The City of Dreaming Spires: A Visit to Oxford

Once you’ve been to Cambridge or Oxford, it is natural for everyone to make their way to the other part of Oxbridge. I can say that I absolutely loved Cambridge, though I was lucky to have great weather and wonderful company — both essential to having a good time. My Dad almost went to Oxford and so he’s always been an Oxford, so needless to say I was intrigued by this town from the beginning. Oxford 2 Victor and I went with one of our German friends, Anja. She came with us to Cambridge as well, so we all had the joy of comparing Oxford to Cambridge. Things did not start off great as we stepped out of the train station and it was pouring down rain. Nevertheless, we pressed on.

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The town of Oxford is slightly larger than Cambridge. There are 168,270 residents, as opposed to 123,867 in Cambridge. Even though the difference in numbers is not too great, Oxford definitely feels bigger. The town spreads out further and also has more city-like streets. As the rain was still coming down hard, our first stop seemed quite appropriate: the Pitt Rivers Museum. It is a museum displaying the archaeological and anthropological collections of the University of Oxford, so you already know it is not too shabby. A dying breed, these types of museums are always kind of creepy and not necessarily considered ethical anymore, but they are interesting nonetheless. It is the largest collection of this type in all of the United Kingdom, so definitely worth a peak.

Oxford - Pitt Rivers Museum Hertford College is the location of the infamous Bridge of Sighs, a skyway joining two parts of the College. Of course, there is a twin at Cambridge as well — both beautiful. It is impossible to choose which one is ‘better’ or ‘more beautiful’.

Oxford - Bridge of Sighs My main anticipation was for the Oxford library. I mean, how could a place like Oxford not have an amazing library? We had some time to kill before our tour of the Bodleian Library, so we continued to wander the area admiring all the stunning architecture. The oh so famous Radcliffe Camera is a beauty, even in the rain I am happy to say.

Oxford 9 Oxford 10 The library did not allow any photography whatsoever, but it is worth noting what a great place it is. The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford and is one of the oldest libraries in the world. It is also the second largest library in Great Britain, second only to the British Library. A cool tradition that the library upholds is the admission process. New readers of the library must agree to a formal declaration:

I hereby undertake not to remove from the Library, nor to mark, deface, or injure in any way, any volume, document or other object belonging to it or in its custody; not to bring into the Library, or kindle therein, any fire or flame, and not to smoke in the Library; and I promise to obey all rules of the Library.

What do you you think? Perhaps they have had quite a few cases of foolery.

Our last major stop was the church of St Mary the Virgin. It is beautiful church and is the centre of the University of Oxford.

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It was finally time to get some nourishment. We headed over to the covered market to grab a late lunch/early dinner. By this point we were all exhausted and soaked because the rain never stopped, which is quite a shame. From what I could tell, in terms of the Oxbridge debate, Oxford has more beautiful buildings, but Cambridge has more beautiful, natural aspects. Although, Victor and I both decided that we did not give Oxford a fair chance and we owe the town another visit when the weather is more favourable. I guess it is not yet time to cross Oxford off the list!

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Like Oxford? Then you’ll definitely like Cambridge–check out my detailed adventure here

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