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Oxford Travel Guide

Oxford is a city where even the culturally challenged will be hard pressed to ignore the past. Christ Church, birthplace of Alice in Wonderland, is a good starting point from which to get to grips with city’s history, most recently the college has been the setting for Hogwarts Hall in the Harry Potter films. The Ashmoleum Museum is a huge repository of manuscripts and exhibits reflecting Oxford’s 800 years as a seat of learning. The Museum of Modern Art houses an internationally recognised collection of 20th century works, and host regular exhibitions by artists including Tracy Emin, Gilbert and George and Jan Vercruysse. Two other museums, the Oxford Story and the Museum of Oxford tell the history of the city and university.

When cultural overload sets in Oxford has plenty of quiet tranquil backwaters in which to unwind, many of these, including the River Thames bordered Port Meadow are within walking distance of the city centre. The Cherwell Boat House is a popular haunt for students, locals and visitors alike to try out their punting skills or just to sit and watch the antics of the novice punter. The Boat House also has a very popular riverside bar and restaurant.

Food lovers will find Oxford a gastronomic oasis, the covered city centre market has an amazing range of food stalls selling fresh game, exotic seafood, home baked bread, spices and other epicurean delights. Those who prefer their food cooked for them will find no shortage of places to eat from oriental cafes to credit card melting Michelin starred restaurants. Restaurant on Woodstock Road is one of the city’s favourite eating houses, opened in 1976 Browns still attracts long queues at peak times, but is well worth the wait.

Shopping in Oxford is marvellously eclectic; the ubiquitous ‘big name’ stores are all there, but so are hundreds of independent shops specialising in everything from Latin American arts, second hand clothing, parts of bicycles to Egyptian artefacts. A book lover’s paradise the city has literally, dozens of new and second hand book shops, the rambling university bookshop Blackwell’s is one not to miss. A compact city the delights of Oxford can be enjoyed comfortably on foot, rickshaw taxis are available for those seeking more exotic transportation. Quite flat, the city is very cycle friendly and there are numerous places to hire them from. More distant transportation is well organised and frequent. The Oxford Tube operates a round the clock fast, comfortable coach service to London. Frequent rail services also run to the capital and all points in the UK. London’s Heathrow is about 1 hour away as is Birmingham International airport.

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