Oxford is the cycling capital of England. The city centre is criss-crossed with cycling paths, where beautiful buildings and green spaces await you round every corner – so do as the locals do, and get on your bike!

You’ll be in good company when you visit Oxford, home to some of the most famous scholars and authors in the world, both past and present. Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, Phillip Pullman and Colin Dexter, creator of the Oxford detective Inspector Morse, have all resided amongst the ‘dreaming spires’ of this beautiful city.

Oxford University

Find out what inspired them by walking around a compact city centre that is filled with treats and discoveries, from the elegant Venetian ‘Bridge of Sighs’ to the world famous Blackwell’s bookshop. Covering architecture from every era of British history, the city is dominated by the 38 colleges of Oxford University, the first university to exist in the English speaking world. The colleges, old and new, can be found all around the city and many of the lavish university buildings and gardens can be visited by non-scholars.

Oxford is filled with attractions to keep every visitor busy, most of them family friendly and free. Bookworms should definitely visit the ancient Bodleian library, the second biggest in the UK after the British library, and home to a huge collection of rare books and manuscripts. Just next to the Bodleian is the Radcliffe Camera, topped with a palatial dome that makes it one of the most impressive and beautiful buildings in England.

Oxford is home to some great museums, including the Ashmolean museum and art gallery and the completely unique Pitt Rivers museum, home of the universities’ anthropology and archaeology collections, an entertaining hodge podge of curios, shrunken heads, totem poles and dinosaur bones, perfect for little explorers.

Alongside Oxford’s great culture is its food and shopping. The city is a gourmet hot spot, from nouveau cuisine at Michelin star restaurants to homemade cakes in cosy tea shops. Shoppers also have loads to explore, from department stores to independent shops selling great gifts and handmade goodies.

Oxford is one of the greenest cities in the UK, filled with parks and nature reserves. ‘Punting’ (boating) is a popular summer activity, where you will be able to follow the rivers past the universities’ Botanic Gardens and take in magnificent views of the spire-filled city skyline.

Oxford is visited as part of the As You Like It and Castles, Palaces & Spires cycling tours.