The county of Oxfordshire is known for its pleasant countryside and quaint villages, as well as being the setting for one of the most famous educational institutions in the world, the University of Oxford, which dates back to the 11th century. Enjoy a rural retreat in the serene outskirts of this county, where you will encounter sleepy towns and bucolic landscapes.
Begin your exploration of the county in its most famous part, Oxford. Take a guided tour of the city to see its iconic landmarks and explore one of the university’s many colleges. Look around the Bodleian Library and see the remarkable architecture of the Radcliffe Camera, which was the first circular library in Britain.
The university also holds several captivating collections in its museums, such as the Ashmolean Museum and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Christ Church Cathedral, which is both a university chapel and the city’s cathedral, is a particularly popular and much photographed attraction, as is the pretty Bridge of Sighs, a stunning structure connecting two parts of Hertford College.
Oxfordshire’s tourist appeal doesn’t begin and end in the city; there is plenty to do elsewhere in the county. Take a trip up to Blenheim Palace in Woodstock to see the stately 18th-century house occupied by the Dukes of Marlborough or go rambling in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, a stunning region full of rolling hills, vast meadows and genteel villages. There are wineries and breweries here too, including those found in the hamlets of Henley-on-Thames and Witney.
The region is pleasant in summer with warm to hot temperatures and blue skies. In winter, it is mild with occasional flurries of snow that accentuate the charm of the old buildings and vast fields. Ride 60 miles (96.5 kilometers) northwest from London to Oxford on an hour-long train journey. Regular buses and coaches depart from different London locations 24 hours a day. Oxfordshire is bordered by Northamptonshire in the West Midlands region of England and the River Thames flows through parts of this scenic county.
Oxfordshire will peak your interest in the history of academia, while offering a taste of blissful rural England.