The city of Oxford historically was an important port on the river Thames, a city steeped in history, fine architecture and a bastion in the quest of knowledge and truth. Indeed the city of Oxford coat of arms motto is “Fortis est Veritas” either translated to “Truth is Strength” or “Strength in Truth” – whichever way you look at it, the motto symbolises a city whose name resonates the world over with excellence and culture and home to the oldest university in the English speaking world. River cruises allows a variety of cruise style along the river from private charters to small self hire boats.
Architecturally the city has every major styles of British architecture displayed from the Saxon era onwards. The Oxford martyrs (Bishop Hugh Latimer, Nicolas Ridley and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer) were tried for heresy and burnt at the stake in 1555 on Broad Street for their religious beliefs, a plaque commemorates these men who spearheaded one of the first movements for religious freedom in the country. Saxon Tower is the oldest building in Oxford and provides an excellent view of the city and includes the cells that held the Oxford martyrs in its bowels as well as the pulpit that hosted a sermon by John Wesley.
Oxford experienced rapid industrial growth in the early 20th century and the Morris Motor company produced cars, in the 1970’s over 20,000 people worked at this and associated factories, although the company is smaller now – it produces the successful new mini’s for BMW. The city is diversified economically, but driven by the Universities and tourism, Oxford is a magnet for tourists drawing in over 9 million visitors in 2009. A few independent retailers have remained in the city centre for centuries such as – Boswells which was founded in 1738.
Hire car in oxford to explore the famous university, the oldest and most famous universities in the English speaking world, formed in the 12th century it has been home to minds that seek to better understand the world using the best resources available. St Edmund Hall (c 1225) is the only remaining Alurian house from the 12th century period, with colleges taking their place – colleges such as University College (c 1249), Balliol (c 1263) and Merton (1264).
Bodleian Library was built between 1602 and 1620 and forms part of a group of ancient buildings in the university that includes the university’s oldest teaching and examination room, the Divinity School which was built between 1427 and 1488.
The Oxford University museum of Natural history has a vast collection of entomological, geological, mineralogical and zoological displays, whilst the Museum of the History of Science has an excellent collection of scientific instruments – with 10,000 objects including sundials, quadrants, microscopes, telescopes and cameras. The Ashmolean museum has been refurbished to provide innovative displays for its remarkable collection with themed galleries exploring art and archaeology including Egyptian, Anglo Saxon material and Chinese art, the museum forms part of a research and teaching department of Oxford university.
Oxford Brookes is the city’s second university, it was transformed from Oxford School of Art, to Oxford Polytechnic and gained a university charter in 1991 and has been voted as one of the best new universities of the last ten years.
As a city which has a strong emphasis on learning, Oxford has been home to some important authors, such as C S Lewis, T E Lawrence, J R R Tolkien, Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carol, Michael Innes, Colin Dexter and Philip Pullman.