Oxford is known throughout the world for its famous university, but it offers so much more to the visitor. The ancient and historic buildings catch your eye at every turn, and many are instantly familiar from films and TV shows, such as Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, and of course, Inspector Morse. The city has a history spanning thousands of years, but its first recorded settlements appear in Saxon times, when it became an important river crossing around 900 AD. Today, Oxford is a growing city of technology and diverse cultures that offers a splendid, vibrant atmosphere and truly is a city for all tastes. Evenings in the city can be as elegant as you wish with many exclusive restaurants found here. For a beautiful outing, relax alongside the riverfront and watch as the city comes to life at night.
Location: In the middle of the south of England
Oxford is found in the heart of southern England, just 80 kilometres west of the City of London. Surrounded by fields and wide open spaces, it is one of the greenest cities in the UK and the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Beauty is only a few kilometres from its city limits. International visitors arriving to the UK will normally arrive via Heathrow Airport, 75 kilometres, or Gatwick Airport, 137 kilometres, both to the east on the outskirts of London. Both airports have bus and rail connections to Oxford, or if driving, it is an easy route via the M25 and the M40 motorways.
Business: Home to over 1,500 high-tech companies
As well as the research and development partnerships with the universities and colleges, many technology companies have their headquarters in and around the city. The Science Park is home to more than 60 businesses in the fields of computing, bioscience, and research. It also offers meeting rooms for small to medium conferences that allow local businesses to meet without having to travel. Oxford also has a number of convention and exhibition venues that can cater for thousands of guests for virtually any size event with excellent rail and road links to the rest of the UK.
Culture: Museums, galleries, and exhibitions galore
It is easy to be inspired in Oxford. All that is required is a walk through the city's streets, and your eyes are drawn to magnificent architecture spanning from the 12th to the 20th centuries. Many famous buildings are home to galleries and museums, and most offer free entry. Take a slow walk around the Natural History Museum, and see the odd shaped Dodo bird alongside a marvellous collection of exhibits gathered over the last three hundred years. The Ashmolean Museum offers free guided tours on a Saturday that shows off their exhibits to their full potential, including one of the finest Egyptian exhibitions in the world.
Activities: Something to do every day of the year
Oxford has a wealth of opportunities for your leisure time. From watching their very own American Football team, relaxing on the river, or taking on a high ropes course, there is something for everyone. The Oxford City Guide is a publication you can find at many local hotels or online before you travel that displays the upcoming events and attractions over the coming month. One 'must-do' attraction is a trip to Oxford Castle. Built in 1071 by William the Conqueror, it was turned into a prison that was in use right up to 1996. Opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 2006, it now holds a museum, shops, galleries, and restaurants that can keep you entertained on a rainy day in the city. It is also claimed to be the most haunted place in England with its history of public executions that only stopped in 1863.