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Things to do in Oxford

A Oxford is a small city the best way to explore is on foot with one of out registered blue Badge Guides who can be contacted on 01865 726871 via the Tourist information centre.

Christ Church
© Oxford City Council

The Guild of Guides offer a variety of special interest tours which include:

* Oxford's Literary Links, including Lewis Carroll, CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien
* Alice in Oxford
* Oxford's Waterways
* William Morris and Pre-Raphaelites
* The Romance of Oxford
* Inspector Morse
* TV/Film Locations in Oxford
* Ghost Tour
* Gardens
* Stained Glass
* Women in Oxford
* American Roots in Oxford
* The Civil War in Oxford

Sheldonian Theatre
Copyright © Oxford City Council

Quirky Did you Know Facts

Christ Church in Oxford was where Alice Liddel grew up and where the Alice in Wonderland Books were written by Lewis Caroll.

Bill Clinton went to University in Oxford and now his Daughter Chelsea is studying here.

Christ Church and The Boldeian Library were both used in the filming on the Harry Potter film Trilogy

Radiohead and SuperGrass are both Originally from Oxford

Oxford was the country's capital city during the Civil was when Charles 1st held his court here

Hitler was intending to use Oxford as his capital if he conquered England, which is why the city was not bombed and why all the buildings are so well preserved.

What's Traditional

Oxford is a busy place year round and here are the upcoming events, held annually in Oxford.

Oxford Skyline
© Oxford City Council

30th March Oxford v Cambridge University Boat Race - held since 1829 from Putney to Mortlake, River Thames.

27th Mar - 31st March Oxford Literary Festival

1st May May Morning - Magdalen College choir sings from Magdalen Tower at 6.00am.

11th -12th May Balloon & Kite Festival

11th May- 2nd June Arts Week - Various venues in Oxford

22nd -25th May Eights Week - A series of inter-collegiate rowing races.

1st - 3rd June Oxfordshire Jubilee Festival 2002

3rd June Lord Mayor's Parade - St Giles to South Park

19th June Encaenia - Honorary degree ceremony held at the Sheldonian Theatre at 11.30am.

23rd June Oxford Canal Festival

30th June East Oxford Carnival

3rd - 7th July Henley Royal Regatta, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

14th - 20th July Swan Upping - Tagging of swans along the River Thames.

23rd August Fireworks and Lights Extravaganza, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock.

9th - 10th Sept St Giles' Fair - Oxford's street fair

5th - 8th Sept Blenheim International Horse trails, Blenheim Palace.

26th Oct Oxford Round Table Fireworks Display - South Park

10th Dec Varsity Rugby at Twickenham

Magdalen Bridge
© Oxford City Council

Places to Eat and Drink

You will never be short of places to eat and drink in Oxford, with a vast choice of restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars.

Oxford boasts traditional tucked away, 16th century English pubs, serving pub lunches and snacks, such as The Eagle and Child in St Giles which was frequented by C S Lewis and J R R Tolkein, leading figures in Oxford's famous literary group known as the Inklings. Colin Dexter's infamous character, Inspector Endeavour Morse could often be found in Oxford's older pubs such as The Turf Tavern which were often used in the filming of the world-famous TV series.

One place you wouldn't expect to find a café and late night bar is in a neo-classical listed building which was formerly a church. Freuds serves excellent food at affordable prices, wines, beers and cocktails all mixed with live music in the evenings.

For a more contemporary or unique atmosphere, Oxford is home to the Quod Bar and Grill in the High Street, and also Gee's Restaurant, housed in a Victorian conservatory, can be found on Banbury Road, 10 minutes from the centre.

Fishers in St Clements, until recently was Oxford's only dedicated fish and seafood restaurant, where all the fish is delivered daily from Billingsgate market. However, a new addition to Oxford's extensive of restaurants is the new Loch Fyne Fish Restaurant in Walton Street, which serves seafood delicacies supplied from Scotland.

