Why Visit Oxford?
You would be hard-pushed to answer what Winston Churchill, Pierce Brosnan, Senator Bobby Kennedy, Malcolm X, Mother Theresa, Henry Kissinger, Presidents Reagan, Nixon and Carter, Albert Einstein, Jerry Hall, Michael Jackson, Yasser Arafat, the Dalai Lama, Shakira and Kermit the Frog have in common? They have all spoken at Oxford Union, one, if not the most famous debating society in the world.
Harry Potter was filmed here, Lewis Carroll and Tolkien lived and worked here, and recently voted the greatest Briton of all time, Sir Winston Churchill was born in one of Oxfordshire's most famous houses, Blenheim Palace, just a mile from Oxford Airport and a World Heritage Site. Indeed Churchill was buried at Bladon within sight of the Palace.
Oxford is not only rich in its plethora of educational opportunities; it boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of hospitals in the world and a thriving science, research and development base. Indeed Oxford is Europe’s highest ranked and fastest growing centre for high tech industries.
Aside from all of this, Oxford is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The architecture of the city is quite simply breathtaking and the lush green countryside offers the perfect backdrop for a lazy Sunday afternoon walk. Oxford also offers a wide range of first class hotels and excellent restaurants, bars pubs and coffee houses.
Some 10 million people a year visit Oxford, making it the third most visited city in England outside of London and they spent over 1.45 billion dollars here last year clearly there’s something worth writing home about then!
A mere snap-shot of facts that have placed Oxford on the global map:
Seven kings, 46 Nobel prize-winners, 25 UK Prime Ministers, including Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, three saints, 86 Archbishops plus 18 Cardinals and US President Bill Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the King of Bhutan, Benazir Bhutto, Indira Gandhi, President of Ghana John Kufuor, Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Jordan’s King Abdullah II were all educated at Oxford Oxford University has been ranked top UK university for seven years in a row by the Times, with over 20,000 students enrolled today over 100 members of the House of Commons were Oxford-educated, whilst over 5,000 names listed in the Who’s Who guide were Oxford-educated Richard the Lionheart was born in Oxford Oxford has over 1500 listed buildings Sir Christopher Wren designed the famous Sheldonian Theatre Oxford University with 39 colleges, is the oldest English speaking university in the world, established as a seat of learning almost 1000 years ago Hitler was intending to use Oxford as his capital if he conquered England, which is why it was not bombed Oxford was the country’s capital city during the civil war when Charles 1st held his court there Oxford is the second most filmed city in the UK after London - Inspector Morse and Brideshead Revisited were filmed all over Oxfordshire Scenes from Harry Potter were filmed in Oxford including Christchurch College Resident Phillip Pullman’s Golden Compass was filmed at Oxford Oxford Prison was used for scenes in Porridge and the Italian job Ronnie Barker, Hugh Grant, Hugh Laurie, Jacqueline Du Pre, Isaiah Berlin, Lord Nuffield, Tim Henman, Rowan Atkinson, Jeremy Paxman, Eddie Jordan, Jeremy Irons, Boris Johnson and David Cameron were all born, studied or live in Oxford Oxford graduate, Tim Bernes-Lee is credited with inventing the internet - Oxfam, the Oxford Committee for Famine was founded in Oxford in 1942 Oxfordshire is the only county in England to have 3 areas of ‘Outstanding Natural Beauty’, the North Wessex Downs, The Chilterns and the Cotswolds In 1009, almost the whole of Oxford was burnt down by Vikings Port Meadow in Oxford is England’s oldest continuous meadow, noted in the Domesday Book of 1086 The C S Lewis Nature Reserve in Headington inspired the forest in the Chronicles of Narnia Women were not allowed to attend the University until 1920 Cambridge University was actually founded by Oxford scholars following the ‘Town and Gown’ riots in 1209 during the Restoration, one fifth of Oxford households held alehouse licences, by 1679 there were over 370 pubs in the city it is believed that William Shakespear's Hamlet was first produced in Oxford in 1593 Oxford University has over 38 libraries containing over 11 million volumes, including the Bodleian Library, the second largest in Britain after the British Library, which is almost seven centuries old and currently houses more than six and a half million documents (growing at a rate of over 300,000 documents every year) on 169km (105 miles) of shelves in 10 buildings and in a maze of underground tunnels running beneath Oxford. The library currently needs 3 miles of new shelving a year Penicillin, whilst discovered by Alexander Fleming, was developed by Howard Florey, Norman Heatley and Dr Ernest Chain at Oxford - Rock bands such as Supergrass, Radiohead, Ride, Foals, Swervedriver, Candyskins all originate from Oxford Most of the Europe’s Formula 1 and motor sports industries are based within 30 miles of Oxford Oxford’s Sir Roger Bannister was the first man to break the 4 minute mile at Oxford’s Iffley Road sports ground in 1954 A single oarsman makes 600 strokes in an Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race The BMW mini, one of the UK’s most successful exports is built in Oxford Oxford is the third most visited city in England outside of London Tourists spend over US$1.45 billion a year on visits to Oxford Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum was the first in the world to be opened to the public in 1683 Oxford’s Holywell Music Room is the oldest performance hall in Europe Oxford hosts the first ever recorded coffee house in the country Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke holds the record for drinking a yard of ale at the Turf Tavern in Oxford; he sunk it in eleven seconds Alice in Alice in Wonderland was inspired by the daughter of the Dean of Christchurch College The Oxford English Dictionary provides authoritative definitions of over 500,000 words Oxford has more published writers per square mile than anywhere else in the world - Stephen Hawking, JR Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, CS Lewis, Colin Dexter, Evelyn Waugh, Philip Pullman, PD James, Ruth Harris, Dorothy Sayers, Iris Murdoch, Richard Dawkins and Martin Amis were all born, studied or live in Oxford.