Millions of people from around the world flock to Oxford each year, but many have never explored beyond the city’s storied colleges, awe-inspiring libraries and impressive architecture. While these attractions are certainly worth a visit, there is more to explore including these five destinations not covered by most guidebooks.
Albion Beatnik Bookstore
Tucked away in the trendy Jericho area, this store boasts an eclectic range of books housed in an equally eclectic setting. Settle in one of the cozy overstuffed armchairs with a cup of tea, delve into a new best-seller or time-proven classic, take in a poetry reading, enjoy an evening of live music or explore new ideas during one of the literary talks that make this shop a thriving destination for those interested in Oxford’s culture.
Cowley Road Murals
Oxford is teeming with beauty, and the murals lining Cowley Road are just as stunning as any bit of Gothic architecture you’ll find in the city. Spend an afternoon in the colorful neighborhood taking in the ethnic food shops, browsing the racks at second-hand stores and being inspired by the area’s dynamic spirit.
Get all the perks of the English countryside without leaving the city by visiting this retreat marked by grazing cows, fresh air and spectacular sunsets. Ploughs have never touched the meadow, making it an important archaeological site, and visitors can see residual earthworks from the Iron and Bronze Ages. Have a bite at one of the outstanding pubs lining the meadow before heading back to one of the boutique hotels in Oxford to enjoy some of the city’s finest cuisine.
The Botanic Garden at the University of Oxford
Many visitors to the university miss this secluded, peaceful destination brimming with flowers, exotic plants and native trees. The gardens inspired the writings of Lewis Carroll, and visitors will be similarly enthralled with their quiet beauty. It’s the oldest public garden in Britain, and over 5,000 plant species have thrived there since the first seeds were sown over four centuries ago.
A wilder version of the Botanic Garden, Harcourt Arboretum is home to some of the oldest redwood trees in Great Britain, and exploring the winding paths is a great way to spend an afternoon in any season. The 130 acres feature wildflowers and over 13,000 native trees and plants that have been thriving on the site since the arboretum was established in the 1830s.