What to do in Oxford when you only have a couple of hours?
🗺️ You have to see the view!
You already know that I have a soft spot for views. Be it city views, hilly views, views into little crooked alleyways with cobbled stones, or just views from the top of a forest path. To get a good look at the Oxford cityscape the obvious would be to jog up their little view tower. I say no. Instead of spending your money on the entrance fee and then bashing elbows with the next person trying to get a nice picture from the top, I recommend you pop to the Varsity Club. Located just off the High Street (at the entrance of the Covered Market), the Varsity is a 4-floor cocktail bar with a stunning rooftop view of the city. Grab a winter warmer (the sloe gin punch is just!) and snuggle up on a cosy sheep skin with a blanket over your frozen feet.
To get the real local feel you gotta go to Jericho. The historic suburb of Oxford where aspiring Bohemian novelists sit in cosy cafes typing away their life stories, where locals wear long coats and top hats and lit fireplaces in their fancy townhouses and where the community spirit is at the forefront of an every-day life. There’s even a pub where Radiohead played their first gig! Jericho is a local synonym to Bohemian, quirky and homey.
🗺️ The Covered Market
Oxford’s Covered Market is nothing like the market – say in Birmingham. It’s located just off the High Street, in a historic building dating back to 1770s and the whole place certainly carries the heritage and spirit. From proper butchers chopping up beef legs and pheasant heads off right in front of you and a dainty stall with fresh daffodil bulb to a neat little shop selling fancy leather brogues and Marvis toothpaste. And the pies, the pies!
🗺️ The university walk
When in Oxford you most definitely cannot miss the Bodleian Library, the Bridge of Sighs and all the bicycle clad roads threading the city centre like an intricate embroidery. Peek through a gate here and there to see the greenest grass you’ve ever laid your eyes on, admire all the creepy looking gargoyles portraits of Ancient historians and writers. And if none of this charms your pants off then the uniformity of building material (local sandstone) will most certainly draw your eyes to the majestic walls around you.
🗺️ Cowley Road
If you decide to venture a little further from the centre then Cowley Road in East Oxford is the perfect spot to explore. This part of the city is well known for it’s diverse population – it’s a mix of various ethnic minorities (Afro-Carribean, South-Asian, East European and more) together with a large chunk of Oxford’s academic population and political activists. The road itself represents this mix more than accurately – pop into a Mexican Casa or Greek Taverna for lunch, grab a snack at Polish Zubr sklep or the newest quirky Vegan place. There’s plenty of gigs playing at the O2 Academy situated right in the centre plus in summer you get to see the Cowley Street Carnival!