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Because airlines are moving reckless these days, we need to find other ways to get away and if planes are not doing the job, then trains and automobiles will have to do. There are places of great beauty to visit on these isles, beauty and history which is why I tend to never go away during the summer months.
Where Cambridge is full of charm and presence, Oxford, its sullener sister, is moody, beguiling and haughty, playing hard to get but a true romantic at heart. She’d be the brunette to Cambridge’s blonde; more mysterious, secretive and you are never quite certain what you are going to find around the corner; she will surprise you. I like that about the city; it keeps one on their toes. As such it is a shoulder season kind of town; spring or autumn. In winter she’d be haunting and in summer, mysterious with a show of her wild side but no less perfect.
Oxford is a city of propriety but with dark corners, even to the outside world she seems a bit too reserved, unyielding in her cold welcome. An old town that looks and feels like it. It is brimming with age and steeped in history, layer by layer. Yet it is the best way to discover her; one layer at a time and in that vain she will have you coming back.
Take a bus or walking tour because it is the best way to see the city for what it is.
Tour the Bodelian library, incredibly breathtaking interiors such as you will find in the Duke Humphrey’s medieval library.
Take a tour to see the divinity school with its incredible ornate carving.
WALK & PUNT
Make sure to stop in the Christ church meadows, the grounds are stunning and vast. If you are lucky the short leg cows might be out grazing.
Get your punt in and if you are even luckier you will have a punter that tells you all about the history of the places along the river.
Climb up to the top of Saint Mary the Virgin for stunning views. The tight stair well should not deter you.
Wander into the cathedral and you might be treated to a performance or rehearsal like we were.
OXFORD CHRIST CHURCH GARDEN
OXFORD HIGH STREET
Christ church for the dining hall in Harry Potter; it is as magnificent as you would imagine, maybe even more so.
Visit Magdalen College if only for the name and its disparity in spelling; pronounced Maudlin. The college is dedicated to St Mary Magdalene, the Virgin Mary, St John the Baptist and Apostles Peter and Paul. William Waynflete, founder, decreed that the college should be known as in latin, Collegium beatae Marie Magdalenae; Maudelayne College” in English. In the 15th century, Magdalene was pronounced “Maudelayne”, which has held until today; if this isn’t a definition of Oxford, I don’t know what it.
OXFORD IN A SNAP SHOT
- TURF TAVERN: Have a meal and a pint at the Turf Tavern; the oldest pub in Oxford
- GEE’S: set in a Victorian glass house with a menu as wonderful as its setting.