The quintessentially English city of Oxford has glorious green spaces surrounding honey-hued college buildings, with architecture steeped in history at every turn. The city's home to the prestigious Oxford university dating back to the 12th century, and there’s a labyrinth of museums and landmarks. Wide streets are made for strolling and you’ll find plenty of traditional pubs with real ale, hearty food and live music. From Cherwell Boathouse, try the students' favourite pastime of punting – flat boats that you push along with a pole – giving you a view of the city from Oxford’s fairytale waterways.
Hostels in Oxford focus on fun and meeting other travellers. Sleep in a modern dorm near the train station and hang out in the garden and café. There’s a backpacker-run hostel with a sociable bar, or you can pick an Oxford hostel with a rooftop terrace where you can gather for a barbecue. All have free Wi-Fi, as well as female-only dorms. Most Oxford hostels have cosy communal areas, and offer free passes to the local nightclubs – and a free breakfast.
Radcliffe Square captures the essence of Oxford University, and the area's dominated by the dome of the famous Radcliffe Camera. Here you have views of Bodleian Library (one of the oldest in Europe) and the university church. Jericho is a cool north-east neighbourhood with rows of colourful houses, an art-house cinema and cocktail bars. For a bohemian vibe, East Oxford and Cowley Road have live music, independent pubs, vintage shops and multicultural food stores.
Oxford is nicknamed the City of Dreaming Spires, and an open-top bus tour is a good way to see the sights. Hop on and off for the iconic Oxford Castle, the Bridge of Sighs and to browse antiques at the Ashmolean Museum. Harry Potter fans can spot the setting for Hogwarts at Christ Church college. Just off the High Street is the covered market, the city's oldest, where you'll find local crafts and food, or catch a comedy show at the innovative arts space, the Old Fire Station.
Travel by Airline Bus from London Heathrow Airport to Oxford in 80 minutes, or from London Gatwick Airport in around two hours. A direct train runs from Birmingham International Airport to Oxford in an hour. You can get around on foot, by taxi, or using the local bus – the main bus station is at Gloucester Green. Bicycles are popular, and you'll find bike hire and cycle paths around the city.