Let’s face it; when thinking of a holiday in the United Kingdom, the majority of people are going to instantly gravitate towards London. Whilst the capital is a vibrant and excitement fuelled 24hr city, there are so many more destinations around the UK that compete with the capital in terms of nightlife, history and beauty.
Coast to coast, north to south, there’s a vast array of great towns, cities and beauty spots to explore and enjoy. From the cosmopolitan and cultural cities of Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh to the seaside getaways of Brighton and Blackpool, the idyllic countryside of the Cotswolds, the Lake District, the Highlands and the Welsh valleys…the list goes on and there really is something for everyone.
One of the most popular destinations for tourists within and outside of the UK is the historic city of Oxford and it’s easy to see why. The city is a stylish mix of history, culture and ornate architecture, with some of the most beautiful buildings outside of the capital.
The architecture of Oxford is as varied as it is beautiful, with a mix of various styles of the historical architecture of England. From the Saxon tower of St Michael to the Radcliffe tower to the University of Oxford itself, the range of architectural styles sitting side by side is unlike any other city in the UK. Indeed, you might recognise many of the sights in the city as they feature in a number of different famous movies and novels, from Harry Potter to Brideshead Revisited, Jude the Obscure to X-Men: First Class.
Oxford is a sightseers dream; just make sure you pack a few extra rolls of film for the trip.
Oxford has a great dining scene with loads of great restaurants offering modern, international and classical food. If you’re looking for one of the best dining experiences in the area, it’s well worth the short trip just outside of Oxford to dine at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, run by one of France’s most loved exports, Raymond Blanc.
Oxford is a great destination for shopping, with a diverse range of top high street stores and a good mix of independent shops. The history of the place extends to the shops, from Boswells (est. 1738), Oxford’s largest independent department store to Blackwell’s bookshop (est. 1879), all sitting side by side with modern boutiques. Whether it’s trinkets, souvenirs or high end fashion, there’s a shop out there for you.
Because of its close proximity to the capital, sitting 50 miles outside of London and a short train ride away, many tourists take the time out for a short break to Oxford. If a fleeting visit is all you’ve got time for, then it’s an option well worth taking. You might not fit all the sites into a day, but you can certainly get a good taste of the city. Anyone wanting a more substantial visit can easily pick up a midweek discount, and there are a number of great places offering Oxford hotel deals.
Outside of Oxford
It’s well worth the effort of renting a car or booking an excursion to any number of incredible destinations just outside of Oxford. Waddesdon Manor and Braughton Castle are both within an hour drive from the city, as well as a number of gardens, arboretums and country parks. Further afield you have the likes of Stonehenge in one direction, and of course London.
The city of Oxford really is a jewel in the crown of the fair isle of Great Britain, a cultural and historic powerhouse sitting amongst some of the most beautiful examples of natural and man made sights the island has to offer.