I was determined to squeeze at least one Oxford trip into this summer... and the perfect opportunity arose when the temperature shot up and I wanted a Nice Day Out that didn't involve travelling on the overheated Tube.
My day got off to a great start: the train was almost empty, so I had a lovely peaceful journey reading my book (I do most of my reading on trains these days!). After arriving in Oxford I went for a stroll around the city centre, calling in at a cafe along the way for a cuppa and a bit of yummy cake.
There are so many interesting buildings to see in the city! One of my favourites is Keble College.
Just over the road from Keble is The Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
I have totally fallen in love with this museum! There's so much interesting stuff on display, and the building itself is pretty spectacular. Each of the columns in the building is made from a different British rock and the capitals and corbels are carved to represent different plants. There's also a fabulous glass roof. Click here for a virtual tour - make sure you look up!
As well as all the usual rocks and fossils and skeletons and stuffed animals you'd expect in a Natural History museum, there's also a webcam of the swifts nesting in the tower and a delightful beehive. I also loved the touchable specimins and the scale model of the Sun, Earth and Moon.
I had lunch in the museum cafe, then headed back outdoors for another wander.
Oxford is full of intriguing doorways and gateways...
... and lots and lots and lots of bicycles! I was amazed to see so many that were just casually propped up against walls instead of locked to bike racks or railings.
I popped into Modern Art Oxford for a look at their exhibitions...
... then as I was heading to my next destination there was a bit of drama as an elderly woman ahead of me tripped and cracked her head on the pavement! Of course I rushed to help along with several other passers by - we called an ambulance and sat with her until the paramedics arrived. Luckily she wasn't too badly hurt (though she had a lump the size of an egg on her forehead!) and she said her "faith in the younger generation" had been restored by how we'd come to her aid. Aww.
After that it was definitely time for an icecream!
Icecream acquired I walked to Christ Church to visit the Meadow.
Christ Church Meadow is the perfect spot for a relaxing summer walk. The route around the Meadow takes you alongside two rivers (the Cherwell and the stretch of the Thames known as the Isis)...
... and past cattle, ducks and people in punts.
This walk was a wonderful, quiet way to end the day. I was rather sad to have to head back into town and catch a train homewards - especially as there is nothing relaxing about travelling home in the rush hour.
Note to self: remember to go to Oxford more often!