Bodleian Library
© Oxford City Council

If it is international cuisine that you are looking for, Oxford has something for everyone, from numerous Asian restaurants serving Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Thai, and Indian to European restaurants serving French, Italian, Spanish and Greek. Well worth a visit is Aziz Indian Cuisine, on Cowley Road, which has just been named as one of the country's top 30 Indian restaurants for the fourth consecutive year, or how about Chaing Mai Kitchen where authentic Thai food is served in the setting of a timber framed 17th century building. Also PizzaExpress in the Golden Cross offers a relaxed candlelit atmosphere in the former Cross Inn dating back to 1540 though records show there may have been an Inn on the site as early as 1193.

For an evening you will be sure never to forget, why not eat by the river at Cherwell Boathouse or even on the river taking in the views of Oxford's Dreaming Spires on Rosamund the Fair, Oxford's Cruising Restaurant.

Oxford's ringroad hotels - A rough Guide

The Travel Inn Tel: 01865 779230 120 £49.95
Travelodge Tel: 01865 318600 150 £59.95
Holiday Inn Tel: 0870 400 9086 154 £149
Oxford Spires Four Pillars Tel: 01865 324324 141 £130 week day £89 weekend special in August
Oxford Thames Four Pillars Tel:01865 334444 60 £139 room only

* Information is courtesy of the Oxford City Council



Bonfire Night
5 November

On 5th November 1605, soldiers discovered a man called Guy Fawkes in a cellar under the Houses of Parliament. With him were at least twenty barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was arrested and tortured. At last he gave way and told his torturers about a plot to blow up Parliament together with the king, James I, his ministers and Members of Parliament.

In 1606 Parliament agreed to make 5th November a day of public thanksgiving and ever since then the day has been celebrated with fireworks and bonfires.

The Clock Tower
Photo: PKG

Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show is the world's most popular and renowned flower show. The best in gardening and horticulture is brought together in one place for one week in May.

Piccadilly Circus
Photo: PKG

Edinburgh International Festival

Each year the Edinburgh International Festival stages one of the greatest celebrations of the arts, attracting audiences from around the world to the city's thrilling atmosphere. The festivities offer a unique opportunity to experience the excitement of live performance by internationally renowned artists as well as the joy of discovering new and unfamiliar works.

St. James Park
Photo: PKG

Henley Royal Regatta

Henley Regatta was first held in 1839. Originally staged by the Mayor and people of Henley as a public attraction with a fair and other amusements, the emphasis rapidly changed so that competitive amateur rowing became its main purpose.

Horse Guards Parade
Photo: PKG

London Film Festival

With a host of gala screenings, special events, The Guardian Interviews, and UK, European and World Premieres, the British Film Institute's London Film Festival is the leading non-competitive event in the international cinema calendar.

Kenwood House
Photo: PKG

London International Boat Show

The London Boat Show is a glittering affair, with all the best in boating on display. London's Earls Court houses the international boat show with all the latest in boats, equipment, watersports and holidays.

Trafalgar Square
Photo: PKG

London Marathon

Aside from being a natural arena for competitiveness and human achievement, the London Marathon is a huge asset to thousands of charities who enter athletes in the hope of raising money, usually on a sponsorship basis.

Waddesdon Manor
Photo: PKG

Notting Hill Carnival

Every August Bank Holiday the Notting Hill Carnival brings London alive. The festival began as West Indian immigrants moved into the area during the fifties and is now one of the best carnivals in the UK attracting over a million people each year. The first carnival was in 1964, and grew up from the struggle between the black West Indian community and the police. Today the carnival celebrates the diverse cultures which make up Britain's identity.

Westminster Bridge
Photo: PKG

Royal Welsh Show

This is the flagship show for WCC members. Held in the South Glamorgan Hall, which is situated close to some of the main entrances to the showground, it is also near to the livestock and show rings which attract many thousands of visitors.

Photo: PKG

Southampton International Boat Show

The biggest and best of the season's boats is on display, as well as the latest in sailing wear, equipment and great holiday offers.

Green Park
Photo: PKG

State Opening of Parliament

The Queen formally opens the new session of Parliament each year. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh she travels in the State Coach to the Palace of Westminster. Before the royal procession sets out, a detachment of the Yeomen of the Guard (dating from 1485, they are the oldest of the royal bodyguards) search the cellars of the Houses of Parliament. This tradition dates back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Guy Fawkes was arrested whilst preparing to blow up Parliament. Today the Yeomen are reinforced by police in their search.

The Clock Tower
Photo: PKG
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