Favorite thing: Oxfordshire’s first archaeological evidence of human settlement and land use in the area dates back to the Neolithic period (4,000-3,500 BC). After the Roman invasion in 43AD there was an immediate impact on Oxfordshire. Alchester was established as a major military base, possibly as soon as 44AD this was due to its location at an important junction of routes, north-south from Chichester and Silchester to the Midlands, and east-west on Akeman Street from St Albans to Cirencester. Later in the 1st century Alchester and Dorchester were to develop into Oxfordshire’s first towns.
Because the Cotswolds straddle several counties it can be hard to know where to go for information, but there are several good websites on the region. Interestingly, more than one of these claims to be the “official” website of the Cotswolds, but that aside, all have their useful points.
www.the-cotswolds.org – written in English and Japanese, with an emphasis on practical information such as places to stay and attractions
www.cotswolds.info - particularly strong on external links to tour companies and attractions, and also on the history of the region
www.cotswolds.org - has the usual sections on accommodation and attractions, but is also updated regularly with news and events, though its coverage of individual villages is less comprehensive than some of the other sites
www.cotswolds.com - one of several claiming to be the “official” website, but in my view less comprehensive than the others in its coverage
www.cotswoldswebsite.com - has an interactive map but is really only useful for the larger villages and towns
www.oxfordshirecotswolds.org - as its name suggests, only covers the Oxfordshire section of the Cotswolds, but is helpful for its good coverage of events and for its itinerary planner, and has a number of downloadable guides including walks
Historically, the Cotswold Hills were a rich area, their wealth built on the wool trade. In medieval times the native sheep, the “Cotswold Lions”, were famous throughout Europe for their heavy golden fleeces and the superior quality of their wool. The abbeys and monasteries raised huge flocks of these sheep, and an active trade developed. At that time 50% of England's economy was due to wool. The Cotswold wool, being of such superior quality, commanded a high price, and the wealth generated by the wool trade enabled prosperous merchants to leave their mark by building fine houses and wonderful churches, known as “wool churches”, many of which remain to this day.
Wool became so important to the British economy that an act was passed in the reign of King Charles II for the express purpose of increasing the consumption of English wool. This Burial in Wool Act (1667 & 1678) decreed that all bodies were to be buried in wool only, unless they had died from the Plague and an affidavit sworn accordingly. The penalty for not doing so was £5.
"No corps should be buried in anything other than what is made of sheep's wool only; or put into any coffin lined or faced with any material but sheep's wool, on pain of forfeiture of £5."
This act was repealed in 1814, but the wool trade continued to be of great importance to the Cotswold economy in particular. Other local trades have included silk production; tobacco farming (during the 16th and early 17th centuries, but later banned to protect production in the colonies); quarrying, naturally; and trading in salt. More recently tourism has become an important source of income, with the region being designated “An Area of Outstanding Beauty'” (the largest such in England and Wales).
Around early Summer, from April/May time, you will see a patchwork of brilliant yellow fields. These are crops of oilseed rape. The crop is used to make vegetable oil and also to prepare the field for the next crop, as part of a crop rotation system.
It is something very typical of this part of the English Midlands and the Oxfordshire Downs As a trained Fine Artist, I am used to seeing the many colours that make up the beauty of our landscape. But you just cannot miss a brillant yellow field!! Or several.
Get out your paintbox and capture this phenomenum :-)
Everybody knows about the connection between Oxford and university. Though many will tell "it is NOT so" (me included) one might say that Oxford is THE university-town of our world. It is almost a synonym and though not the oldest (Paris' Sorbonne and Spanish Salamanca were just a few years earlier). Doesn't take away the fact that everybody knows that Oxford is the most well-known throughout the globe.
My cousin, who studied here (and so is a real Oxford-man, showed us around and gave us several inside-views. If possible, try to do the same with someone who studies here (there are guided tours!). This way, you're always in for some nice surprises.
