If you guys are subscribed to my YouTube channel (*cough* go subscribe) you would know that I recently spent a weekend in Oxford with Caitlyn (from College with Caitlyn)! Both of us vlogged the whole experience, which was a ton of fun. You can watch both of the videos below, and keep reading for a detailed guide on what we did that weekend!!
Trains are definitely my go-to for travel here, and my weekend in Oxford was no exception! The train down was about £40, which isn’t cheap by any means, but it meant getting to and from Oxford at a reasonable hour. I’m all about saving money, of course, but I’m not one to skimp on travel when it comes to safety.
The train itself was about two hours long, and I had to change at Birmingham on my trip home, but I didn’t mind all too much.
Caitlyn and I stayed at the Central Backpackers Hostel in Oxford, which was located really close to the bus and train stations. Oxford itself is a fairly compact town, so we were able to walk everywhere from the hostel, which was convenient.
This was my first ever hostel experience, and my expectations were exceeded tremendously. The hostel was clean, there were tons of bathrooms & showers, and the staff was so friendly! There was also a really cute terrace right by our room, and at night a bunch of people came to barbecue and play the guitar. The vibe was definitely cozy, and it was something I really appreciated.
If you’re staying for a weekend in Oxford, I highly recommend Central Backpackers if you’re looking for a place to unwind after sightseeing!
Queen’s Lane Coffee House
Caitlyn met me at the train station, and we then proceeded to walk to the Queen’s Lane Coffee House, which is supposed to be the oldest coffee shop in Europe! I’m not really sure how true that tale is, but it was a great place to have breakfast and plan out our day.
I had a bagel and was so surprised at how delicious it was. Coming from New Jersey (home of great bagels and pizza), I hadn’t had a good bagel while in England, so you can imagine how happy I was after a good bagel. After breakfast, we set out to explore for the day.
University Church of St. Mary the Virgin & the Bridge of Sighs
Before visiting the church, we made a stop at the Oxford Covered Market, and I was honestly underwhelmed. I have a soft spot in my heart for markets of every sort, but there weren’t many interesting stalls so we skipped out of there pretty quickly. If you love markets then this might be a must-see, but I didn’t find it to be too necessary.
After the market, we went to the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin, which is a beautiful cathedral on High Street in front of the Radcliffe Camera. You can pay to go to the top of the tower and get a birds’ eye view of Oxford, but at the time I was content just looking at the stained glass. If you have the opportunity, definitely climb to the top – I later found out that it’s the highest point in Oxford!
We then set out to find the famous Bridge of Sighs, and we stumbled upon it just as we exited the courtyard from the Bodleian Libraries! It was tough getting photos without other tourists in the shot, but I’m glad we were able to find it.
Our next stop of the day was the New College cloisters, to see the filming location where Malfoy was turned into a ferret in the 4th movie. It was £4 to enter, which I think is a little over-priced for what’s included, but it was still cool to see the filming location. Not gonna lie – we were pretty starstruck!
After our foray into the New College, we decided to check into the hostel and just chill for the rest of the day (After getting Mexican food and finding dessert at Sainsbury’s lol). Even though it was St. Patrick’s Day and the party people were flooding into the streets, we decided to skip a night out and hung out in our hostel instead.
Bodleian Libraries – Divinity School & Reading Room
On Day Two of our weekend in Oxford, our first stop was the Bodleian Libraries. We opted for the “mini tour” package, which included access into the Divinity School and one of the Reading Rooms, and I think that was just enough.
Pro tip: you have to pay for entry into almost all of the colleges, so definitely pick what you want to see beforehand!
Beyond being used as (another) Harry Potter filming location, the Libraries have a rich history. I thought it was crazy that the books could still be used to this day, and that so much of the Libraries were destroyed because of the Reformation. I kind of wish I spent more time reading up on the history of Oxford before my trip, but the tour guide did a great job of filling us in on all of the details.
Christ Church College
Next stop on our last day was the Christ Church College. I highly recommend booking tickets in advance – Caitlyn and I waited for an hour to gain entry, which spelled trouble for us on the coldest day of March! Still, I think this section of the trip was definitely the highlight, as there was so much to see.
The first stop was a huge marble staircase, which you might recognize from the Harry Potter movies. I had to take a photo standing where Professor McGonagall stood – there was no question about it!
Next up was the Great Hall, which inspired the Great Hall in the movies! It boasted paintings of tons of royal dignitaries, and was really cool to look at.
Finally, we visited the Cathedral, which had some of the most beautiful stained glass work I have ever seen. The Cathedral was massive, and I’m happy I was able to add it to the list of cathedrals I’ve visited here in England.
Once we finished up at Christ Church, we went for a walk on the outskirts of Oxford and stumbled upon Cowley Road, a place with tons of cute coffee shops and vintage stores. We didn’t spend much time here ourselves, but if you’re looking to escape the tourism of city centre, I definitely recommend grabbing a coffee out here! The vibes were super cute, and reminded me that Oxford does have students that attend there.
Whew, that was a long post, but that puts a cap on my weekend in Oxford! I loved visiting here, and it really is a must-see if you are taking a trip through England.