Despite today being a day off from the Thames Path, the two of us did not have a day completely devoid of walking. We had a circular walk of Oxford in mind that would take in many of the city and university green spaces. Prior to that however, the two of us had to walk down toward the city before a jaunt around the green spaces took us into the city proper.
Our morning walk took us through the city’s green bordered paths toward the river and Oxford Canal before a halt at the castle for teas and further planning. There may have been a little window shopping built in…
Oxford is a slightly peculiar city. A well known seat of learning on the international stage, it has also been home to much of Britain’s car manufacturing as well but that takes a bit of searching. Cycles abound, and these days, e-scooters too. Some people seem to struggle with the concept of an elite learning location, as though it were the only one in the country. Many also seem to lack an understanding that much of an unsavoury past, is the past. A tour taking in Oxfords history could last weeks and you would still have barely scratched the surface.
We took time out to visit the Bodleian Library, but general visitors are not welcome unless booked on to a guided tour. These tours also include the Radcliffe Camera, built 1737-1749. What we found unmissable however was a visit to the free exhibitions provided in the Bodleian’s Wisdom Library. Two were on, but of these, I wanted to visit the fantastic and informative display in the ‘Tutankhamun Excavating the Archive’ exhibition that drew on the archived papers of Howard Carter.
For anyone who has even the slightest bit of interest in the demise of a classic age in British car manufacture, a very short diversion takes you to Longwall Street, the site of the birth of two classics in car manufacture- William Morris’ ‘bullnose’ Morris, and, in 1924, Old Number One, Cecil Kimber’s innovative MG sports car design.
Many of the colleges for which Oxford is famous, cannot be visited or even viewed by the general public. Others do provide on-line booking for expensive tours
Another slightly off trail diversion was taken late afternoon. Down the narrow St. Helen’s Passage beside the much photographed Bridge of Sighs, is the must visit Turf Tavern pub. Previously frequented by the likes of Elizabeth Burton, David Bowie, Margaret Thatcher, Ernest Hemingway, Stephen Hawking, Bill Clinton and Boris Johnson, Three Points of the Compass now squeezed into the bar for pints of good beer to round off a day’s walk.
There are any number of exploratory walks that can be taken around Oxford. On our return to our guest house at the end of our day, we had walked a little over seven miles. So not far less than our already short days on trail! One thing that had become apparent to us over the past few days of our Thames Path trail was that many establishments are struggling to hire sufficient staff and at our slightly out of town location we were reduced to a Deliveroo ‘cheeky Nandos’ for our evening meal. Back on trail tomorrow and a return to normality hopefully!
A map of our city route can be seen here.
The Thames Path
The Thames Path: Kemble to Cricklade
The Thames Path: Cricklade to Lechlade
The Thames Path: Lechlade to Tadpole Bridge
The Thames Path: Tadpole Bridge to Bablock Hythe
The Thames Path: Bablock Hythe to Osney Bridge, Oxford
The Thames Path: Osney Bridge, Oxford to Abingdon
The Thames Path- Abingdon to Shillingford/Warborough
The Thames Path- Shillingford/Warborough to Goring