Brief Guide to Oxford

Updated: Feb 3, 2020

Oxford is, without doubt, one of the UK’s most popular cities with an estimated six million tourists visiting in 2018. This increase in popularity is a near 10% increase on the figures for 2015. This growth makes Oxford one of England’s most visited cities. Oxford is also within a short journey of London, making it easy to visit both when travelling to the United Kingdom.

Oxford boasts one of the oldest universities in the world, as well as a growing international student body. It is no surprise the city of dreaming spires is so appealing. With an array of offerings from colleges to cuisine to culture, there is something for everyone here.


The colleges of Oxford University are self-governing academic communities that can trace their history to the 1200s, with the university established in 1096. There are over 30 undergraduate colleges. The most famous are among the grandest of the university. King Henry VIII founded Christ Church in 1546. The college is among the most striking of Oxford’s educational offerings. The chapel serves as Oxford’s cathedral in addition to functioning as a place of worship for the college. Don’t miss Christ Church college, with its expansive quadrangles (Tom Quad and Peckwater Quad); the college is worth seeing on any Oxford excursion.

Among the oldest establishments in Oxford, Merton College can trace its establishment to 1264, with the door to its dining hall older than the Aztecs. The college is most famous as the alumni of Sir Winston Churchill’s father, Randolph. The college is among the most academic, regularly achieving the highest proportion of 1st class degrees, as well as the oldest. The oldest university library in the world located within the college and Mob Quadrangle is among the most ancient enclosed spaces in the world. The college also boasts commanding views of Christ Church Meadow and beyond.

There are countless other colleges of course, and Worcester also offers verdant vistas. The college, just off the tourist trail near the train station, is a secluded spot compared to the central colleges. Just watch out for the Worcester wisteria.

Trinity too might take your fancy, if sweeping, sun-kissed lawns appeal to you. Truly, Oxford is a treasure trove.

All of Oxford’s colleges have their own offerings, with a range of colleges from the 13th to the 20th centuries. Each of these has its voice and student body and is worth seeing for the casual visitor.