My academic dad is currently studying at Oxford (so proud!) and while I was in London in October, I went to spend a day with him. I did not visit that many places in the UK but visiting Oxford was definitively at the top of that very short list.
It was more of an academic tour of Oxford of course as my ‘dad’ and I walked around town and he showed me the interesting buildings of the university. The history, the architecture, the whole aura of the town was just brilliant. I really wish I could live there (the proximity to London also helps, which we didn’t have in Scotland obviously!).
The day went by very quickly. We had a quick bite to eat in a burger joint before heading out to visit. It was a gorgeous sunny day so we walked around a lot! Another great thing? My ‘dad’ is a student and students get in to most of the buildings for free with their guests, so we were able to skip lines and get in for free pretty much everywhere (although entrance fees were usually only a couple of pounds)! VIP treatment I tell you 😉
Here are a few must-sees in Oxford :
1) The first larger than life building we saw was the Radcliffe Camera. It was built in the 18th century to house the science library and was named after
Daniel John Radcliffe, a doctor who left loads of money to Oxford for them to build the library. We didn’t go in but its exterior is absolutely gorgeous!
2) Just north of the Radcliffe Camera is the Bodleian Library. According to Wikipedia it is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. While its story dates back to the 14th century, it was officially established as the Bodleian Library in the early 17th century. There are five buildings occupied by the library. We went into one of them for the Magical Books exhibition. It included a bunch of interesting manuscripts and books, from some of Tolkien’s original artwork for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with handwritten notes by JK Rowling. I sadly couldn’t take any pictures inside the exhibition.
We then walked into the Divinity School (housed in the Bodleian) which was gorgeous!
Does it look like something you might know? Yes it is indeed where they filmed the infirmary scenes from the first Harry Potter and the dance class in the fourth one.
3) We didn’t have to walk very far again to find another interesting building. We walked into the Sheldonian Theatre, which is where the Oxford students have their matriculation ceremony and graduation (it is also used for lectures, conferences and music concerts). It was also built in the 17th century and named after the chancellor of the university at the time.
We went up to the top of the tower and got an amazing 360 view over the town. Absolutely worth it!
4) My ‘dad’ then brought me to see Christ Church College because it is one of the most impressive colleges and also because he knew how much of a HP fan I am. Its construction started in early 16th century and its architecture and grandiosity are very impressive!
As we walked in I quickly realised that it was where they had filmed the entrance to the Great Hall in HP. I was way too excited! I wanted to be part of that college right away!
As we walked out of the dining room (pictured above), I sat on a bench in a hallway until my ‘dad’ pointed out to me that the hallway looked familiar. Another location for the filming of HP! I couldn’t contain myself!
We also went to take a look at the cathedral (which serves as the college chapel) which is one of the countries’ smallest cathedral.
Everywhere we looked it was amazing! There were many more interesting sights in Oxford but these were the highlights of my day. If you are ever in London I would suggest making the 50min train journey to Oxford to go visit this enchanting town!
Ever been to Oxford? What was your favourite thing to do there?xx