Oxford – the first and still one of the primary places of learning in England.
Oxford is all about education and its development over the centuries, and one cannot fail to be impressed by how this permeates every aspect of the city’s life. Most of the magnificent array of buildings are dedicated to learning although the city was also of strategic royal importance being situated in the centre of the country.
Among the buildings we were privileged to visit: the Ashmolean Museum, the Sheldonian Theatre, the Bodleian Library, the Radcliffe Camera and the Christ Church College with its Cathedral.
Access and transport in and around Oxford is dictated by the narrow medieval streets. For day visitors the pain is eased by park and ride facilities for local buses, with another option being the hop on – hop off buses stopping there too. Walking in the town centre is easy, but it seems that the twelve thousand odd students all own bicycles. Watching the skill with which cyclists, motorists and numerous buses and tourist coaches co-exist is quite intriguing.
Our hotel was some distance from the centre of town and on arrival we decided to walk onto town along path beside the River Thames. It was about an hour’s leisurely stroll dodging other walkers and cyclists and watching the dozens of eights crews practicing. It was lunchtime by the time we reached the town and the Head of the River pub so we naturally had (another) pub lunch (and ale). Between the cycling and the rowing, the Oxford students appear to be a very healthy lot.
Oxford was the end of our road touring that started in Edinburgh three weeks ago. The Peugeot 308 had proved a pleasure to drive on all types of British roads. Handing back the car quite close to the Oxford railway station we were able to walk to our train to Paddington, London.
PS Even though constantly on the lookout, we did not manage to see DI Lewis or his sidekick Hathaway but we certainly saw many of the locations from that TV series.