Oxford—where do I even begin? Apart from housing the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford, England is also known for its stunning architecture and unbelievable history. This particular trip was only a day, and if you’ve got a day to spare, this day guide should work for you!
We started off by taking the Oxford tube, which is actually a bus, to Oxford.The bus has Wi-Fi, plenty of seating, and double-decker views. We caught this bus from central London, and two hours later we were in central Oxford.
Wander the Streets
As soon as we got there, we walked the streets for about two hours because I am married to a crazy architect who just likes to wander and wander. I kind of love it though. He points out structures and brickwork that I would never stop to take in, which I guess would be pretty handy if I were to be on a trivia game show one day haha. After wandering (and getting our steps in), we ended up at a Thai restaurant called Chiang Mai Kitchen.
Chiang Mai Kitchen
This space has so much character and is tucked away down a side alley off the High Street. We didn’t make a reservation and were seated immediately. The food was fantastic and fast. Architecturally, this space was really interesting. It’s the original Kemp Hall, an early university hall named after John Kemp, Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1870, Honour & Castle altered Kemp Hall for use as a police station. Now it’s a Thai restaurant! I would highly recommend any of the curries and the Thai tea.
University of Oxford
After lunch, we walked around the various colleges in Oxford. Did you know the University of Oxford has 38 colleges and six permanent private halls? Casual. It also has teachings dating back to 1096, and it grew rapidly starting in 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. I really would love to attend there, but I wonder if I would ever get over the wonder that is Oxford. Do you know what I mean? There’s so much history and beauty there; do you ever get immune to it by being a student? I’d hope not!
After walking around for a few more hours, we headed to the castle. The Oxford Castle is a large, partly ruined Norman medieval castle on the western side of central Oxford. Most of the castle was destroyed in the English Civil War, and by the 18th century the remaining buildings had become Oxford’s local prison. We learnt about the castle’s role in the Anarchy and Barons War and much more through the tour we took. The tour came highly recommended, and I can see why! My favorite part was standing on the terrace of the castle and watching the sunset over Oxford. Pretty darn gorgeous.
Eagle and Child Pub
If you’re a C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien fan, you can’t go to Oxford and bypass this pub (nicknamed The Bird and Baby). Sure, it seemed a bit more touristy than it probably was when the famous authors were lunching and drinking there, but the experience is more to just know you were in the same space as those greats. Maybe if you are facing writer’s block, you can get some inspiration while you are sitting at one of the old tables, sipping on a pint. After all, it was at this pub that C.S. Lewis first distributed the proofs for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
After the sunset, we took the bus back to central London. We only spent one day in Oxford, England on our most recent trip, but we’re hoping to go back for a longer amount of time. If you make it to London, you absolutely need to take a trip to Oxford. Any day-trip suggestions? Comment below!