If the sun’s out, head down to the river for lunch – there is ample grassy space for a picnic, and you can watch people drifting lazily by on their punts.
Widely considered to be one of Britain’s most beautiful cities, Oxford is an easy journey from central London and offers a more relaxed and leafy chance to explore an ancient English settlement. Home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world, the city oozes culture, and makes for a perfect day trip away from the capital.
Witchcraft and Wizardry
There is evidence of teaching at Oxford University as far back as 1096, and it has continued to be ranked among the world’s top universities ever since. It is particularly famous for its network of student colleges, and these have become some of the city’s most popular attractions. Take a stroll through the idyllic grounds of Magdalen, which include a deer park, or wonder at the breathtaking architecture of Christ Church, which has its own cathedral and has more recently found fame as a major set in the Harry Potter films.
Stepping Back in Time
Across the road from Balliol and St. John’s Colleges sits the Ashmolean, the oldest public museum in Britain. It reopened after extensive renovations in 2009, and now houses a wide variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions, including an excellently-curated gallery of Ancient Egyptian artefacts. If the Ashmolean hasn’t fully quenched your museum thirst, head over to the University Museum of Natural History. Here you can find dinosaur skeletons, live insects, and a superb “hands-on” display area where friendly staff encourage you to handle the exhibits. Near the back you will find the Pitt Rivers Museum, which showcases thousands of intriguing archaeological and anthropological finds in the university’s collection.
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