I am finally getting caught up with documenting all the exciting things we have been doing in and around London. Although we head out of the UK most weekends (we’re a little Europe obsessed if you couldn’t tell) believe it or not, we do actually spend most of our time here in London! My husband and I are approaching our 2 month mark of living here, and I now finally feel like I am starting to know London like a true local. After getting a lot of the “touristy” stuff out of the way, we have recently been branching out to see the different areas and suburbs located around London. One of these suburbs that we went to visit was Oxford.. home to the world-respected University of Oxford. Not only is Oxford a fine institution, but it is also a college town full of plenty of history, culture, and beauty to discover.
Departing out of Paddington Station, we made the approximate hour-long train ride out of London and up to Oxford. Within a five-minute walk, we found ourselves located in the heart of the downtown, filled with countless little streets to wander down and explore. We then decided to begin our tour of Oxford at Christ Church up the road. Although we weren’t really crazy about paying 7 pounds per person to get in, Christ Church Cathedral is a place rich in history, and a definite must-see when visiting the town of Oxford. Inside we strolled along the beautiful green Quad, and then stepped into the ornate cathedral to listen to the church choir sing. Here you can also tour the actual “Great Hall” that was used in the Harry Potter films, as well as a few other locations around the university. It is also fascinating to note that the Great Hall in Christ Church is used everyday for students to gather together for breakfast before starting their studies.. just like in Harry Potter 🙂
Christ Church was a great way to start our day of sight seeing, but it is just a small portion of the many things you can do and see while on the main campus. The grounds and meadows surrounding the school are so green and beautiful to observe. We also thought that half the fun about Oxford was just wandering through the different colleges within the university. You can see every academic subject represented, and learn about the famous historic figures who once studied or lectured there. One of the highlights of the day was visiting the Museum of the History of Science (free admission) where in the basement you can see the actual blackboard where Albert Einstein himself wrote the equation for measuring the density, radius, and age of the universe, during a lecture he gave in 1931.
After stopping for some crepes for a quick lunch, we headed next to tour the prestigious Balliol College. For just one pound, you can explore just about every inch inside one of Oxford’s largest and oldest colleges within the university. There are countless colleges that make up Oxford, but we were really excited when we stumbled upon Balliol College because of its rich history and gorgeous buildings. It was amazing to see the cathedral and garden grounds and think that students actually reside all year inside the college walls. Learning about student life was very intriguing as we found out that Balliol College students are given access to their very own personal tutor.. could you imagine? Balliol College was a great place to see higher education at its best, and we were immensely impressed with what we saw.
Our afternoon spent in Oxford was such a pleasant one, and we truly left feeling more enlightened and cultured about England’s way of doing education. We felt that spending just a day at Oxford was the perfect amount of time to really see the main attractions around the campus. I completely recommend to go to Oxford and see all the history that it has to offer. If you do go you MUST….
The Savvy Suitcase Top 3 Picks:
1. Christ Church. Little pricey, but you have to see the great hall.
2. The Oxford Colleges. Balliol College was our favorite.
3. Einstein Blackboard. Incredible to see in person.
*Belgium is next on the agenda!