Postcard of the Week: Oxford
Baptised the “city of dreaming spires” by the poet Matthew Arnold, Oxford is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and charming cities in Great Britain. Its outstanding architecture and history inspire thousands of visitors to flock to the city year after year, eager to see the city for themselves, to see the source of such wisdom and knowledge for some of the greatest people in history.
The university is without a doubt the foremost symbol of the city. Made up of 38 individual colleges, Oxford has been the intellectual cradle of various European kings, archbishops, bishops, and even seven saints. 47 Nobel prize-winners, 26 British prime ministers and 28 foreign prime ministers and presidents have studied within its walls. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that the city has nurtured over 50 Olympic medallists of various disciplines. The famous rowing regattas in Oxford are extremely important, and the various colleges compete year in year out to win first place.
For the tourist, whether you’re British or foreign, there are some key, simply unmissable, sites, such as the famous Magdalen College and Christ Church College, both of which stand out for their architectural splendour.
The Bridge of Sighs (shown on this postcard), inspired by the famous Venetian bridge, is another important tourist site in the city, as is the Bodleian Library which is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. The city can easily be seen on a daytrip from London, taking only 1 hour 10 mins by train or 1 hour 50 mins by coach. Once there, you can either take a specific tour, such as this one for example, or you can wander round the city at leisure with the help of one of the free maps available from the tourist office and various newsagents around the city. Some of the more famous colleges require an entrance fee of around £5, others don’t charge. Often the colleges are closed to visitors, but if you mention that you are interested in studying at the college, then the porter will normally let you past to have a little look around.
Be warned however – visiting Oxford is very likely to provoke a sudden urge to bury yourself in study, such is the pull of the city that it leaves you wanting more…