What do you think of when you heard the word Oxford? The Oxford Dictionary? Oxford Street in London? Well, I think of the University of Oxford; and that is exactly where my first day in England was spent.
Christ Church, Oxford, England.
The town of Oxford in England is located around 62 miles (approximately 100 kilometers) north-west of London, and is an hour train ride or approximately a two hour drive (depending on traffic) from the city of London. It is home to the prestigious and famous University of Oxford, and is home to years of historical events and happenings.
Bodleian Library, Oxford, England.
I rose out of bed at eight in the morning and got myself ready for a chilly, but not freezing day in the English countryside. I was out of the door by 8:30, and was on my way to Marylebone Station. From my hotel Marylebone Station is a 45-minute walk; some people would dread this, but I prefer it for multiple reasons. Number one, you get to see more of London and you’re able to take in the architecture, notice the people, and explore London like a local. The route that I walked showed me where Regents Park and Madame Tussauds is; which is helpful considering I want to go to both of these places while I’m in this amazing city. I arrived at Marylebone Station– which is huge, and so different to the train stations back home- at 9:15, and treated myself to a Mocha. Five minutes later, I met a new friend of mine for the first time and she tagged along with me for the day to explore the city of Oxford.
People told me to buy train tickets online as prices would be cheaper and it would be easier, but I didn’t want to incur the international transaction fee so we bought our tickets at Marylebone. There was no price difference, the lines were short, you could pay by cash or card, and to be quite honest, it was easier purchasing them in person than online.
As we boarded the train at 9:30 I realized several differences compared to the Queensland railway network. Queensland Rail, take note. The National Rail trains that run throughout England are cleaner, bigger and better; the amount of legroom is ridiculously huge, the comfort of the seats are insanely comfy, there are power points to charge laptops and phones, some seats also have tables, it is quieter, there is free WiFi it was easy to find a seat, and it was warm. I have nothing bad to say about the National Rail at all!
Radcliffe Camera, Oxford, England.
We passed through Bicaster Village and Oxford Parkway stations and reached Oxford Station within an hour. From here, we walked to the city centre of Oxford (which is easily signed) towards the information centre in hopes of finding a cheap walking tour. On our way, my friend came along a sign that read ‘free two hour walking tours’. We thought it might be too good to be true, but kind of wedged ourselves into a group and followed this group through the city. Turns out the company holding these tours were called Footprints Tours, and they ran solely off of voluntary tips. They start these tours at Broad Street, and ours was at 11 in the morning.
Broad Street, Oxford, England.
Our tour guide was amazing! He was an Oxford Student himself and he is educated about the history of the university as well; which was nice because he was then able to give us the facts and histories, as well as an undergraduate Oxford University student insight. He showed us places such as the Museum of the History of Science, the Sheldonian Theater, the Bodleian Library, Radcliffe Camera, All Souls College, Merton College, Christ Church and more. At the end of the tour, we felt the need to tip him as he was so informative and captivating. Afterwards, we culturally immersed ourselves in some McDonalds for lunch…
The Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, England.
Soon after lunch we revisited the Museum of the History of Science. If you’re into science, you’ll love this, but by far the most wonderful thing to view in this museum is one of the blackboards that Albert Einstein wrote the Theory of Relativity on back in the 1940’s. We continued to walk around the city and then finished our day with some shopping, visiting the Body Shop, Krispy Kreme’s and a phone store to purchase European SIM Cards. At 3:30 in the afternoon we hoped back on board the train at Oxford Station and arrived back at London Marylebone Station at 4:30. We finished the day by walking 45 minutes back to my hotel, taking in more of London’s sites along the way.
Bridge of Sighs, Oxford, England.
Some fun facts about the University of Oxford follows (apologies in advance if they are not exactly correct, I listened as hard as I could):
- Oxford University was established in 1096, making it the second oldest university in Europe.
- The Museum of the History of Science is the oldest purpose built museum in the world
- Bob Hawke- one of Australia’s most famous Prime Minister’s- skulled a bunch of ale in 11 seconds at one of the pubs at the University of Oxford, landing him in the Guinness World Book of Records.
- The University of Oxford is not a campus university, it is made up of multiple college scattered around the city.
- The writer of The Hobbit started writing the story at Merton College
- Charles Dodgson- under the name Lewis Carroll- wrote the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in Oxford at Christ Church after a little girl named Alice who was obsessed with his stories.
In all seriousness, Oxford is a beautiful place. Whether you’re into university life, history, or architecture, Oxford has something that will appeal to everyone.
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