Located just 50 miles northeast of London, Oxford is famous for its university and scholarly air. Home to the oldest university in England, Oxford is full of history. It has buildings in every architectural style, from the Anglo-Saxon era, all the way to the latest styles.
Oxford was settled by the Anglo-Saxons around 900AD. Its name was originally Oxenaforda, which means “ford of the oxen” or Bosphorus. And that is what is was originally used for – it was a crossing point for cattle. It is strange to think that two great cities of learning, Oxford and Constantinople, would start out as cattle crossings.
Oxford was granted a special charter by Henry II, giving the city rights, privileges and exemptions enjoyed by the capital. This attracted a number of religious organisations to the area, creating a teaching and monastic atmosphere it still enjoys today.
Oxford is, of course, best known for its university. Mentioned as far back as the 12th century, the university remains one of the best institutions in the world. Today, it has over 24,000 students. While it all the things you expect from a university town, Oxford does a good job at keeping
Cycling is extremely popular in Oxford. It has the second highest percentage of people cycling to work and has many pedestrianised streets. Some people find them a nuisance, but they add to the character of the city. It is also a quick and easy way to get around the city’s narrow streets.
Oxford attracts over 9.1 million tourists every year. Its city centre has many shops, several theatres and an ice rink. The historic buildings make this location a popular target for film and TV crews. There is also a botanic garden, many fine theatres and even a giant shark!
The city centre is relatively small, and is centred on Carfax, a cross-roads which forms the junction of Cornmarket Street, Queen Street, St Aldate’s and the High. Oxford also has many museums, galleries and collections, both in and outside the university. Most of these are free, making a trip surprisingly cheap for visitors.
The city has reliable public transport and easy links to London, Reading and beyond. There are hundreds of hotels in the city centre and out in the Oxfordshire countryside. So Oxford has something to offer whatever your taste.