The county town of Oxfordshire, located in the south Midlands, is the largest city in the county and is world renowned for its University. Sitting on the River Thames/Isis the current population is 151,000.
Founded at the time of Alfred the Great in the ninth century, Oxford soon became a town with a fortress, a mint and coin makers. By the time of the Norman Conquest the town had a population of 5000 and was the sixth largest town in England. In the civil war of 1140 between Stephen and Matilda, Oxford Castle was her protector and after the town was seized by Stephen, Matilda slipped away one snowy night. Stephen took the throne.
The University was founded in 1167 but from the very beginning there was trouble between the students and townspeople. After a woman was killed, two students were hanged. Although a chancellor was appointed to control the students six sets of riots rose over a seventy year period from 1228 to 1298.
The thirteenth century saw the arrival of manufacturing including cloth, leather and wool. However, by the fifteenth century manufacturing declined and the citizens relied on the students for trade and skills such as baking, brewing, coopers, carpenters etc. were in demand. From this point the town declined in importance but it did not stop Oxford becoming a city in 1542 and a Bishop being appointed.
In 1651 the first coffee house in England was opened and the free grammar school opened in 1659. Georgian times saw the city prosper again and the university architecture was much admired. The 19th century saw all the advantages the Victorian era brought including the railway in 1844. Manufacturing was still very low key, with marmalade production and publishing being introduced.
The twentieth century changed all that when Morris cars were put in production which in turn turned the city into an important manufacturing centre. The university continued to be a world leader and in 1954 Roger Bannister ran the first sub 4 minute mile.
The 21st century sees Oxford continuing to prosper with tourism and retail becoming more important. The current population of the city is 151,000.
Things to Do:
Three dozen of the university’s colleges can be visited. They range from free visiting to modest donations and some with fixed charges. Amongst those that are free are All Souls, Corpus Christi, Keble, Lady Margaret Hall, Somerville, St. Edmund Hall and Worcester. Full details for visiting all colleges can be found at www.ox.ac.uk/visitors.
Pitt Rivers Museum:
Contains exhibits of archaeology and anthropology from around the world. The fascinating programmes put on are forever changing so it is advisable to check out www.prm.ox.ac.uk. Located at Parks Road, OX1 3PW, it is best to walk from the city centre, except there is a parking space for disabled visitors. Open until 4.30pm each day, entrance is free and there is a museum shop.
The remains of the medieval castle are Grade 1 listed and can be visited with the help of guides in medieval dress. You can climb the tower for great views of the city, the crypt and the old prison and debtor’s tower. Located in New Road, Oxford, the entrance charges are £10.25 for adults with reductions for concessions and children. Open every day, except Christmas, from 10am to 5pm. For information about special events check out www.oxfordcastleunlocked.co.uk. There is also a café and shop.
White Horse Hill:
For a more rural place to visit, the National Trust White Horse Hill is a good idea. Located in Uffington, to the west of the city, the satnav post code is SN7 7UK. As well as visiting the ancient white horse carved into the hill you can climb to the highest point in Oxfordshire for great views.
You can also walk along the prehistoric road, which is the oldest in the country.
For full visitor information look up www.nationaltrust.org.uk/white-horse-hill.
This free admission museum is known around the world for its collections of art and archaeology which were started in the late 17th Century. Open all year, except Christmas and Mondays, from 10am to 5pm, there is also a café and shop. Spread over six floors, the museum contains such diverse artefacts as the Anglo Saxon Alfred Jewel, a Van Gogh painting and Lawrence of Arabia’s Robe. Located in Beaumont Street, OX1 2PH, full details available at www.ashmolean.org.
There are two excellent ways to enjoy being on the Thames at Oxford, either by booking a river cruise or by punting. The river cruises cover sightseeing, lunch cruises and picnic and dinner cruises. Various companies offer such cruises.
There are also a couple of companies offering punting, rowing and Canadian canoe hire.
Check out at Oxford Visitor’s Centre.
This beautiful building designed by Giles Gilbert Scott in the early 17th Century is one of the largest library’s in Europe and second only to the British Library in this country. You can tour the Library or visit to look at the exhibitions and displays which are always changing. There is a café and shops and is located on Broad Street, OX1 3BG.
For further information look up www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk.
Museum of Natural History:
This is a really interesting museum for those who like the natural world. There are butterfly and moth collections, minerals, fossils, zoology, dinosaurs etc. Admission is free and the museum is open 10am to 5pm every day. Located in Parks Road there is only limited parking for disabled, otherwise it is on street parking or multi storey car parks. It is a 10/15 minute walk from city centre and station. There is a café and shop on site.
Being a major university city ensures plenty of night life and for a start there are a dozen or so clubs, the current best of the bunch seeming to be The Bridge and The Cellar. Added to that there are a couple of dozen excellent bars and pubs in the city centre.
Drama, music and concerts can be found at various locations including Oxford Playhouse, Pegasus Theatre and The Theatre at Headington. The many colleges and Oxford Castle also put on their own productions mainly of classical origin, including Shakespeare plays.
Five cinema chains operate throughout the city.
Greyhound Racing and Ice Hockey can also be found.
To find out full listings check out www.inoxford.com.
