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Cambridge vs. Oxford

Southgate, Michigan
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Cambridge vs. Oxford

I'm traveling with my mom to England this summer and we've agreed to go to either Cambridge or Oxford. I want Cambridge, she wants Oxford.

Any thoughts?

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Cambridge vs. Oxford

I'm biased, as are most on this subject, so bear that in mind ;-) (I grew up in Cambridge, although my wife is from Oxford so I'll make an attempt to be even-handed)

There's not much in it when it comes to accessibility - both are very easily reached from London by train and are about 60 miles from the capital

Cambridge is a smaller city and more obviously a university town - there's industry there, but it's low key and mostly science based, there because of the Uni. Oxford is a larger place and has more non-university biased industry (like car manufacturing)

Oxford possibly has the edge in terms of grand architecture, however Cambridge's colleges are perhaps in a prettier setting - most of them in the centre lie along a loop of the river, in Oxford they're more "in the town"

Both cities have a plethora of other old buildings, lovely old pubs and the like

If it's academic slant you're interested in, Oxford is more about the Arts and men of letters, Cambridge is the more science biased place (hence Newton, Rutherford, Watson & Crick, Hawking etc; I'm sure Oxford has the equivalents but, like I said, I'm baised so they're the ones I know ;-) )

Ultimately it might come down to something as prosaic as where in London you're staying; if Paddington is an easier London station to get to, go to Oxford, if King's Cross is closer, go to Cambridge

Northants, UK
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2. Re: Cambridge vs. Oxford

For the tourist - Cambridge.

- Town centre more walker friendly

- Shopping more touristic

- River walks

- Colleges more obviously accessible

- Prettier (IMO)

- Sense of history more evident

East Midlands
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for Northamptonshire
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3. Re: Cambridge vs. Oxford

I'd agree with Jane - For the tourist (both UK and non-UK), Cambridge is a nicer experience.

East Midlands
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4. Re: Cambridge vs. Oxford

(... bit there's not that much to choose between them, to be fair ... )

London
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5. Re: Cambridge vs. Oxford

Another vote for Cambridge from me.

Oxford is a much larger city, and while it does have it Universities, 'dreaming spires' and many historic buildings, for much of it you could be in any English provincial town.

Cambridge is a much more relaxed place, and there's few places in England that have the charm of The Backs.

Maybe this will convince your mother;

colc.co.uk/cambridge/cambridge/tourist.htm

warrensburg,MO
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6. Re: Cambridge vs. Oxford

The only significant part of Oxford that could be 'any other provincial town' would be walking along Cornmarket or shopping in the Westgte or Clarendon Centre malls. Same with The Grafton Centre in Cambridge.

Surounding the shopping areas of Oxford and Cambridge are a wealth of beautiful buildings, colleges and museums. The best of which are in Oxford.

Aubrey, Texas
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7. Re: Cambridge vs. Oxford

Another vote for Cambridge. Smaller, prettier, and the superb King's College Chapel.

Coventry, United...
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8. Re: Cambridge vs. Oxford

I've been to both (for touristy reasons) with the same friend and we both much prefer Oxford over Cambridge.

Both have the colleges, both have a river, but for some reason we didn't think Cambridge was very tourist friendly.

Oxford has plenty to keep you occupied - as well as the college there is Carfax tower, Oxford castle, the botanical gardens and various museums. Unfortunately the Oxford Story has closed as that was pretty good too.

Dublin, Ireland
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9. Re: Cambridge vs. Oxford

For me it would definitely be Oxford. I lived there for eight years and am still a regular visitor. Although I now live in Dublin, when it came to getting married last summer we chose to do it among the dreaming spires. It is very walker friendly - one of my favourite strolls is from the Magdalen Bridge, past the Botanic Gardens and along the river to the Folly Bridge and the Christchurch Meadow. Along the way you can watch hapless punters and lightening fast boat crews negotiate the river and take your rest with an ice cold beer on the outdoor benches at the Head of the River pub. There's lots of suggestions on the Oxford forum for things to see and do, along some ideas for lovely walks.

East Midlands
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10. Re: Cambridge vs. Oxford

There you go then.

Half of us prefer Oxford and half of us prefer Cambridge.

Glad we could help clear that up for you. ;-)

(whichever one you choose, you'll be fine ... and you'll have the other one to use as an excuse to come back).