Guide To Holidaying In Oxfordshire
A guide by Julia Buckley
Oxfordshire reminds most people of the historic city of Oxford with its stately buildings and world recognised university. Wherever you stay in Oxfordshire, there's a great deal to offer the holidaymaker. Book a holiday cottage in Oxfordshire and enjoy your stay whether it be punting along the Thames at Oxford, visiting the stately homes such as Blenheim Palace or enjoying the fabulous scenery of the Cotswolds.
With rolling hills, Cotswold villages and the obligatory dreaming spires thrown in for good measure, Oxfordshire's all you'd expect, and more.
Any visit to Oxfordshire has to start with its main city and the university which has dominated its history for the last 800 years. Superlatives are generally tossed about with abandon when describing Oxford and, once you get over the traffic, it's not difficult to see why generation after generation of aesthetes have fallen for it.
Christ Church is the main tourist trap; and, as it houses the city's cathedral, art gallery, and the largest quadrangle in the town, it's not hard to see why. Perhaps more significantly, Christ Church was the literary setting for Alice in Wonderland - go into the Dining Hall and you'll find where Lewis Carroll got his ideas for the rabbit hole - and, more recently, it played host to the Harry Potter filmcrew. If you think the Hall looks familiar, check your dvd collection - it was set to be used as Hogwarts Hall, until the film company decided it wasn't big enough, and replicated it in the studio on a larger scale.
If literary Oxford's your priority, you can take a Harry Potter tour of Christ Church; or visit the Eagle and Child pub, favourite haunt of both CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy is also set in a parallel Oxford, and there's fun to be had in working out exactly which college corresponds to which in the books. But if it's appearance you're after, make sure you look in on Lincoln College - definitely the cutest of the 39 colleges - and Magdalen, which has a deer park as a back garden.
Oxford city centre isn't the most pleasant of places, so take advantage while you're down by Magdalen by dropping in on the Botanical Gardens and then indulging in an essential part of any Oxford summer - punting - by hiring a punt under the bridge. Better still, plan it well, take some food, and enjoy a picnic break in the University Parks.
Once you've had your fill of culture, it's time to venture out into the countryside. Heading north, you'll hit Woodstock and Blenheim Palace, then Bicester and its designer outlet village. Southwards lie pretty, riverside Abingdon; and Henley, popular with enthusiasts of rowing and Boris Johnson. To the west are the treasures of the Cotswolds - proper Waitrose territory, and you won't find a single village that isn't crying out to be captured on film - even the Little Chefs are made of the distinctive creamy cotswold stone. For more information on the Cotswolds please take a look at the Cotswolds Tourist Guide.
If you're into history, Witney has a Roman villa; and if you're an animal lover, whether native or exotic, Burford's the place for you with its Cotswold Wildlife Park and Farm Park both nearby - although the Farm Park is just over the Gloucestershire border. Foodies will love Daylesford Farm Shop, and those of an artistic persuasion will appreciate the sculpture trail on the estate at Sherborne.
Oxfordshire's always been the residence of choice for the great and good - now it's your turn to join them!
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