Feeling stressed out by your studies but don’t have time for a proper holiday? There are lots of fun and interesting places you can go for a quick getaway.
Whether you have just an afternoon or a few days over a long weekend, check out some of these ideas when you need a little break from university.
Whether you want to explore stunning views of the countryside from the oldest building in Oxford, roam through a 900-year-old crypt, or check out what it was like in an 18th-century debtor’s prison, Oxford Castle is a fascinating way to spend a day.
You can even take a tour with costumed guides for an added historic touch. Built by medieval Norman baron Robert D’Oyly in 1071, the castle played an important role in military history over several hundred years.
After the English Civil War, the castle served as a prison for the next few hundred years. Now you can dine in one of the old prison buildings, and if you have the cash you can even spend the night.
Malmaison Oxford is a boutique hotel in what used to be the prison quarter and though not cheap, it’s a one of a kind experience. But if a luxury suite isn’t your style, don’t worry; there are rooms nearby for around £32/night.
Head outdoors in Oxfordshire
Whether your idea of relaxation is a walk in the countryside or you’re into cycling, sailing, or a round of golf, the Oxfordshire countryside is a gorgeous place to go play outside.
Frilford Heath offers three separate 18-hole golf courses, each with unique characteristics.
And if you fancy a day out on the water, rent a day boat, punt, or rowboat and enjoy the Thames.
Get sucked into the past
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology recently reopened after a £61 million renovation and expansion that doubled the size of its exhibition space.
The original museum, founded in 1683, was Britain’s first public museum and the first university museum in the world.
The collection has grown in size and scope over the centuries and includes everything from Neolithic prehistory to present day artifacts.
It’s considered to be one of the best archeology museums in the world. Even better, admission is free.
Indulge in retail therapy
If shopping is your favourite way to wind down, check out Bicester Village, a designer outlet of 130 luxury shops where you can pick up some bargains.
Or browse great specialty shops with handmade jewelry and interesting antiques, and explore a bookstore that’s been in business since 1879.
You’ll also want to shop the farmer’s market for a fresh, healthy lunch and local crafts.
Follow Harry Potter’s haunts
If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter movies, you can take an official Oxford guided walking tour to explore filming locations. For instance, the New College was used in the Goblet of Fire, and the Divinity School at the Bodleian Library appeared in multiple films as the Hogwarts infirmary.
Another possible tour combines the worlds of Harry Potter with the childhood home of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
These tours tend to fill up quickly, so it’s best to get a reservation before you go.
But if you can’t get a ticket, don’t despair. You can always download a location guide and do a self guided tour.
Visit Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace, built in the early 1700s, is the only non-royal house in England designated as a palace. It has served as home to a long line of dukes of Marlborough over the past 300 years and was the birthplace of Winston Churchill.
A great example of the Baroque architectural tradition, Blenheim Palace and its grounds are open for public tours.
In addition to touring the house, you can explore a giant hedge maze and check out events such as jousting tournaments, food festivals, and the Gifford Circus.
Camp at nearby Hardwick Parks for as little as £11 per night.
No matter what your interests, Oxford and the surrounding countryside offer something for any student. Spend a day or a week exploring, relaxing in nature, and learning from the past.
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