In depth walking tour of old world Oxford, England

Updated: June 28, 2019 This website uses cookies, ads and affiliate links.

We were very excited to visit Oxford. We had in mind the fame of this town and the beauty of Cambridge. We got there and we tried hard to find parking on the narrow, one way streets. We finally found parking without getting any ticket. Knowing how many famous minds were schooled in Oxford…I felt kind of smart just being there. The old buildings and the street took me back in time…but the young modern students, the cars and everything else reminded me the reality. The bakeries and coffee shops’ aroma, reminded me that I was hungry…but we had to stick to the plan: to see Oxford in one day. Read on about our day trip to Oxford, England.

My favorite tourist attractions in Oxford, England

Radcliffe Camera Plaza is the hub of Oxford

We started our visit to Oxford by walking on Broad Street and Turl Street with beautiful but cramped British houses (here you also find the Oxford Tourist Information office). We passed by The Sheldonian Theatre, a landmark, Wren-designed building hosting university’s ceremonies and concerts. Radcliffe Camera is a 18th-century, iconic, Palladian-style academic library and reading rooms, designed by James Gibbs.
And because we are in England we had to find refuge from rain in St Mary’s Church which is located next door, in Radcliffe Square. This is the spiritual heart of the oldest university in Britain.

Oxford, England – View of Radcliffe Camera and St Mary’s Church
 Oxford, England - View of Radcliffe Camera and St Mary's Church
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Tourists were everywhere, mixed with students. We enjoyed the beauty and the history of this place. I wanted to capture the moment taking tons of picture but I felt that was not enough. The architectural mixture of rounded buildings and pointy roofs, created a beautiful scenery…almost from another century where we were volunteer actors in an old movie.

Visit the colleges that make up the oldest University in the English speaking world

Walking north to Cattle street we reached the Bodleian Library. It is the UK’s second largest library, established in 1602 and containing over 11 million works. Across the street from the library you can see Hertford College, founded in the 13th century. It is one of many University of Oxford colleges spread all over the town.
Right in the vicinity you will find The Bridge of Sighs on New College Lane. It is supposed to be a replica of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice Italy.
We tried to escape the busy High Street, so we followed the map to St. Aldate’s street. After a short walk, we passed by the imposing Town Hall and Museum of Oxford buildings and found ourselves in front of the famous Christ College.

Oxford, England – Beautiful view of Christ Church college on St. Aldate’s street.
 Oxford, England - Beautiful view of Christ Church college on St. Aldate's street.
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This is a majestic university college known for its grand main quad (The Great Quadrangle built in 1546), riverside meadows and Cathedral Choir. The beautiful construction of Tom Tower (build in 1682) serves as the main entrance to Christ Church College. Here we peeked in and stole an image of the beautiful interior yard of the college, but we were still disappointed because the building was closed for visitors that day.

Take a stroll through the beautiful park and garden

Another imposing tower in Oxford is Carfax Tower, located on Queen street. From Christ Church College we strolled down the street and we found the War Memorial Garden which gave us a splendid view of Christ College Chapel. A short walk through the garden took us to Christ Church Meadow and from there a tree lined pathway leads you to the river Thames.

Oxford, England – Christ Church College chapel can be seen from the War Memorial Garden.
Oxford, England - Christ Church College chapel can be seen from the War Memorial Garden.
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We walked back to High Street and from there to Corn Market Street, were we enjoyed more inspiring old building, shops and restaurants. We reached Martyrs’ Memorial on Beaumont St and St Giles.

Our kids got tired and hungry, so we found a small Mexican place were we enjoyed a decent burrito…which is very rare for England (we live in California where great Mexican food is easy to find). We got back to our car and drove to Oxford Castle, a large, partly ruined Norman medieval castle on the western side of central Oxford. It has tours by costumed guides and there is a 900-year-old crypt. We decided to only walk around the site and not take any tours since we were pretty tired.

Is it worth visiting Oxford, England?

We liked our visit to Oxford, but we came to Oxford after living in Cambridge for a month. Oxford was beautiful, but we thought Cambridge is more organized and quaint…maybe because is not as big as Oxford. The old university buildings in Cambridge are clustered together, while in Oxford they are spread around and mixed with modern roads and stores. However, Oxford makes for a great tourist destination in England.

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