It’s fun shopping in Oxford. After all, it does have a terrific range of shops from big high street names in two covered malls to countless speciality shops dotted about the city’s main streets. Don’t forget to wander down the many alleys and side roads – you’ll be surprised what you find. The covered market is great for browsing round, with some decidly posh butchers, bakers and greengrocers, not to mention all manner of bargains. On the first and third Thursday each month there’s a farmers’ market at Gloucester Green, where you can buy fresh produce that has come from within 30 miles of Oxford. In Broad Street you’ll find world-famous Blackwell’s bookshop, Oxford’s biggest. It’s been selling books since 1879 and has over 200.000 titles in stock.
If you want to discover more about this ancient university city, explore Oxford on foot or by open top bus, on your own or on one of the many guided walking tours. The Tourist Information Centre in St Aldates has details. Wander round the colleges - Magdalen (pronounced ‘Maudlin’) is perhaps the most beautiful, Christ Church the noblest, then there’s Corpus Christi, All Souls, Trinity, Balliol, Merton . . . just the names conjure up the thought of centuries of patient learning beyond quiet quadrangles. See the famous Radcliffe Camera, the Sheldonian Theatre designed by Christopher Wren, and climb to the top of the tower of St Mary the Virgin for a dizzy view over the city. Relax in a haven of peace and tranquillity in the Botanic Gardens near Magdalen Bridge - founded in 1621 and the oldest in Britain.
Rest a while in the Ashmolean Museum, where Greek and Roman antiquities, drawings by Raphael and Michaelangelo and paintings from the Renaissance to the pre-Raphaelites will keep your spirit soaring. There are plenty of places to keep the body refreshed too, with cafés, brasseries, teashops and restaurants to suit all tastes and pockets.