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Introducing Oxford

One of the world's most famous university cities, Oxford is a privileged place. It is steeped in history and studded with august buildings, yet it maintains the feel of a young town, thanks to its large student population. The elegant honey-coloured buildings of the colleges that make up the university wrap around tranquil courtyards along narrow cobbled lanes, and inside their grounds, a studious calm reigns. Just as in Cambridge, the existence of 'town' beside 'gown' makes it more than simply a bookish place of learning.

Oxford is a wonderful place to ramble: the oldest colleges date back 750 years, and little has changed inside the hallowed walls since then. But along with the rich history, tradition and lively academic life, there is a world beyond the college walls. Oxford has a long industrial past and the working majority still outnumber the academic elite.

The university buildings are scattered throughout the city, with the most important and architecturally significant in the centre. Jericho, in the northwest, is the trendy, artsy end of town, with slick bars, restaurants and an art-house cinema, as well as the wonderfully tranquil Port Meadow. East Oxford is a gritty, ethnically diverse area packed with cheap places to eat and drink. Further out, in the salubrious northern suburb of Summertown, you'll find upmarket restaurants and bars.