FOUND: Culture and Countryside in central Oxford
25th Oct 2012
I touched on this a few posts back, but there’s a lovely half-day to be had in central Oxford, either on your own, with kids or extended family that effortlessly includes a bit of culture, a lovely walk, and some lunch to finish it off.
Start at the Christchurch Picture Gallery, around the back of Christchurch College and opposite Oriel College. A few weeks back I went to see the Dali illustrations before they left the city and I’d definitely recommend the gallery as it’s a lovely half an hour amongst 15-18th century Italian masters and whatever else happens to be exhibiting. From next week, it’s the drawings of Luca Cambiaso (1527-1585) and prints by Gayna Wiles. Entry is adults £3, concessions £2.
The space is airy enough for little kids to run around in, and of course, it’s part of Christchurch College which means older children might also get a kick out of going into the college proper and seeing the Great Hall which doubles for Hogwarts Hall (below). Entry to the College is additional to the picture gallery, but is only £14 for a family ticket so it won’t break the bank.
Then it’s just a meander around the back of Christchurch into the lovely view of the college from the back, and the Meadows surrounding it with the cattle grazing in the fields – wonderfully incongruous in the centre of the city.
Follow the wide, flat, buggy-friendly paths all the way down to the college boathouses along the river, past swans and ducks and ancient trees that bow towards the water, or go left and head for the Botanical Gardens, apparently beautiful at this time of year, though I haven’t been there for a while.
If you end up at the river, follow the path to the right and it will pop you out opposite a perfectly creditable tourist-slick Cafe Loco at St Aldates, below. You can see the arched exit from Christchurch Meadows on the right of the photo. There’s a takeaway area if you just want to grab a cappuccino and sandwich and head off.
Best place to park for this little sojourn is the Westgate multistory – an easy 5 minute walk to Christchurch from the car, keeping the whole trip gloriously, joyously stress-free!