The full range of menus can be found in Oxford and the surrounding areas. American, Asian, European, Seafood, Vegetarian etc. can be found in restaurants, cafes, pubs, department stores etc..
Mixed shopping can be found in the city. A national department store and an independent department store can be found in the city centre, together with all the usual national chain stores.
Book shops are a speciality in the city catering for both students and general public. Boutiques and smaller interesting shops can be found in the Jericho district of the city and there is also a covered market.
During college holiday periods an original form of accommodation is staying in the colleges themselves. These are cheaper per night than hotels. Full details of same can be found at www.universityrooms.com/en/city/oxford.
Of course, there is the general range of international and national hotel chains, guest houses and pubs to choose from.
Oxford Bus Company run up to 20 routes throughout the city and suburbs including Park and Ride and student transport.
The Park and Ride car parks are at Pear Tree, Redbridge, Thornhill, Seacourt and Oxford Parkway. There are also coach connections to London central and Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.
Full details of routes and timetables can be found on www.city.oxfordbus.co.uk.
Oxford lying in the Midlands has a good road network supporting it. To the east of the city the M40 runs from London to Birmingham and then beyond to the north via the M1 and M6. The A40 which runs through the city connects London to Cheltenham, Gloucester and Wales.
Oxford is also connected to Southampton and the south coat via the A34. The city itself has a ring road made up of the A34, Northern By Pass and Eastern By Pass.
London Paddington is reached via Didcot Parkway and Reading. In London change to the relevant termini to travel on to locations in South East and Eastern England.
The south coast is reached via Reading and Southampton.
The west of England and south Wales is reached via Didcot Parkway and/or Bristol or Bristol Parkway.
Take the train northerly for Hereford and Bicester or to the Midlands and North of England via Coventry and Birmingham.
Full details can be found at www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Oxford Station is to be found at Frideswide Square and Botley Road, to the west of the city centre.
The city has good access to Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham airports.
Up to fifteen companies provide a taxi service in the city.
Stadium: Kassam Stadium. Grenoble Road. Oxford. OX4 4XP.
Chairman: Sumrith Thanakarmjanasuth
Manager: Karl Robinson
Current League: League 1
Phone Number: 01865 337533.
Starting out in 1893 as Headington United the club played in the lower leagues initially and then joined the Southern League in 1949, when they turned professional. In 1960 they took on their current name of Oxford United and in 1962 United won the Southern League championship for the second year running and were invited to join the Football League after the demise of Accrington Stanley.
Fairly rapid success saw the club gain promotion in 1965 and 1968, when they stayed in the second tier for eight seasons. After a disastrous period when Robert Maxwell took over the club and tried to force an aborted merger with Reading, United blossomed again and rose through the leagues to achieve First Division, top tier, football in 1985. After avoiding relegation in their first season, they did win the League Cup (aka known as the Milk Cup then), 3-0 by beating Queen’s Park Rangers, which meant qualification to play in the UEFA Cup. Unfortunately for United, English clubs were banned from playing in Europe due to the Heysel Stadium disaster.
Relegations followed in 1988 and then again in 1994. This was followed by a lean period of the club languishing in the bottom two divisions. However, they did move into their new Kassam Stadium in 2001 but disaster loomed and the club sunk back out of the League, into the Conference, in 2006. They remained there until they regained League status in 2010.
They have subsequently played in League Two since.
Away fans should check with their own club about buying tickets.
The best way to purchase tickets is by internet at www.oufctickets.co.uk.
Alternatively, a phone call to 01865 337533 will secure tickets for picking up on match days or by receiving by post, or by calling personally at the ticket office between 9.30am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
Children under 7 get in free, except in executive areas.
Route T2 which connects St. Aldates, in the city centre with Abingdon, passes by the Kassam Stadium. There are also two match day specials, the OX3 which picks up from Carterton Crossroads, Brize Norton, Witney, Eynsham and Botley, and the OX7 which starts at Grovelands and then stops up en-route at various locations, including, Banbury Road, Cherwell Drive, London Road and Headington.
After alighting the train take the bus 5 to Knights Road (Blackbird Leys) via St. Aldates and Cowley. It is a 5 minute walk from Knights Road.
From all points, when arriving at and entering the city, follow the brown signs for the Kassam Stadium. There is parking for 2000 cars. There are specific spaces for the disabled.
One of the best and quickest ways of reaching the ground from Oxford Station or the city centre is by taxi.
The current ground, the Kassam Stadium, replaced the Manor Ground which was the club’s home from 1925 to 2001. There are three stands which have been built, to date. They are the South Stand, the main one, which houses the changing rooms, offices, conference centre and 28 executive boxes. The East Stand, still known locally as the “Oxford Mail” stand is the area where the more vocal fans congregate and the North Stand, once known as the “Manor Hospital”, holds both home and away fans.
The view of the pitch and the catering facilities in the ground are very acceptable but there are limited outlets for food and drink outside of the stadium. The bar in the nearby Holiday Inn Express and the bowling alley close by have bars which, apparently, are open to football fans. Alternative, the city centre pubs, prior to taking a bus to the ground, are an alternative.
The club share the ground with London Welsh Rugby Club and has a current capacity of 12500.
There is a shop for purchasing football merchandise.
BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER
St. Michael's Street. Oxford