Fondest memory: Well, euh ... back with my car we found a parkingticket as for the fact that we were ten minutes late (overdue the actual paid time). The memory of th shock was not pleasant, but the one after my cousins remark "your foreign, so you don't have to pay" made the day. (-:
Favorite thing: Probably England's earliest example of a round library. Built ;in the mid-eighteenth century to house a medical library donated by the famous physician Dr. Radcliffe. It is now a reading room for undergraduates, and is not open to the public.
Favorite thing: Although there is very little left of Oxford Castle (the Castle Mound, St. George's Tower, the chapel crypt and well chamber), it played an important role in the city's history. It was built by Robert d'Oilly in 1071 as a royal residence and administrative centre.
Favorite thing: This tower is the remain of St. Martin's, the first city church. On the east facade the Church clock is adorned by two "quarter boys", who hit the bells at every "quater" of the hour. Climb the tower (99 steps) for a marvellous view across Oxford. Last entry 30 mins before closing.
Go there at the beginning of October. One weekend in October, (normally the 2nd in the month) is when all the new under-grads Matriculate (swear in to the uni). If you position yourself at the Cornmarket end of Broad street, you can happily watch lots of fresh faced students being paraded through town with black gowns and mortar boards!
Fondest memory: Living in student digs in 140 Kingston road. Belated apologies to our neighbours for the parties!
Favorite thing: Take it easy and look around. Enjoy the scenery and architecture. The public isn't allowed to go into this building which is a library for college students, it's called the Radcliff. Go by it though, it looks very interesting.
Fondest memory: What a race..... *CONGRATULATIONS TO THE BLUE BOAT!* for winning the 148th Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race yesterday (March 30th 2002). Well done also to Isis who beat Goldie, and the women's crews. A great day was had by all (well, the Oxford supporters anyhow) down at the river!
Visit the colleges! Some of them were built in the 1200s, some are more modern, and all are great to visit! The classic touristy ones are Magdalen, Christchurch, New College and Merton. Other less famous but still lovely ones include Jesus, Wadham, and my college: Somerville! Somerville is about 10 minutes walk from Carfax (the centre of town), but it's worth the walk for our pretty Victorian buildings and big quad (the biggest single quad in Oxford!!) (see photo). Somerville is famous for being Margaret Thatcher's college, but don't let that stop you.....
Fondest memory: What can I say? Living here for 3 years has been an absolute honour!
My favourite Oxford memories include: punting on the river after 2nd year exams (and a bottle and a half of champagne - no I didn't fall in!!!), sitting on the quad in the sunshine, the fabulous college balls, and of course all the fun with my friends! :)
Fondest memory: Rather funny, actually. Whilst in Oxford, we got rather hungry, and decided to eat lunch at a Lebanese restaurant in an upstairs level of a building nearby. The food was great and we were having a blast eyeing the very attractive waiter when we realized that nearby, a group of teenagers was smoking what suspiciously looked like a bong. Glancing around the room, we noticed the restaurant practically decorated with the things, including one floor to ceiling bong elaborately decorated in the corner. Just what it was they were smoking I don't know, but I do know, I was laughing hysterically as we left the restaurant. Always brings a smile to my face when I think of it!
When in Oxford you must visit The Oxford Covered Market.
There you will meet some real English caracter and have teh English experience.
I lived in Oxofrd for 10 years and the Covered Market is England in one place
Fondest memory: Most of the memories I have are so good.
But I will never forget the wonderful pasta shop I found there. The people are so friendly and the food is just fantastic The name is FATA PASTA
Fondest memory: Though my memories of Oxford are mostly miserable, I did enjoy our paddle boat ride. It was relaxing. The rain had stopped and we circled around an outdoor theater and were able to catch a glimpse of a performance of Alice in Wonderland.
Single £150.00 Standard double/twin £165.00 Deluxe double/twin £205.00 Superior deluxe...more
Wroxton Street Mary, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX15 6QB, United Kingdom
Good for: Business
Great Tew, Chipping Norton, OX7 4DB, United Kingdom
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo