A friend of mine goes on cycling holidays for softies, which means nothing strenuous will happen and you are safe in the knowledge that you won't be expected to climb steep hills or bounce about on rough tracks.
Oxford is a wonderful city and any tourist going there will find plenty to do. When I take visitors we usually start with the open top double decker bus and then the colleges, Ashmolean. the dining hall where Harry Potter was filmed or whatever there is time for.
Last week we wanted to take a ninety year old friend out for the day. She loves Oxford too. Of course being ninety she knew it very well so we just wanted to get the flavour of this fascinating city that just breathes history and knowledge. There is always something new like a prison that's been turned into a hotel, but we didn't have much time so this is what we did, and it was such a wonderful day I want to share it with you in case you have a ninety year old friend that would like to go there for a few hours.
Start by parking your car in Broad Street. You have to pay and you can only stay there for an hour, but you are right in the heart of Oxford watching students whizz by on their bikes and tourists queue-ing up for the sightseeing bus. In an hour you can nip across to The White Horse pub over the road near Trinity College and have the best fish and chips or roast beef or just a sandwich.
You can read about the history of the pub and about the White Horse and ask the friendly staff for a photo.
The tables are close together so you might find yourself in conversation with other visitors like we did. They were from Denmark and had come to the pub because it is filmed in Inspector Morse, they love him in Denmark too. It's funny how all these Detective series are so popular world wide, maybe they tell us a lot about human nature and make us realise that whether it's an English village or the whole wide world, people are quite similar really.
While your friend is sipping her coffee and getting into a rather undiplomatic conversation with the Danes about their relationship with Norwegians you can move the car round the corner where you can leave it for two hours.
Next a walk through the covered market to look at all the unusual little shops and stalls. There are shops that specialize in cake decoration, leather goods, greetings cards, shoes, vegetables and a sight that is quite rare in Britain now, a proper butchers with animal carcasses hanging outside.
Back towards Broad Street via the shops, stopping to listen to the buskers, real talent can be found here, magicians and saxophone players abound.
My friend is an artist so we stopped at a little shop called Broad Arts which turned out to be an Aladdin's cave and she spent a happy half hour choosing finger paints which she says are easier for her now and she enjoys smudging all the colours together.
Then over the road to what many would consider to be the most beautiful book shop in the world, Blackwells.
Check your watch to see how much time you have to browse and look at the books then a coffee and back to the car and away out of Oxford before the rush hour traffic has started.
On a beautiful sunny May day the Oxford stone takes on a warm timeless quality. The dreaming spires can be guaranteed to make you dream even on a flying visit.
|The staff at The White Horse make everyone feel at home|
|A treasure trove for Artists|
|Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding|
|The White Horse pub has traditional British food|