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A Locals’ Guide to Oxford

From literature and art to stunning architecture and history, Oxford is famous for many things. However, beyond the historic libraries, universities and buildings lies a quirky city bursting with hidden places just waiting to be discovered. Our boutique hotel in Oxford explores some of the city’s lesser-known attractions, loved by the locals...

 

Cowley Road

 

An ethnically diverse neighbourhood, the Cowley area in East Oxford is a vibrant, quirky and jam-packed full of culture. Cowley Road, in particular, is great for vintage shops, quirky coffee shops, independent restaurants and live music. The area has also played a prominent role in the Oxford music scene and many successful bands have played formative performances in nearby venues, including Radiohead and Ride.

Every year the vibrant road hosts a carnival to encourage engagement and unity within diverse communities through art, parades, music and dancing.

 

Cowley Road, Oxford

 

Oxford University Botanic Garden

 

Founded in 1621, Oxford Botanic Gardens is the oldest botanic and scientific garden in the UK and is committed to educating visitors about the importance of conserving wildlife and plants. The 130-acre Arboretum has been part of the Botanic Garden since 1963 and contains a diverse collection of trees, including some of the oldest redwoods in the UK. Aside from showcasing stunning trees, plants and flowers, the Botanic Garden hosts a number of events which celebrates life’s natural wonders. Click here to explore what’s on in Autumn & Winter.  

 

Oxford Botanic Garden in Autumn

 

The Headington Shark

 

An unusual rooftop sculpture located at 2 New High Street, Headington, The Headington Shark has become a beloved local landmark. The piece, made from fibreglass, was commissioned by local radio presenter, Bill Heine as an expression of incompetence, anger and despair caused by nuclear attacks. The shark was at risk of being taken down by Oxford City Council in 1992, however, local support came through and the quirky sculpture was allowed to stay. 

 

Headington shark

Modern Art Oxford

 

One of the only institutions in the UK dedicated to contemporary visual artwork, Modern Art Oxford has built an international reputation for its quirky exhibitions, projects and commissions. A great day out for art enthusiasts, the free art gallery showcases work from established contemporary artists, rising stars and even talented students.

 

Modern Art Oxford jOYFul LOSERS by Jun licensed under CC BY 2.0

Vanbrugh House Hotel, a boutique hotel in Oxford, is ideally located in the centre of Oxford, near to the area’s top Oxford museums, Oxford theatres and Oxford bars. To check availability, email us or call us on 01865 244 622.

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