Natural History Museum

There’s More to Oxford Than the University

When you think of Oxford you think of the University. And why wouldn’t you? It’s one of the most prestigious and ancient institutions in the world!

You think of Hogwarts’ style dining halls, bright young minds riding their bicycles or taking a punt on the river and rusty old professors struggling across the cobble stones.

Yet, take a trip to Oxford during the student’s winter break when even the hoards of tourists have dispersed and the Oxford behind the University really shines through.

I live only a half an hour drive from Oxford city centre but rarely make the journey. Oxford is still undiscovered territory for me, with many sites still to visit. However this time I wanted to leave the University colleges behind and see what else Oxford has to offer.

The Turf Tavern

Turf Tavern OxfordThe Turf Tavern is an Oxford institution. A watering hole frequented by many notable intellects and celebrities alike, a pint in this time-worn pub is a must.

Blackwell’s Book Shop

Blackwells BookshopDeceptively Tardis-like from the outside, the Blackwell’s Book Shop is spread over four floors with shelves stacked with books on everything and anything you can imagine. Well worth a browse.

Lunch at the Vault Cafe

The Vault Cafe OxfordA must-munch in Oxford. Serving up fresh organic fare canteen-style, The Vault is a great pit-stop for some hearty fare on a chilly winter’s day. Hot main meals start at £7.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History and The Pitt Rivers Museum

Natural History MuseumSo it might be a bit of a cheat seeing as the museum is University owned but it is worth a visit nonetheless! Housed in a beautiful building with masonry reminiscent of its London cousin, the Natural History Museum is packed full of interesting taxidermy and fossilised replicas of your favourite prehistoric pals.

But the best gem is the Pitt Rivers Museum out the back…

Pitt Rivers MuseumThe Pitt Rivers Museum is going to get a whole blog entry to itself – it’s that good. The museum is a treasure chest of global goods, rammed with artefacts from gruesome shrunken heads to ancient playing cards. A Cabinet of Curiosity gone wild. It’s worth coming to Oxford just for this.

The Covered Market

Oxford Covered MarketThe covered market is situated slap-bang in the middle of Oxford. Sack off the boring high street and check out the quirky shops and market stalls selling everything from incense to pork pies.

Modern Art Oxford

Oxford Modern Art MuseumI’m a big art lover and love a trip around a good gallery (check out my top 5 here). Oxford Modern Art isn’t my favourite but you can’t complain as it’s free and currently has a couple of decent Andy Warhol’s hanging on its walls. The cafe is lovely though!

A Walk up the Mound at Oxford Castle

Oxford CastleOxford Castle has been lovingly restored over the years and so you subsequently have to pay to get in. Walk up the ancient mound instead for a pleasant view of surrounding Oxford. Cheap as chips and great at sunset!

I had a great time in Oxford and would love to come back again. Have you visited the city? What did you think? Let me know in the comments or via social media if there’s any places you’d recommend!

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