Oxford is located about 80 kilometers west of London on the Thames as well as the Cherwell. Oxford is best known for being home to Oxford University. Visitors to Oxford will immediately notice the spires of the medieval churches as well as the colleges that dominate the skyline. These spires are often referred to as the Dreaming Spires. Although Oxford has a long historical tradition, it also has a modern life that is quite vibrant. Theaters, museums and galleries abound in Oxford along with shops, pubs and restaurants. There are also many open spaces and parks along with guided tours that can help visitors to make the most of a trip to Oxford.
Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire and is home to the famous university as well as around 150,000 people. The university is the oldest university in the English speaking world and has been in existence since at least the twelfth century. Its old buildings are one of the main tourist attractions in the city and they are home to a number of important museums. One of these is the Ashmolean Museum, which holds the collection of Elias Ashmole including antique coins, engravings, books and zoological specimens such as the stuffed head of the last Dodo ever seen in Europe. There is also a museum of Natural History which has the skeletons of a Triceratops and a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Oxford is home to lots of specialist shops as well as the usual national stores. Blackwells Books is probably the most famous bookstore in the city and is a tourist attraction in its own right. The giant ten thousand square foot Norrington Room is the largest book sales room in Europe.
At the centre of the city is the Carfax Tower, which used to be part of St Martins Church. The tower is open daily and you can climb to the top of it for an aerial view of the city below. On certain special occasions, the six bells of the tower are rung by the local Change Ringers society.
To the northern end of Oxford High Street is a large covered market with a wide range of traditional market stalls as well as ones selling gifts and souvenirs. In the summer, you can also take a "punt" down the river and see the sights from the river Thames. You will recognise much of the city from the various movies that have been filmed in the city, including Brideshead Revisited, some of the Harry Potter movies and The Golden Compass.