A couple of weeks ago I decided to go on a short road trip to Oxford. On the way back, I also decided to visit the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios. It was amazing! Although Oxford’s city centre is quite small and I managed to do and see lot of things in one day. However, I would definitely go back and spend some more time exploring the city. In this post I will share with you some of my favourite things I got to do in this beautiful city!
For the night I stayed in Jurry’s Inn Oxford. It is a nice hotel with parking, very close to the city centre.
Parking in Oxford
To avoid expensive car parks, I used the Pear Tree Park & Ride. The cost is £6/per car for the whole day. The bus took 10mins to reach the city centre!
Tip: To return to the car park use Google Maps to find, the nearest to you, bus stop!
The Covered Market
The fist thing I got to explore was Oxford’s world-famous Covered Market! Whilst strolling around, you will find a large number of specialist independent traders, each selling their own unique variety of goods. The market dates back to the 1770s and has always been an attraction for locals and visiting tourists who come from far and wide to soak up the building’s history and heritage. What I loved the most was the smell of coffee and freshly made food. And of course the Alice in Wonderland decorations!
The Varsity Club (TVC)
One of the things you should absolutely not miss is visit the TVC. It is one of the most popular roof terrace cocktail lounge & restaurant. The 360o panoramic views of Oxford’s city centre will leave you speechless. I recommend booking a table online before you visit!
Oxford’s libraries are among the most popular libraries in the world. This is not only due to their vast collections of books and manuscripts, but also for the architecture of the buildings. Some of these have remained in continuous use since the Middle ages! Unfortunately, due to covid restrictions, I only had the chance to go inside the main hall of the Divinity School. Nevertheless, having the chance to stroll around, learn about the history, to admire the Gothic architecture was definitely worth it!
The Bridge of Sighs
Near by the Radcliffe camera, you will also find one of most popular landmarks in Oxford; the Bridge of Sighs. Although its official name is Hertford bridge, due to it being similar to the one in Venice, it was given the same name!
The University Church
Situated in the heart of Oxford’s city centre, you will find the University Church. It is not the most impressive church I have ever visited, but it has a very welcoming and vibrant atmosphere. It is considered to be the spiritual heart of the oldest university in the UK and has been a place of Christian workship for over a thousand years. From the church you can also access The Tower, which offers some of the best views of the historic centre.
By far one of my favourite places was the Botanic Garden. I was lucky enough to visit on a beautiful sunny day, which definitely made the experience a lot better! The Oxford botanic garden is the first in UK and contains some of the finest collections of plants. The garden itself provides a very beautiful and tranquil atmosphere. As the garden is also adjacent to the river Cherwell, so you will also have the chance to watch people punting in the river!
Oxford’s Historic Centre
I think what I loved the most about Oxford is the fact that the city is just beautiful. Every street, corner, the small shops, the architecture of the buildings, make it a really beautiful and photogenic place. Similarly to Rome, every turn you take takes you to a place that’s full of history. Below are some pictures from Oxford’s streets..
Whilst walking around, I also discovered a really nice bookshop called Scriptum. Among other classics, I managed to find a very unique leather version of one of my favourite books ever; Aesop’s Fables or “Οι μύθοι του Αισώπου”. I grew up having my grandmother read and teach me these fables, so finding this book made me extremely happy!
The Grand Cafe
In Oxford you will also find the fist coffee house that was ever established in England; The Grand Cafe. Make sure to pay it a visit as it is extremely popular for its legendary cream teas and coffee!
Christ Meadow & Alice in Wonderland
If you find yourself tired of waking around and looking for a beautiful place to rest, then you should visit the Christ Church Meadow!
Almost immediately opposite the main exit from the Christ Church Meadow you will find “Alice’s shop”. In case you didn’t know, in Oxford was written the famous classic “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carrol aka Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. There exist multiple walks and locations in Oxford’s historic centre upon which the two books are based on! If you are interested in this, you can find a small booklet in Alice’s store called “Alice’s Oxford on Foot”, that walks you through all these places!
My day ended with a delicious dinner at Gee’s Restaurant. The place is rather unique as it an elegant glass conservatory and the food is just gorgeous! I definitely recommend it! Just make sure to book a table as it is quite popular!
The Harry Potter Studios
My trip ended by visiting The Harry Potter studios in London. Now let me tell you that although I really like the movies, I am not a crazy fan of it. I was just curious to visit the studios because I heard so many good things about it! Indeed, I found the whole experience extremely inspiring and mind-blowing. If I was a teen ager I would have considered becoming a special effects specialist after visiting the studios! The most amazing thing was discovering all the details that no-one ever thinks about, but make the movies stunning. For instance, for the film they created 24,000 costumes and 3000 custom wands. Every building was carefully designed and decorated by architects and designers. I couldn’t help but think how amazing their job would have been! I also had the chance to enjoy some butterbeer, which I found extremely interesting. Below are some of the photos I took. If you ever have the chance, you should definitely visit teh studios!
And somehow like this another adventure ended. I hope that my blog gave you some ideas of things you can do when visiting Oxford! I hope that I will have the chance to go again and spend some more time to explore the museums and University!
Until next time..
P.S. Check out my previous post here.