- Calm open spaces
- Country life
- Beautiful minds, quality living
Tradition and new ideas combine in Oxfordshire to create the best of all worlds.
You can go punting past the Botanic Garden and fishing at Blenheim Palace, then enjoy mouthwatering modern cuisine at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and see great 21st-century art at Modern Art Oxford. Oxfordshire is far enough away from London to have real countryside calm, but it also has the confidence and character that comes from having a world-renowned centre of learning at its heart.
Port Meadow, in north Oxford, is 440 acres of common land where you’ll see cows grazing and migratory birds flocking. Meandering around the meadow, stopping for a drink and maybe some roasted chestnuts at the Perch or the Trout Inn, is a perfect Oxfordshire pastime.
- Even outside Oxford train station, it can be hard to find a cab. Ask your hotel for details of a good local company and book ahead.
- Tipping culture
- About 12.5 per cent is appreciated in restaurants.
- Packing tips
- Go on, take a deerstalker and a pair of boots so you can look the part when you try clay-pigeon shooting. Or bring some white-board pens for jotting down those inspired mathematical theories on a convenient window pane…For those of you who are not complete fantasists, an umbrella and some good walking shoes will be enough.
- Recommended reads
- Evelyn Waugh’s darkly funny Decline and Fall draws on his rollicking student days at Oxford. Other Oxford University alumni include Percy Bysshe Shelley, Oscar Wilde, WH Auden and Philip Larkin.
- Some of the best food in the UK is on your doorstep, be it Raymond Blanc's fine French cuisine or gastropub grub.
- Regional specialities
- You may not be able to feast on roast cygnet at July’s annual swan-upping at Windsor, but Aylesbury duck – noted for its snow-white plumage – is a regional treat. Pick up local trout and watercress at the Oxford farmers’ market on the first Thursday of every month.
- Pound sterling.
- Dialling codes
- Country code for the UK: 44.
- Do go/don't go
- This part of the country is beautiful whatever the season, but it can get a bit tourist-heavy during the summer. And keep away from Henley in the first weekend of July – the Regatta’s on, and the place will be packed.
Don't go home without...
… tying up your boat (or hiring one) for a glass of champagne at the Beetle & Wedge Boathouse in Moulsford (www.beetleandwedge.co.uk).