Towards the back end of 2020, when the world re-opened briefly pre Christmas, I booked a trip to explore Oxford and some of its wonderful sights.
Wanting to get started early, ahead of what was then the peak shopping season, I stayed over night in the very comfortable Jury’s Inn just outside the city centre. It was a perfect location for my first port of call the next day.
The stunning country house in Woodstock, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, is probably most famously know as being the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. When visiting you will note the nod to the former prime minister, with trails throughout the palace highlighting his most cherished places, including the Temple of Diana. This Temple is famous as being the location where Churchill proposed to his future wife.
Movie buffs will also be familiar with the palace and grounds due to the numerous films that were shot here; Mission Impossible, Entrapment and James Bond were all filmed in the Great Court and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on the Bank of the Great Lake.
For the historians there is plenty to see at Blenheim Palace, with more than 300 years of captivating stories, from the Palace State Rooms through to The Stables Exhibition.
Blenheim Palace provides a great day out for the family too, with expanse grounds to stretch ones legs, a two mile Maze, Walled Garden and Miniature Train. Throughout the year the Palace provide events and trails for everyone to enjoy, including the Christmas lights during the festive season.
The iconic Radcliffe Camera is a building of Oxford University, built in 1737-49 to house the Radcliffe Science Library. Circular in design, it is separated from all other buildings, making it a focal point of the university.
The Bodleian Library is the main research library at the University of Oxford. It is also one of the oldest libraries within Europe. Housing over 13 million printed items, it is the second largest library in Britain after the British Library.
Many will recognise the medieval library from the Harry Potter films as it doubles as the Hogwarts library. Former users of the library include famous writers such as Oscar Wilde, CS Lewis and Tolkien.
Bridge of Sighs
The Hertford Bridge, also known as the Bridge of Sighs, is a skyway joining two parts of Hertford Collage over New College lane. Due to it’s distinctive design, it has become somewhat of an iconic landmark within the city centre.
St Michael at the North Gate
St Michael at the North Gate is a church, who’s name originated from the location on the site of the north gate of Oxford, when it was surrounded by a city wall.
This majestic university college is widely known for its riverside meadows and Cathedral Choir. Christ Church is one of the largest colleges within Oxford University boasting excellent libraries, the Picture Gallery, Art Room and the Music Room.
In normal circumstances visitors would be allowed to visit both the college and cathedral, however due to the ongoing pandemic both were closed in order to keep the community safe. At the time of writing, this still remains closed until the end of the academic year.
As with Christ Church, the majority of the sights within the city centre were closed during my visit. Which, being a university city, is unsurprising.
That said, it was great to have a walking tour, appreciating the grandeur and history it has to offer.
There is so much more to be seen, so allowing more than a day is recommended.
As such I will be looking at a repeat visit once we return to somewhat of a normal existence, so I can appreciate all the sights within the city.