Oxford is home to one of the most famous and prestigious universities in the world. It has the oldest public museum in the world, the Ashmolean Museum, founded in 1683 and the oldest bridge in the world over the Thames, the Radcot Bridge, built by Cistercian monks in 1150. One of the reasons why the city n was not bombed during the Second World War I was that Hitler would use it as his capital if he conquered England. You can enjoy it all by going up the Thames, surrounded by lush and historic green buildings. Here are 5 fun things to know when studying in Oxford, England.
1. Discover 90% of the world’s plants in botanical gardens
Relax in the Botanical Gardens, Britain’s oldest botanical garden. Founded in 1621, its original function was the study of medicinal plants. Today it is home to 8,000 different plant species and includes representatives of more than 90% of the higher plant families. The gardens inspired Lewis Carroll and JRR Tolkien of The Lord of the Rings, among others.
2. Let yourself be guided by climbing the Carfax tower
Carfax Tower is the centre of Oxford and the tallest building at 74 feet – no building can be taller than it. The tower was part of a church that was demolished in 1896 due to the widening of the road – in the days of the horse and the cart. In any case, the tower has not been knocked down because you have a fantastic view over the roofs of Oxford from the top. There are 99 steps to reach the top – worth every step. After going down, head to the east side of the church to hear two “boy quarters” ring every 15 minutes.
3. Free your interior reversion head in the MINI Cooper factory
When you’ve had enough of the library, visit a car factory steeped in history. With Top Gear, a popular British export, there will likely be a foreign car enthusiast looking to put the figurative pedal on metal in the MINI Cooper factory. In a previous life, the area was home to the Morris Motor Company – the first car factory in the United Kingdom to use mass production in the style of Henry Ford. They became the British Motor Corporation, British Leyland, Austin Rover and the Rover Group. Now owned by BMW, the new MINI is manufactured here and you can take a factory tour.
4. Observation of sharks on the roof: the jaws go vertically
This is the last thing you would expect in Oxford. Just east of town is a house with a 25-meter long shark sticking out of the roof. Known as “Headington Shark”, commissioned by owner and radio host Bill Heine, and installed during the 41st anniversary of the nuclear bomb that fell on Nagasaki. It was Bill’s comment on nuclear proliferation: “The shark had to express someone who felt helpless and tore a hole in his roof out of helplessness, anger and hopelessness.” The shark finally got a building permit: at one point, it was suggested to move it to the local pool.