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    City of Dreaming Spires

    Featuring a magnificent academic heritage, Oxford is a beautiful city where Gothic spires intermingle with medieval colleges. The home to England’s oldest university, most of the 38 unique colleges are sadly only viewable from the outside. Two that you can visit are Magdalen College, considered one of the most beautiful, and Christchurch College whose quadrangle was used in the 1st Harry Potter film. Its cathedral choir also sings evensong.

    Other notable colleges are Balliol and Merton, the 2 oldest, while Hertford College has the Bridge of Sighs. Next door is the cavernous Bodleian Library, overlooking the round Radcliffe Camera, the city’s best-known landmark.

    The university also has a botanical garden and the best Oxford museums, including the Ashmolean Museum and Natural History Museum, where swifts nest in summer.

    Unsurprisingly for a student town, it has lots of bars and restaurants. Oxford shopping is also good and includes England’s oldest covered market, brightly colored High Street shops, and the Clarendon and Westgate shopping centers.

    Whether you arrive by road or fly into London Oxford Airport, don’t leave without trying Oxford punting. In contrast to rival Cambridge, you punt here by standing in the front (rather than on the back). Easily accessed from the Oxford accommodations on, the routes take in the River Cherwell and the Isis (the name for this part of the Thames).

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