Saturday 13 September 2014

A Summer Day in Oxford

When people ask where I live and they've not heard of my hometown I say "it's about halfway between Oxford and London". But while I spend quite a bit of time in London I very rarely catch the train in the opposite direction to visit Oxford. The bright lights of the big city are just too tempting, I guess!

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!


betti said...

Make sure you visit Oxford in March, when all the daffodils are out. I've been there in 2001 as a guest of Oxford University Press (I'm from Hungary), and it was wonderful. As the town itself wouldn't be interesting enough, LOL.

C said...

I lived in Oxford for six years - and I was a member of Keble too! It it a very beautiful city, but I found getting about on a daily basis to be irritating with the massive amounts of students, tourists and townies all crammed into this one rather small city. Also I never really felt like I was living in England (I'm from the states) as I knew very few actual Brits when I lived there.

Thanks for the photo tour. You've reminded me what I liked about Oxford...and also that I need to visit again soon to use the library. :)

Ariadne said...

I was there on a University visit at my 21 years of age!What memories this brought back!Thanks!AriadnefromGreece!

Christine M said...

I lived in Oxford for about 3-4 months back in 1988 when I had a 12 month trip overseas. I just loved it there. I'd love to go back one day.

Katie said...

If Oxford is convenient for you, you might be interested in this embroidery exhibition at the Ashmolean:

Also, if you go on 4th Oct the Embroiderers' Guild are running some free embroidery classes as part of The Big Stitch (though you'll need to book a place):

Bugs and Fishes said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! x

Betti - ooh, I can imagine how lovely it must look in the springtime :)

Xenia - oh gosh yes it must be quite busy with the students and tourists all squeezed in together. I find that everywhere seems quiet to me these days tho after the madness that is central London in the summer!! :D

Ariadne - glad you enjoyed the trip down memory lane x

Christine - it is a lovely place, visiting for the day I have definitely only just scratched the surface!

Katie - thanks so much for this link, I knew about the exhibition & the Big Stitch but not about the free classes... I must check my diary :)