Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Day In Oxford

A little while ago I hopped on a train and headed to Oxford for the day. I had wanted to visit this intriguing and beautiful city for quite some time, so I was very excited! When the train arrived I wandered in the vague direction of the city centre until I found Mill Stream Walk.

It seemed pretty inviting so I meandered along listening to the rushing water and the sound of birdsong for a while, passing Oxford Castle on the way. 

This piqued my interest so I found a bridge to cross the Mill Stream and went to take a closer look. Part of Oxford Castle is open to admission paying visitors, but I didn't really have time for a proper visit so I just looked at the outside of the building. The castle was converted into a prison in the 18th century, and more recently the parts which aren't open to the public were converted into a fancy hotel and selection of restaurants. I'm not really sure how I'd feel about staying in a former prison, but the buildings are certainly interesting.

I continued on my way, passing the famous Bridge of Sighs as I went.

I also passed the Radcliffe Camera. I was quite surprised by how close together all the iconic Oxford buildings were, and how easy to find and access they were. Everywhere I looked there seemed to be something I had seen in a film or read about in a book!

Eventually I arrived at my destination, the amazing Oxford Museum of Natural History. This was one of the most beautiful museums, or indeed buildings, that I have ever visited in my opinion, and I was in slight awe the whole time I was there. I had an excellent time exploring the collections and looking at all the wonderful architectural details in the building.

Then I went for a quick peek at the Pitt Rivers Museum, which is housed in the same building as the Oxford Museum of Natural History, but covers anthropology and ethnography. The collections are fascinating and the Museum is absolutely crammed with objects, so I could have easily spent hours in there. I almost did, thanks to getting chatting to a lovely member of staff, but then I remembered that I needed to go and meet Laura, who I'd arranged to catch up with.

I set off again, passing the beautiful Keble College, the only brick college in Oxford, on the way. I promptly got lost, walked around in a circle several times, and got very distracted by pretty buildings and patches of bluebells.

I made it to the Ashmolean Museum just in time to meet Laura. We were there to see the Architecture in Miniature exhibition by Vicki Ambery-Smith and Hugh Colvin. Vicki Ambery-Smith had created miniature versions of several Oxford landmarks (including Keble College!) in metal, and it was so delightful and strange to see such tiny versions of the buildings I had just walked past.

After a very necessary cake and drink stop in the Ashmolean's cafe, it was time to hit the streets again. I noticed the oldest building in Oxford, the tower of St Michael at the North Gate, which dates to the Saxon period.

A visit to Oxford isn't complete without seeing at least one of the colleges, and Laura suggested that we looked around the incredible All Souls College. It must be a wonderful experience to live and study in such a amazing buildings.

Finally, we took a walk around the picturesque Christchurch Meadow, once frequented by Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell, of Alice in Wonderland fame. It was really great to spend the afternoon with Laura as not only was it nice to chat, but she suggested things like this which I would never have thought of by myself.

I didn't realise how much there was to do in Oxford, and already have a list of things I want to do on my next visit, so I will definitely be going back!

(This ticks off number 4 from my 101 in 1001 list)


  1. Aww, I love Oxford! I didn't know about the natural history museum (will have to check it out next time I go), but the Ashmolean is one of my favourite museums ever :)

    1. Yes I love the Ashmolean, I just didn't stay there very long this time because I wanted to go to some places I'd never been before. The Japanese gallery is one of my favourites. If you go to the Natural History Museum you should go to the first floor and find the solar system models, I think you'd like them.

  2. Gorgeous photos here Polly, Oxford is a stunning city and the part where you said just just meandered along, listening to birdsong just sounds exquisite! Lovely post. - Tasha

    1. Thank you! It helps to have a companion who doesn't mind when you stop for photos every few seconds :)

  3. Oxford looks like an amazing place! I'd love to visit there one day.
    In Melbourne Pentridge Prison is currently being developed into apartments. It was the most notorious maximum security prison in its day, prisoners and guards were murdered there, and there may be unmarked graves anywhere around the grounds. Nothing would convince me to live there!

    1. Oh wow, that prison sounds really spooky! There's a place near me which used to be a notorious asylum (lots of mistreatment of patients, used by the local aristocrats to lock up ex mistresses/illegitimate children, the works) and has now been turned into luxury apartments. I don't understand why anyone would want to live somewhere like that!