Where to Stay in Oxford
Heading to this historical university city? Get the lowdown on where to stay in Oxford
Oxford is a city bursting at the seams with culture, history and hidden gems. At the same time, as far as cities go, it’s pretty relaxing. Its small size makes it perfect to walk around, and there’s plenty of green space. The River Thames and River Cherwell meet here, so there’s tons of peaceful riverside spots to enjoy the views. Oxford is probably best known for being the home of Oxford University, one of the oldest English speaking universities in the world. In case you didn’t know, it’s produced notable alumni like Stephen Hawking, Oscar Wilde and Malala Yousafzai.
Speaking of prominent people, here at Plum Guide we’re pretty remarkable ourselves when it comes to knowing where to stay and what to do around the world. Don’t believe us? Check out our range of accommodation in Oxford and tell us you’re not impressed. Before you do that, though, read on to find out exactly where to stay in Oxford to make the most of your trip.
The city centre
If you’re visiting Oxford for the first time, this is where you’ll find the most popular things to do in Oxford. The majority of the city’s attractions are here, like museums and art galleries, landmarks like the Radcliffe Camera, and the University’s most famous buildings including Christ Church College and the Bodleian Libraries. It’s the place to be if you’re keen to get lost in history, indulge in fine dining and drinking, and wander the higgledy-piggledy streets.
The aesthetic appeal of Oxford’s rather romantic skyline has been described as “dreaming spires” by Victorian poet Matthew Arnold. Looking for an easy date idea? Take your other half for a little jaunt up one of Oxford’s many viewing points. Climb up the University Church’s tower, scale the steps of Oxford Castle, or catch a show and a view from the Sheldonian Theatre. If you think the sight of you huffing and puffing on the stairs may put an end to any chance of a second date, then play it safe with a fancy cocktail and a view at The Alchemist.
Visiting Oxford with kids and not sure where to stay? Summertown is the place to be. This is a family-oriented area which also happens to be one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in Oxford. This affluent neighbourhood is situated only 10-15 minutes drive north of the city centre, and is characterised by its elegant architecture and lush green parks. Along its main drag, you’ll find upscale restaurants and bars, artisan food stores, chic independent shops and boutiques, and toy stores. Summertown has a thriving arts scene, so if you consider yourself a creative type, this is where to stay in Oxford. Unique Creations is a ceramics cafe where you can try your hand at ceramic painting. Much better at spending money than pottery? The shop has a whole range of arts and crafts on offer.
Want to see where the cool kids hang out? Then Jericho is the place to stay. This hip, laid-back neighbourhood is only a 10 minute walk from the city centre. During the day, stroll around the quiet streets and admire the rows of Georgian and Victoria architecture. Pop into the numerous vintage stores, independent coffee shops and eclectic cafes. But the real reason Jericho is a great area is its nightlife. Now, don’t expect a wild nightclub scene. We’re talking more bars, theatre, music venues and trivia nights. There are plenty of historic and noteworthy pubs to make your way round - try The Lamb and Flag, the Old Bookbinders, and the Eagle and Child, a favourite of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. More of a cocktail kind of person? Love Jericho is a swanky cocktail bar with an impressive menu.
Cowley Road should definitely be on your list of where to stay in Oxford. Just southeast of the city centre, this cosmopolitan neighbourhood is quickly rising through the ranks as one of the trendiest places to stay in Oxford. Cowley Road is home to possibly the coolest cinema in the city, The Ultimate Picture Palace. This independent cinema shows a mixture of independent, mainstream, foreign language and classic films. On your way there, keep an eye out for the colourful street art in the area. Cowley Road is also chock-a-block with quirky vintage stores, independent shops and little cafes. There’s huge variety when it comes to dining in this multicultural neighbourhood. We recommend starting your day with a Mediterranean breakfast at Cafe Coco, enjoying a traditional Japanese lunch at Taberu, and finishing off with a Caribbean dinner at Spiced Roots.