market, High Street, Bodleian Library
This place looks like a setting of Harry Potter film and it gives off that majestic feeling, which reminds me of the feeling I had when I visited Harvard University. It’s peaceful and unwavering. It will take around 1 – 1.30 hour to walk around this place. Hint: it can get very crowded during the weekends and in the summer.
2. Find Alice and visit Alice’s Shop
Oxford is the birthplace of Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. The author, Lewis Carroll, who studied at Christ Church College started to write this book to entertain Alice Liddell, a daughter of the Dean of Christ Church College. You can find Alice and the Rabbit at the corners of the window glass in the Christ Church College’s dining hall. Many things in this place may have inspired Carroll to create interesting and strange characters in the book. The mock turtle hanging on the wall in the kitchens and the mock turtle soup may be the inspiration behind the Mock Turtle in the book. The door in the garden is the little door in the hall way in the book. The Cathedral Garden is Wonderland and the chestnut tree in the Deanery Garden in the other side of the wall is the tree where Cheshire Cat sat in the book. Alice’s shop across the street is also an inspiration to the Old Sheep Shop in Through the Looking Glass.
3. Magdalen College and Bodleian Library (Radcliffe Camera)
Magdalen College is a lesser known place but its architecture and atmosphere is not to be overlooked. Hint: check the opening time before you go because it does open pretty late and there’s also an entrance fee.
Bodleian Library is the prettiest library in Europe (as stated in the sign). This library is not open to public unless you go with the guide tour. The Radcliffe Camera is the extension of the library and the signature of this building is its dome shape and the bicycles parking around the fence cycling the library… or so they said.
4. Stroll around Covered Market and High Street
Don’t forget to walk around Covered Market and High Street. The place is very vibrant. There are a lot of tourists, but you’ll surely find some food and stores you like around here. Don’t forget to buy cookies from Ben’s Cookies at Covered Market. This is voted the best cookie store in the UK and man, it did not disappoint me. The cookies are divine. It is a little expensive, but it is totally worth the try. Although you can now find Ben’s Cookies in many tourist places around the world (South Korea, Singapore, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, etc.), the shop in Covered Market is the first Ben’s Cookies shop.
5. Secret rooftop view
Ok so it’s not really a secret, but I had been told by a little bird that this is the lesser known gem of Oxford. When you walk to the entrance of Covered Market close to L.K. Bonnet clothing shop, you will see the stairs ahead of you. There might be a sign “The Varsity Club” so just follow the sign. Climb 5 flights of stair and you’ll get to the rooftop and see the beautiful view of Oxford and High Street. So now the secret is out. Don’t forget to take picture and share it with me!
6. Indian food, hot chocolate, and ice cream 🙂
Last but not least, I have to talk about food. I actually had a bad experience with Indian food, so I didn’t want to try it again. However, my friend really want to have Indian food, so I gave it a second chance. I went to Shezan restaurant across from Covered Market and it made me love indian food now. The amount of food was not too much or too little and the curry was perfect. The owner is also very friendly and he’s the one who told me about the secret rooftop view. A cup of hot chocolate at Golden Cross Cafe also warmed me up and turned the windy day in Oxford into a sunny day. Before you leave, don’t forget to grab a cone of homemade ice cream at George & Danver Ice Cream Cafe. There are a variety of flavours you can choose from and there are plenty of seats inside, so don’t hesitate to go in if you see a long queue.
I am very well aware that there are many other places I missed. If I have a chance to go back, I would go to the Oxford Botanic Garden, Harcourt Arboretum, and University Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
For more information about Oxford City: http://www.oxfordcity.co.uk