Oxford is more than just the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ and the oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is also a vibrant student-centric city, home to some of the best art, the best food, the best parks and the best people in the world. And, we would know. We’ve been spending our summers there for more than 30 years. Some of our favorite spots:
Running through the center of downtown Oxford, this pedestrian-only street is the place to find the thing you’re looking for in Oxford. Whether you want to grab souvenirs, a quick lunch, or stop into Jack Wills for an English inspired outfit, Cornmarket is where you’ll head.
You’re living in England now, so there’s no excuse not to have a spot of tea in the afternoon. Head out for a full service tea at one of the local tea houses or join Summerfuel’s “Voyages in Afternoon Tea” to learn the history of tea drinking.
Many of the Harry Potter sets are based on the historic college architecture in Oxford, especially Christ Church College. If you’re a Potter fan you’ll feel like you’re wandering Hogwarts at almost every turn.
Along with other British “favorites” – Fish and chips, mushy peas, meat pies and bangers & mash – don’t forget to sample Oxford’s finest sweets. Join us on a sweets tour or head out on your own. Beware, lines for Ben’s Cookies and Moo-Moo’s in the Covered Market routinely snake around the aisles at lunch and can take a while to get through. Insiders tip – buy cookies at Ben’s and take them to Moo-Moo’s where they’ll mix them into your milkshake. Nom nom nom.
The Covered Market
Ah, the Covered Market where you really will find a little bit of everything. Wander through the stalls to grab a snack (ahem, cookies), fresh flowers, fancy tea or a pair of Hunter Wellington boots. The boots just may come in handy during the occasional English downpour!
On a warm, sunny summer day, there really is nothing lovelier than heading our for an afternoon of punting on the Thames (which runs through Oxford). It can be a bit tricky to get the hang of, but we promise it’s fun and an ‘only in Oxford’ experience. Plus, there’s nothing funnier than a friend tumbling in the water after a stuck pole pulls you in. At Lady Margaret Hall, we have our own boat house, so punting is a regular adventure.
The Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) Gardens
Perhaps one of the best kept secrets is how magnificent the LMH gardens are in the summer (12 acres!). The gardens serve as reading nook, croquet lawn, cricket pitch, soccer field, outdoor movie venue and less-than-conventional classroom. LMH also has basketball and tennis courts nearby, so it’s easy to stay active!