Oxford Journals

Oxford: the epitome of romantic England

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A May 2002 trip to Oxford by actonsteve

University of Oxford Botanic Garden Photo, Oxford, England More Photos
Quote: Honey-coloured buildings, leering gargoyles, and sleepy colleges encapsulate Oxford, a medieval town with a worldwide academic reputation and one of the loveliest cities in Britain.

Oxford: the epitome of romantic England

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Overview

The medieval entrance to All Souls college Photo, Oxford, England
Quote:
Deep down, every Englishman wants to live in Oxford. It encapsulates the English idyll--honey-coloured colleges, draping willows, meandering rivers, leering gargoyles, and green quadrangles. The greeness of the country rolls into town and contrasts with ancient medieval colleges sprinkled with spires, statues, and cloisters. Oxford University's reputation for academic excellence precedes it and makes it one of the greatest universities in the world. It is a world unto itself. Academics spend their lives in sleepy private studies, bowler-hatted porters guard the gates, and an international population rushes around trying to be on time for lectures. Whenever I go there I am str...Read More

Blackwell Bookshop

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Attraction | "Blackwells bookshop: a Bibliophiles paradise"

Blackwell Bookshop Photo, Oxford, England
Quote:
Everyone has a vision of Oxford in their mind's eye. For some people it's dusty academics pouring over 14th-century first edition folios in antiquarian bookshops. To others, it's impoverished students in round spectacles engrossed in their copy of Descartes and hiding in bookshops to keep warm. Both of these stereotypes come to life in Blackwells. Blackwells is an Oxford institution that began in 1879, in a shop so tiny that, when more then three people entered, the apprentice had to be sent outside. Now it is five shops--including Blackwells Cookery, Blackwells Music, Blackwells Paperback and Blackwells Children's--not more then 20 feet away from each other along the monumental Broad ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 26, 2002

Blackwell Bookshop
48-51 Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BQ
+44 1865 792792

Eagle and Child

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Attraction | "'Eagle and Child' pub - home of Lord of the Rings"

Eagle and Child Photo, Oxford, England
Quote:
Forget Hollywood, forget New Zealand--if you want to know the true home of Middle Earth, then come to this tiny pub on the road north out of Oxford. The ‘Eagle and Child,’ or ‘Bird and Baby’ as it is sometimes called, was the meeting place of ‘the Inklings,’ a set of Oxford literary figures such as C. S. Lewis, Neville Coghill, and Professor John Ronald Rule Tolkien, who would meet in the ‘Rabbit Room’ and read to each other excerpts from their work. For the visitor, it offers a vision of a world gone by--a world of open fires, hearty conversation, and good ale. And I can safely vouch that the food is good too. The tavern itself dates from the 1620s, when it was the first inn to be encountered o...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 26, 2002

Eagle and Child
St Giles
Oxford, England OX1 3LU
+44 1865 302925

Turf Tavern

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Attraction | "'Turf Tavern' - Greene King and Olde Peculiar"

Turf Tavern Photo, Oxford, England
Quote:
Way back in the eighties there was a television series called Inspector Morse. Our hero, played by John Thaw, solved murder mysteries in Oxford while driving around in his Jaguar, listening to Wagner and drinking real ale. Many scenes were filmed at the Turf Tavern which has the be the most enchanting pub in Oxford, and well worth going out of your way to find. And finding it is half the fun. It is tucked behind Hertford College and the Holywell Road, and can be reached only by tiny alleys. If you are coming from the Radcliffe Camera then step under the Bridge of Sighs to New College Lane. The alley leading to the Turf Tavern is only a meter wide and on the north side of the street. If yo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 26, 2002

Turf Tavern
4 Bath Place
Oxford, England OX1 3SU
+44 1865 243235

University of Oxford Botanic Garden

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Attraction | "Botanical Garden - one of Oxfords hidden treasures"

University of Oxford Botanic Garden Photo, Oxford, England
Quote:
One of the good things about Oxford is that the countryside seems to invade the town. Nowhere is this more obvious then in the beautiful botanical garden off 'The High', just before Magdalen Bridge. The garden dates back to 1621 and houses 8,000 trees, flowers, and shrubs in 48 acres along the banks of the Cherwell. It's a peaceful retreat from the realities of modern Oxford; here, you can immerse yourself in a baroque garden of exceptional beauty. Firstly, the garden was not set up for the aesthetic enjoyment of the populace--it was set up for botanical research by Oxford University. As England explorers traveled the world, different plants were sent back to university to be examined, categoris...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 26, 2002

University of Oxford Botanic Garden
High Street
Oxford, England OX1 4AX
+44 1865 276920

'The High' looking east from Carfax Tower Photo, Oxford, England
Quote:
Sorry Piccadilly, apologies to Princes Street--the winner of the most jawdropping street in Britain has to be 'The High' in Oxford. There is such a profusion of mind-blowing architecture here: soaring medieval spires, leering gargoyles, Tudor timber-framed houses, Regency and Georgian shops, sandstone colleges, Victorian pubs, and the green Chiltern hills on the edge of town. The attractions of Oxford are north and south of this main thoroughfare, but you may traverse it several times during your stay.The best place to start is the center of Oxford: Carfax. This is where four streets meet--'the High' to the east, Queen Street to the west, St. Aldates to the south, and Cornmarket to the...Read More
The belltower at Magdalen Photo, Oxford, England
Quote:
There is something of a fairytale about Magdalen (pronounced Maudlin) College. On a misty morning when the medieval belltower looms above the trees and river, the sound of choristers singing Latin grace melts through the air and the whole place seems otherworldly. For my mind, it is a toss-up between Magdalen and Merton for the title of most enchanting -Magdalen may just pip it - after all, Merton can't compete with it's Cherwell setting and very English deer park set at the rear. It is also one of the most popular colleges, and catches everyone's attention as they enter Oxford from the east across the Magdalen Bridge.As an Oxford College it is abit of a newcomer - founded only...Read More

Radcliffe Square

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Attraction | "The heart of Oxford: The Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera"

Radcliffe Square Photo, Oxford, England
Quote:
Radcliffe Square is the sumptuous baroque heart of Oxford. Its architectural set pieces are nothing less then breathtaking--comparable to Venice and Florence.For in a few hundred cobbled yards of each other there are the spires of All Souls, the rotunda of the Radcliffe Camera, the Jacobean tracery of the Bodleian Library, and the Bridge of Sighs of New College. Dons rush around in flowing robes, tourists gawk, students cycle, and bells toll across this ancient square, which has seen the architectural hands of Wren and Hawksmoor. Take a deep breath, load your camera up, and enjoy the splendor around you.Of course it is a mishmash of architectural styles and the coloring seems t...Read More

Radcliffe Square

Central Oxford, Oxfordshire

Quote:
This honey-colored sprawl is a world to itself -a world of towers, cloisters, morning choirs, and stained-glassed windows. It is the biggest, richest, and most pretentious college and has been producing scholars, clergymen, and prime ministers for hundreds of years as well as the hiding place for a king in its magnificent cathedral -which doubles as the city's cathedral.It also has to be the biggest college and needs at least an hour to do it justice. Situated south of the 'High,' it occupies the ground above, where the two rivers--Cherwell and Isis (the Isis comes from the Latin name for the Thames, Tamesis)--meet, and so is laid out in beautiful watermeadows, making it one of the most id...Read More