Standing on the shoulders of giants
Over the last millennium, many great figures have lived in Oxford and attended its university. The honours list includes 26 British prime ministers, at least 30 international heads of state, 50 Nobel Prize winners, and 120 Olympic medal winners. Just within the last few decades, the students included Stephen Hawking, Harper Lee, Bill Clinton, or Malala Yousafzai. One cannot help but be inspired.
Harry Potter and the World’s Most Beautiful University
It’s not just that Oxford is smart – it is also stunning. Views that have captured the imagination of millions have been filmed right here. Christ Church College and New College have served as Hogwarts, whereas the city centre was featured in many productions, from BBC series Inspector Morse to the Hollywood blockbusters X-Men and Transformers. The quaint streets of the old town have changed little since the middle ages, and the impression is heightened by the fact that students still wear the traditional cap and gown for many occasions – which makes it very easy to forget which century we live in.
The gorgeous riverside
There is a reason why punting – i.e. pushing a shallow boat down the river for summery leisure – is a favourite Oxford past-time. The city lies at the heart of the Thames Valley and is crossed by many rivers and canals, on the sides of which there are vast green areas like Port Meadow, University Parks, and Christ Church Meadow. Whether by punt or on foot, the Oxford rivers are definitely worth exploring – especially with a basket of strawberries on hand.
The Four-Minute Mile
In 1954, Roger Bannister, a 25-year-old British medical student, was the first man in history to run one mile in less than four minutes. His time was three minutes 59.4 seconds, achieved at the Iffley Road track in Oxford and watched by 3,000 spectators. It was once thought the four-minute mile was impossible to achieve.
Opportunities for the local tourist
Since Oxford is situated right in the centre of England, it is easy to plan a weekend getaway. London is only an hour’s journey by train. Other cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol are also accessible by bus and rail. Nearby is also the stately Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, as well as Shakespeare’s home Stratford-Upon-Avon.