About Oxford

You might need brains to burn to get into one of the world’s most famous universities, but you needn’t study for years to build the perfect itinerary for a staycation in Oxford.

Whether you’re looking for a historical holiday or a gourmet getaway, we’ve got all the must-see museums and essential eateries you’ll need for a minibreak to remember. You’re guaranteed some magic in this corner of the world and it’s not just because of the filming locations used for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. Beyond the colleges and cafes there’s a thriving arts scene and don’t tell London we said this, some of the best pubs along the Thames.

If you want to make the most of the period architecture at Blenheim Palace and the unique collection of bookshops found in nooks and crannies around the city, your best bet is to book a warm inviting bed with Best Western. You won’t be taking a punt on a good room but you’ll be close enough to hop on one any time you wish.

Things To Do In Oxford

Things To Do In Oxford

A slice of horticulture history in the heart of Oxford. The botanic garden and arboretum has been a fixture in the city since 1621 and a hive of activity ever since. Originally used to grow plants and teach medical students, the site is now home to snowdrop walks, coppicing courses and lessons in sustainable staking. Do you have what it takes to be a green-fingered graduate?

No trip to Oxford is complete without looking around the world-famous university. Many of the colleges open their doors to the public to let visitors see the beautifully decorated halls and hear about the famous names who have studied here. Harry Potter definitely counts.

Punting has been a popular pastime in Oxford since Victorian times. The flat bed boats that bob along the Thames can be steered by a tour guide or if you’re feeling up to the challenge, you could take a punt yourself, quite literally.

Eating And Drinking In Oxford

Eating And Drinking In Oxford

For a taste of rural life a short walk away from town, we recommend a visit to Binsey. The quaint village is home to The Perch, a 17th century riverside pub serving traditional pub food. Hospitality is in the water around these parts, as an inn has been on the site for more than 800 years. We’re pretty sure you’ll want to stick around for a while too.

Often labelled Oxford’s best restaurant, Oli’s Thai has held a Michelin Bib Gourmand for the last four years, think of it as a value-for-money version of their coveted stars. With only five tables at this hidden gem, booking is essential. Expect vibrant, authentic flavours across a weekly-changing menu.

Dining with a life-sized Spider-Man crawling the ceiling overhead may not be everyone’s idea of restaurant heaven but it’s certainly something to... marvel. This comic book-themed restaurant is all about the fun factor, serving bacon milkshakes and taking customers back to a time ‘when burgers could be as big as your head’.

Shopping In Oxford

Shopping In Oxford

BSM Social Club or Big Scary Monster Social Club to use its full name, is a fiercely independent shop on Cowley Road. Part record store, part craft beer bottle shop, the venue invites customers to peruse its shelves of alternative beats and sip on a locally brewed ale in the process. 

The recently developed Westgate Centre is the sparkling jewel in Oxford’s retail crown. A collection of more than 100 high street shops, a street food paradise and a five-screen cinema too. When you’re done shopping for the day, the roof terrace is the ideal spot to grab a bite to eat while overlooking the city.

A board game fan’s heaven. Hoyle’s is an independent, family-run emporium of table-top entertainment on Oxford’s main High Street. Pick up traditional and vintage games and niche, independent options too. The selection is the stuff of gaming envy.

Culture And History In Oxford

Culture And History In Oxford

Once part of a 12th-century church, Carfax Tower is considered to be at the very centre of Oxford and takes its name for the Latin for ‘crossroads’. Offering the best vista of the city, local planning rules order that no buildings in central Oxford can be built higher than the 74-foot-tall structure. Timeless views guaranteed.

For a city steeped in history there’s plenty of arts and culture from more recent times to experience too. Modern Art Oxford was founded in 1965 and has become much more than just a contemporary art space. The venue’s creative learning programme is open to visitors of all ages and offers courses for all tastes so that anyone can channel their inner artist.

What better place is there to get your dose of culture and history than in Britain’s oldest public museum? Home to the University of Oxford’s art and archaeology exhibits, the Ashmolean first opened its doors in 1683. Collections range from ancient Egyptian mummies to contemporary art in a beautiful building on Beaumont Street.

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