I wasn’t planning to be in London for long but for sure knew I had to check out Oxford because its Oxford!! How could I miss it. Oxford is only an hour away from London central via train at the super low cost of 24 pounds for a return trip. For some reason when I headed out the station to buy my ticket, I purchased one at the self serve kiosk instead of the ticket office and it charged me 60 pounds so I bought it thinking maybe prices had gone up because I remembered reading that i usually is about 30 punts tops, so I went to the ticket office and indeed, attendant said that was way too much and not sure why the self serve machine had charged that amount. So next time I guess, make sure to purchase from attendants at the ticket office and not the machines. Trains run to Oxford from Paddington underground station (tube) every 15 minutes so don’t worry about catching a train a certain time, there are many!
The train ride is awesome to start with, after passing through the city and the through the more industrial part full of warehouses and factories, you get to the countryside. The green fields you would expect to see in London. The green fields we read about on the older books, the green fields full of trees and lakes and flowers So I recommend some good music and a window seat and voila! Already worth my 24 pounds.
The train will drop you off at the central station, the only station actually, and right when you come out you will see that there are the City sight-seeing buses, two level red and green buses. You will actually see them in several cities in Europe not just here. I usually don’t take tour buses but today was a very gloomy day and possibly going to rain so I payed the 14 euros and the bus takes you all over town and you can get off wherever you want. To be honest, Oxford is very small, if the weather had been nicer I would’ve saved my 14 euros and walked it all off. Plus the city is like a huge maze, there are so many small crossroad streets and small alleys where buses have no access that you can see several other things you wouldn’t be able to see from the bus. Just head out to the station and start walking, as easy as that. Everywhere you walk there’s something to see and you obviously want to head out towards the buildings and not the road which will take you to the more residential areas but I am pretty sure you came to see the university so don’t even bother.
On your walk you will find several interesting spots to visit like museums, libraries, private rooms, colleges and even the post office. So make sure you walk around the alleys too, there’s hidden gems in there. The second part of the trip would be eating and shopping and there is a one huge street dedicated to this. You can’t miss it, you actually have to walk through here to get back to the station, it’s like one big loop where you walk towards the left side of the station and come back towards the right.
I didn’t have the best meal here, I chose the wrong restaurant I suppose but I did see more interesting spots on Covered Market for example, it’s a little hidden market by Cloredone center, like a mini farmers market you can check out with several snack and cuisine options. It’s also super cute!!
This town is incredibly pretty, it really has not aged one bit, I don’t think I saw a single modern building. Of course there are newer buildings that just had to be added but the city has maintained its look and has been built accordingly.
The people well, everyone seems to be in a hurry all the time. Everyone is running everywhere, on a mission. But I guess, its Oxford, things run very differently here academically. Like a student was telling me that assignments are completely different from most universities from all over the world. One of the assignments, for example, was to have dinner with a professor and the assignment would be to relate the Beatles to Bach, and in doing the research the student came back with the fact that the Beatles had stolen a lot of Bachs’s cords to add onto their music. It centers in the idea of students thinking outside the box, of students doing deep research, deep analytical work in order to come out with a completely unexpected and unique outcome. So everyone’s mind here is always, always on the move I suppose, everyone is in their zone.
All in all I highly recommend taking the day trip from London, it’s about an hour train ride and you get to experience true history. You get to see the places where great authors, great doctors and chemists worked on extraordinary inventions, like Penicillin for example, which was invented here in Oxford. But I will let you find out by yourself, please do check it out.