About Sarah F
Lives in Alicante, Spain
Since Oct 2008
I am a journalist and have been living in Spain for the past 10 years. I live in the Alicante region, which includes the Costa Blanca. As well as its gorgeous beaches, the region has many vibrant fiestas, great gastronomy including paella and the Denia red prawn, sports, mountains, waterfalls, natural parks, traditions and culture.
Bus Tours, Cultural Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours, Hop-On Hop-Off Tours
Architectural Buildings, Libraries
Points of Interest & Landmarks, History Museums, Historical & Heritage Tours, Historic Sites, Castles
Flea & Street Markets
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Architectural Buildings
Natural History Museums
The simplest way to explore Oxford is on the top deck of one of the tourist buses. These take you to all the major attractions, including the university colleges such as Christ Church and Magdalen, as well as to the city's museums, botanical gardens, and town hall. You can hop on and off the bus as often as you like, so you can visit any of the attractions that catch your interest during the tour; plus there’s a running commentary, so you'll learn plenty of interesting facts about the buildings you pass and about Oxford in general as you travel.
Oxford’s beautiful university buildings are architectural gems with their spires and historic courtyards. Each college has its own rich history and amazing architecture, and it's fabulous just to wander around these and imagine all the great minds which have been sharpened at Oxford. Although it’s impossible to visit every college, those definitely worth seeing are the 15th century All Souls College, with its Gothic towers and sundial built by Sir Christopher Wren; and Christ Church, with its seven-tonne tower bell and Great Hall, which featured in the Harry Potter films.
The Bear Inn lays claim to being Oxford’s oldest pub, and it’s definitely worth popping in if only to see the collection of college ties on the wall. It’s a charming little pub with a beer garden, a fine selection of real ales, and home-cooked foods made with fresh, local produce.
An interesting collection of art and archaeological discoveries from around the world – including those from the Ancient Greece and Rome civilisations – are housed within the formidable Ashmolean Museum building. You can see drawings by Michelangelo and Leonardo de Vinci, paintings by Picasso, Oliver Cromwell's death mask, biblical manuscripts, and the Messiah Stradivarius violin among other curiosities.
An incredible collection of literary wonders can be found in the beautiful Bodleian Library. You can see Shakespeare’s manuscripts, illustrated medieval books, and Kenneth Grahame's delightful Wind In The Willows among the 200,000-plus books, pictures, sculptures and other interesting items on display here. There's even a stuffed crocodile!
Head down a lovely little cobbled street to find the incredibly popular Turf Tavern. Many celebrities and politicians have sunk a pint or two in this fine inn, and you can really feel Oxford's important history in this part of the city.
It's definitely worth a little trip to see this incredible Norman castle. Much of the castle was destroyed during the English Civil War, and it then became Oxford's prison, before closing in 1996 and being reborn as part posh hotel, part gallery, bar and restaurant hub. Climb the tower, explore the crypt, and then head into the Malmaison Oxford Hotel – as part of the converted castle is now known – where you can see some of the former cells which have been transformed into hotel rooms!
Foodies and historians will enjoy sampling life inside Oxford’s historic covered market. This 18th century market has a rich history which you can still experience as you wander through the stalls there today. Here, you can buy fine foods such as cheese, fruit and veg, fish and meat, as well as browse clothing, jewellery, home furnishings and beauty products. The covered market is in the centre of Oxford, making it a convenient pit-stop, with entrances on the High Street, Market Street, and the Golden Cross in Corn Market.
Oxford is where the iconic Minis are built. Now owned by BMW, you can take a tour of the factory in Cowley to see how these beautiful cars are put together. It's incredible to see the robots, and makes for an amazing and unusual tour.
With numerous literary giants finding inspiration in Oxford across many centuries, a trip to the theatre to continue the literary theme is a great way to wind down the day. The Oxford Playhouse is a charming, old-fashioned theatre which puts on a variety of plays, comedy acts and pantomimes.
Iffley Lock on the River Thames in Oxford has an olde worlde charm, taking you back to a more peaceful era. The lock was built in the 17th century and is a beautiful sight, surrounded by trees in an area brimming with wildlife. While you're here, also take the time to visit the ancient Iffley Meadows, a beautiful nature haven full of fritillaries in spring-time, and a whole host of bird life.
This impressive Victorian building is where local government officials work, as well as housing the registrar office for civil weddings, a coffee bar and the Museum of Oxford (great for those wanting to learn more about the history of this important city). It’s an architectural masterpiece, even by Oxford’s high standards, and its grand main hall and staircase are certainly worth a peek at the very least.
The Oxford Dodo, dinosaurs and the swifts in the tower are just some of the many delights in the city's natural history museum. Housed in a beautiful historic building, the museum has fabulous fossils and other artefacts, bound to entertain all the family.
Relax in the oldest botanical gardens in the world, where you can explore two colourful walled gardens and visit the seven glasshouses which cultivate plants from around the world.
Just off the city centre is the delightful Jericho district where you will find The Old Bookbinders Ale House. It has the feel of a traditional British pub with the bonus of serving fabulous food.