5 Things Oxford is Famous For

Along with Cambridge, Oxford is one of the cities in the UK most famous for its university. In fact, the University of Cambridge was established by scholars from Oxford. While the city might be known for its university, it’s not the only reason to take a trip to Oxfordshire. Visitors can find a huge range of things to see and do, and it’s only around an hour away from London by train (a little longer by road). Whether you’re a scholar, a shopper, or a culture vulture, Oxford offers you plenty of ways to spend your time.

When you’re thinking about where your next trip should be, check out these top reasons Oxford is famous and why you should pay the city a visit.

University buildings in a city, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
University buildings in a city, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

1. The University of Oxford

The University of Oxford might not be the only interesting thing in the city, but it’s certainly hard to ignore it. It’s spread out across the city, offering many things to see and do. The university was possibly founded as early as 1096, which would make it the oldest in the English-speaking world. It has 39 semi-autonomous colleges, and also includes the world’s largest university press and the oldest university museum in the world too.

The university’s many buildings and attractions mean that it offers plenty for visitors to see and do. There’s Bodleian Library, the main research library and one of the oldest in Europe, not to mention a beautiful place. The Botanic Garden, which has existed since 1621, is well worth a visit too.

The extremely talented Oxford Vaccine Group of bio-chemists from Oxford University has helped with the fight against COVID-19 and global Corona Virus Pandemic. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine the team created has now been approved for use in the UK (30th December 2020).

Prof Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, told the BBC that the vaccine approval was an “astonishing achievement” in science and clinical research.


The Bodleian Library , University of Oxford,England,UK
Overview from a church’s tower with the Bodleian Libraryand All Souls College – Oxford England

2. Language, Literature and Publishing

The University of Oxford and the city of Oxford, in general, has a strong connection with language, literature and the publishing world. The Oxford University Press is the largest of its kind and was founded in 1586. The museum on Great Clarendon Street can be visited by those who book in advance, with tours from members of the archive staff. Of course, of the important publications that they release, the Oxford English Dictionary is probably the most famous.

Some notable alumni from the university in the field of literature include Oscar Wilde, Vera Brittain, J.R.R. Tolkien, Graham Greene, A.S. Byatt, T.S. Eliot, and Dorothy L. Sayers. Lewis Carroll taught at Christ Church and was friends with the Dean, whose daughter Alice was the inspiration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.


Oxford Uni Hall
Oxford University Hall was used for the Harry Potter harry potter great hall scenes

3. Movie Locations

Oxford is a popular filming location for movies and television. It’s a beautiful city, so it’s no wonder that so many in the film and TV industry want to film there. The Harry Potter movies are just one example of where you will be able to spot parts of Oxford. Other films with scenes filmed in Oxford include Saving Private Ryan, Brideshead Revisited, A Fish Called Wanda, and X-Men: First Class. The university buildings are often used, but other locations around the city also make it onto the big or small screen too.


Oxford Covered Market

4. Covered Market

Most people want to seek out some kind of shopping when they visit somewhere. In Oxford, one of the best places to shop is another amazing piece of history. The Covered Market has been open to the public since 1774 and offers a mix of permanent stalls and shops selling all kinds of things. It’s a great place for shopping, but it can also just be somewhere to walk around and browse. You can find everything from food and drink to clothes, flowers, jewellery, clothes, and much more.

The market is open seven days a week, with fewer hours on Sundays, although each shop has its own opening hours. Even when all the shops and stalls may not be available, walking through the market is still fun.


Oxford Castle and Prison in Oxford
Oxford Castle and Prison in Oxford, United Kingdom

5. Oxford Castle

Everyone loves a good castle. It’s a brilliant way to learn about the history of a place, and often a good way to get some good views too. Oxford’s castle delivers on both of these fronts and also has a prison that you can explore and learn about. There’s a range of things to do at the castle, including tours and experiences. There’s even an escape room for some family fun or something interesting to do as a group. And when you’re starting to wind down, the gift shop and cafe make sure you go home happy.

From its history to its shopping opportunities, Oxford has a little bit of everything. Discover the city and all it has to offer when you visit.


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