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A journey through Oxford has been on my bucket list since childhood as studying there. I realised both and I keep going back as a day trip from London ’cause this city calms me and makes me dream, again and again.

Although it dates back to the 12th century, Oxford’s name is synonymous with its university, much like Cambridge’s. Established in 1263, the University of Oxford comprises 38 colleges, each more breathtaking than the last. The city’s incredible architecture, encompassing every English style over the centuries, makes Oxford a feast for the eyes and a wonderful walking town.

From medieval courtyards to modern wonders, the streets are alive with history and beauty.

Oxford’s museums you must visit

Ashmolean Museum

There are museums, and then there is the Ashmolean. Opened in 1683, it is Britain’s oldest museum, a purpose-built haven for fascinating finds from around the globe. Elias Ashmole, a freemason, royalist, alchemist, and antiquarian, donated his collection to the university, creating this remarkable institution.

It houses astonishing collections today, including early Egyptian and Minoan artefacts and Asian, Far Eastern, and Islamic art. Not to mention, it boasts the world’s most fantastic collection of Raphael drawings.

A recent multi-million-pound refurbishment by architect Rick Mather added a colossal six-story extension, bringing the museum firmly into the 21st century.

Modern Art Oxford

The Modern Art Oxford Museum has hosted some legendary curators and featured almost every contemporary artist of note. Think of names like Richard Long, Sol LeWitt, Joseph Beuys, Marina Abramovic, Carl Andre, Yoko Ono, Tracey Emin, Gary Hume, Howard Hodgkin, and Graham Sutherland.

Beyond its impressive exhibitions, the museum also screens films, hosts music events, and offers performances that complement its artistic displays. Best of all, entry is free, except for some special events that are usually worth it, even just to experience this place when it breathes.

Architectural marvels and historical Sites

Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library, Oxford’s first library, is magnificent. Since the 1300s, it has held over 12 million printed items, making it one of the world’s largest libraries. Fortunately, much of its collection is now available online for further study.

The library houses treasures such as the first English edition of Newton’s “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy” (1729), the first edition of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” the first edition of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species,” and John Cassell’s “Illustrated History of England.”

History comes alive here, making it a must-visit for any literature or history enthusiast. Plus, if you enjoyed reading The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness as much as I did, this is a visit you can’t skip!

Christ Church College

One of Oxford’s oldest and most beautiful colleges, Christ Church is home to a truly spectacular cathedral. Visitors can explore the college on guided tours or by purchasing a ticket for self-guided exploration during certain times, but I heartily recommend the guided option.

Don’t miss the famous landmarks: Tom Tower, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and the Cathedral spire. Both structures define Oxford’s celebrated skyline and are as stunning up close as they are from a distance.

Experience the charm of Oxford’s pubs

Even the pubs in Oxford are magnificent. Drinking in the 13th-century still-standing Bear Inn is almost like stepping into a tavern from “Game of Thrones.” These historic pubs offer a taste of fine ales and a slice of history, making them perfect spots to unwind after a day of exploring or even to muse while watching other customers pass by.

The best of Oxford’s university life

Tour the Colleges

Oxford is best known for its world-famous university, with its forest of ochre spires standing as a testament to centuries of academic excellence. A large student population keeps the atmosphere vibrant and youthful while the history and prestige offer a timeless charm.

Touring the university colleges is a must—Harry Potter fans will recognise various locations used in the movies. Highlights include Christ Church and Magdalen, two of the most famous colleges.

You can even study here. Check the graduate part-time, full-time, online and fully online courses, and even the summer offer! Over time I enrolled for a literature summer course (long ago) and more recently for a fully online 9-month one. The first focuses on the most famous bard ever, and the second on Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. And I’m already planning to enroll for yet a new one.

Punting on the River Isis

If you visit Oxford in the summer, punting along the River Isis is a quintessentially English experience. This leisurely activity allows you to take in the city’s scenic beauty from a unique vantage point, making for a memorable outing.

Even though my dream is to do rowing. Never say never!

Beyond Oxford: Blenheim Palace

A short bus ride or drive from the city (approximately 10 miles) lies Blenheim Palace, a monumental residence and the birthplace of Winston Churchill. This grand estate offers sprawling gardens, opulent interiors, and a rich history, making it a must-visit for anyone touring Oxford.

Getting to Oxford

Trains from London Marylebone and London Paddington to Oxford run several times an hour, with a journey time of about an hour.

You can also take a coach, the Oxford Tube, from several London locations to Oxford.

If you feel like driving, the London to Oxford journey takes around two hours.


Oxford is a grand old city steeped in privilege and heritage, best known for its prestigious university and a skyline adorned with ochre spires. With a large student population that keeps the atmosphere fresh and exciting and a wealth of history for those eager to delve into it, Oxford offers something for everyone. From its world-class museums and stunning architecture to its charming pubs and tranquil river, you could easily spend more than a day exploring this remarkable city.

Embark on your Oxford adventure and discover why it remains a jewel in England’s crown. You won’t be disappointed!

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.