Sights

Oxford’s city centre still consists, as it has for many centuries, of a remarkably homogenous ensemble of honey-coloured historic buildings. While it’s the city itself that’s the real spectacle, several of the colleges and shared facilities of Oxford University rank as must-see sights, above all the hallowed Bodleian Library and adjoining golden-hued Radcliffe Camera, and Christ Church with its imposing hall, its cathedral, and its riverside meadows.

Sleeping

Stay in Oxford’s city centre and you’re perfectly poised for everything the city has to offer. Expect to pay premium rates for the privilege, though, as most of its hotels are upscale affairs, housed in converted historic buildings, and so too are the few little B&Bs tucked away on the backstreets. There are no central hostels, for example – for those, you need to head west to the station area.

Best Lists

Sleeping

Eating

It takes a lot of sustenance to get all those students, university staff and visitors through their long and tiring days, so central Oxford is full of appealing independent cafes and restaurants that serve good breakfasts and lunches. There aren’t quite so many fine-dining options, though, where you can relax over a romantic dinner, and only with a personal invitation can you eat in the hallowed college dining rooms. The top floor of the huge Westgate Shopping Centre holds several large chain restaurants, whose tables spread out onto the spacious city-view terrace in summer.

Best Lists

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

With atmospheric pubs squeezing into every nook and cranny, central Oxford is the perfect venue for a pub crawl. The main concentrations are along and just off the east–west George St/Broad St axis, and south along St Aldate’s. There don’t tend to be as many undergraduates around as you might imagine – presumably because they prefer to drink in their private college bars, often located in medieval halls and offering subsidised prices.

Best Lists

Drinking & Nightlife

Shopping

Oxford’s best shopping is concentrated in the city centre, with independent outlets along all the main thoroughfares and many of the major national chains represented in the huge, multi-level Westgate Shopping Centre. Shops selling locally themed gifts and souvenirs line Broad St and High St in particular.

Best Lists

Shopping