24 Hours in Oxford

A Weekend In Oxford

Oxford is full of sights and if you climb high enough you get the best view of this old old city.

Oxford – known as the ‘City of Spires’, a fact which I find utterly depressing! Imagining ornate protruding roof columns and a petit handful of photographic opportunities, I was mildly excited about our trip away, nurturing thoughts of having more fun in the 5 star hotel we were about to check in to. It turns out I was misled, misinformed, misguided. Don’t get me wrong-the hotel room was a beauty (especially after a complementary upgrade to a suite), but there would be no need to lock ourselves in with gin and chocolates – this town is impressively elegant.

Oxford is know as the city of spires but it has so much more to offer - a great nightlife, the best museums and some lovely walks in the parks and along the canals

Oxford is one of the prettiest city's in England. there are so many highlights and things to see.


Oxford has some of the best museums in the country - the pitt rivers and natural history museum are the best, but there is also the ashmolean. You must visit!

The Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford is one of the most interesting places you can visit, and so beautifully preserved to - definitely a highlight of a weekend in Oxford

bikes in Oxford
Oxford is one of the best city's in England to visit for a short break - some great restaurants, fantastic museums and fab cocktail bars. Check out my city guide to Oxford.

Restaurants and Bars

The history of the place feels a little overwhelming, the world’s future brain-boxes riding around on old bicycles makes you feel inspired, the amount of amazing food on offer makes you feel hungry and the extensive collection of Cocktail Bars makes you feel dizzy! If you find yourself there for the night you should definitely check out The Duke of Cambridge and Raoul’s, two of the best cocktail bars in an area known as Jericho – now a grid of Victorian terraced streets with window boxes and pretty doors, but once the area just outside of the old city wall’s where travellers would rest if they’d arrived after-hours when the gates had closed. I imagine they just strung up their donkey, slipped into Raoul’s and ordered a Cosmopolitan.

For brunch we stopped at Gee’s – Oxford’s iconic Glass House. Somebody got the brief just right here – traditional to the max but on point down to the detail. Food’s great, staff are lovely and the decor transports you to another beautiful era.

Not in the city for long, and trying to not rush our weekend either, we chose to spend a few hours in the Natural History Museum, ogling Dodo’s and Dinosaurs alongside wide-eyed children. The neo-Gothic architecture is pretty impressive too, but then everywhere you stroll in this town the buildings blow you away!

The bridge of Sighs is one of the hidden gems of Oxford, off the beaten track. But there is so much to see and do in this wonderful city. Just wander and take it all in!

Take It All In

For a better view of it all, the Radcliffe Camera is lodged between Brasenose and All Souls College’s – for a couple of quid you can take in the birds-eye perspective of Buckbeak the Hippogriff and peek into the courtyards and gardens of some of the oldest College’s in the world. The first time I came to Oxford, years ago, I missed out because I thought the grounds of these colleges were out-of-bounds to Joe-public, but actually you can stroll to your heart’s content and imagine what life would have been like if you’d just taken Latin and Lacrosse a little more seriously! And that’s what we did for the remainder of our weekend here in Oxford – with Google maps in hand we snaked through the passageways and cloisters, trying old garden gates which could have been locked or simply just closed to keep the unseen quadrangles a little more secretive. Go on… try those doorways and passages, this town is hiding magical things if you just dare to find them…

City of Magic

Small enough to cross in half an hour but brimming with distractions and an atmosphere which makes you want to linger. The spires ARE beautiful but I think it’s time to re-label Oxford, therefore I am officially renaming it the ‘City of Magic’. It’s not hard to see why Miss J.K. Rowling chose several of the campuses as locations for scenes at her Hogwarts school of Wizardry.

Everyone has their favourite cities, Richard and I can’t get enough of Rome and obviously there’s London as our quick last-minute failsafe, but I think we might have just discovered another little gem just a couple of hours drive away. We’ll definitely be returning soon to soak up more magic.

Have you been? If so, what were your highlights? Do you know of any Oxford gems?

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Oxford is one of the prettiest city's in England and there is just so much to see and do here. Check out my guide and top tips on what to do, see and eat in Oxford.


19 Comments Add yours

  1. Pingback: 24 Hours in Oxford | alibali55's Blog
  2. Lolo says:

    OOH wow! Oxford looks stunning in the fall! That is my favorite season! We were there last May and it was also beautiful with the Wisteria flowers everywhere! #CityTripping

    1. Alex says:

      Yes- I bet! And the rhododendrons.

  3. Katy says:

    I am very fond of Oxford too. Nice tip on not being too shy to wander the college grounds. Did you go one of the pubs on the Thames? They are just lovely with huge beer gardens for those sunny days and roaring fires in winter #citytripping

    1. Alex says:

      Yes we did- such a great city. Thanks for commenting.

  4. I loved it when I visited it years ago:) nice photos! #city tripping

  5. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! I love Oxford. I’m much more familiar with the dreaming spires of Cambridge but you’ve inspired me to revisit Oxford – and take the kids this time.

    1. Alex says:

      They’d love the natural history museum!

  6. This has been so lovely to read – I spent several years of my life in Oxford, and even in between rushing around studying (well, occasionally rushing), I would have to stop and marvel at what a beautiful city it is, especially when the sun hits the stone so it glows honey gold and the sky is blue. You’ve found a few of my favourite places, and my daughter loved the dinosurs at the Natural History Museum when I went back with her – but there are so many others to mention, from the covered market to punting (best in summer!) to the Pitt Rivers museum… I could go on. Thanks for helping me reminisce. #citytripping

  7. Great to find your blog on #citytripping! Really looking forward to reading more of your posts, and will definitely reference this post when I finally get to Oxford someday! Love it!

  8. You’ve really captured the magic and mystery of Oxford so well here – not that I’ve been – but have planted the seed for me to visit. Lovely photos and I can just imagine all the stunning architecture, passageways and secret doors. #citytripping

  9. Kati form Ms B Travels says:

    Oh! Oxford sounds amazing! I have always wanted to go for the Harry Potter aspect of it all, but truly, the city itself now sounds appealing. I’d love to visit the University and explore the gardens and pass through those gates :).

  10. Oxford is one of those places I have ‘sort of’ been to. I have briefly visited friends there, been to many places around Oxford and caught connecting trains from there but never PROPERLY explored Oxford. You have given me a wonderful virtual tour with somefantastic pics. It has inspired me to take a longer, closer look at the city. Thanks for sharing on #citytripping

    1. Alex says:

      It really is lovely. So very Old England.

  11. melbtravel says:

    You have some real beautiful pictures in your post. You remind me of my trip there a couple of years ago. You forget sometimes how pretty it actually it is there. Thanks for sharing

    1. Alex says:

      The beautiful Autumn light helped!

  12. pc says:

    Great pictures showing the stunning old England. We wanted to visit Oxford during our trip to UK last year, but had to give it a miss due to packed itinerary (so much to see!). Hope will have a chance soon…

    1. Alex says:

      Oh yes, I don’t know where I’d start if I had to pick an itinerary.

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