Bath or Oxford

May 3rd, 1999, 07:18 PM
  #1  
Andrew
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Bath or Oxford

We will be travelling from Somerset to Essex this June. We have decided that we will break up the journey by stopping at either Bath or Oxford for a day.

Can anyone help us decide which is better?

Many thanks
 
May 4th, 1999, 03:52 AM
  #2  
elaine
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This is a very subjective issue, neither is "better". Oxford is a busy university town. However, when I toured some of the Colleges I was thrilled. Inside the College quadrangles all was tranquil and civilized (of a different era): well-tended lawns, gardens, gothic and classical-style buildings, etc. Also, Blenheim Palace is not far away, and that is awesome; it's amazing that it has "only" belonged to dukes and not to a monarch.

Bath is gorgeous, though increasingly touristy unfortunately. When you get away from the town center which has the impressive Abbey and Roman baths, but unfortunately also has a nearby
Disney store, you can appreciate even more the architecture and the warm-looking Bath stone in the preserved houses and buildings. There are fine restaurants, pretty places to stay, and Bath is unique-looking, you'll never forget it.

I like both very much, and was interested in the historical and literary associations. The highlights of each can be seen in a day,

I guess if I had to pick one I'd choose Bath. But on the other hand...
 
May 4th, 1999, 03:52 AM
  #3  
elaine
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This is a very subjective issue, neither is "better". Oxford is a busy university town. However, when I toured some of the Colleges I was thrilled. Inside the College quadrangles all was tranquil and civilized (of a different era): well-tended lawns, gardens, gothic and classical-style buildings, etc. Also, Blenheim Palace is not far away, and that is awesome; it's amazing that it has "only" belonged to dukes and not to a monarch.

Bath is gorgeous, though increasingly touristy unfortunately. When you get away from the town center which has the impressive Abbey and Roman baths, but unfortunately also has a nearby
Disney store, you can appreciate even more the architecture and the warm-looking Bath stone in the preserved houses and buildings. There are fine restaurants, pretty places to stay, and Bath is unique-looking, you'll never forget it.

I like both very much, and was interested in the historical and literary associations. The highlights of each can be seen in a day,

I guess if I had to pick one I'd choose Bath. But on the other hand...
 
May 4th, 1999, 01:38 PM
  #4  
KB
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Andrew,
Each town is perfect for a stop-over. You certainly can get a feel for each in a few hours, though you could profitably spend much more time if you have it to spare. I agree with the previous poster that it comes down to what grabs you most. In Oxford, a walking tour of one or more of the colleges is fantastic - architecture, history, beauty galore. And of course that college town feel. Bath is more touristy, and is both newer and older (on average buildings are only a couple of hundred years old, but the Roman baths are a couple of millenia old). I loved the baths, and while approaching Bath had a postcard attractiveness, the town itself was just too touristy for me. I guess I'd vote for Oxford. (maybe you could try Bath on the way back!) Either way, you'll have fun.
 
May 4th, 1999, 03:50 PM
  #5  
Andrew
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Thanks to KB and Elaine for your insight.

As a boy I always wanted Oxford to win the boat race. (Dark blue is a much more supportable color).

So I'm leaning towards spending a day in Oxford. Are there any colleges which stand out architecturally?

Thanks.
 
May 5th, 1999, 04:25 AM
  #6  
elaine
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Christ Church, the largest college, with its Tom Quad,Mercury fountain,small cathedral and dining hall. Magdalen College (pronounced "maudlin", but perhaps you already know that) has extensive and beautiful gardens and walks along the water. New College also has a beautiful garden and a chapel that has an El Greco painting. Hertford College has its own "Bridge of Sighs". In addition to whatever colleges you can get into,don't miss the Sheldonian theatre, designed by
Christopher Wren, the Radcliffe Camera, and the view from the 14th century Tower at Carfax, the main intersection of Oxford. The Ashmolean Museum has painting treasures by Constable, Reubens, Rembrandt, and some French
Impressionists, plus a lot of odd artifacts.
Not all of the Colleges are open to the public all the time. The guided tour that is offered by the Tourist Office will take you to at least a few, and should include the Camera and other historic sites in the center of town.

 
May 5th, 1999, 10:39 AM
  #7  
toom
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Oxford is the city of spires, so it would be nice if you have a chance to see the city from Carfax or University church near the Radcliffe Camera (university library). From Carfax main attrations are on High street, but if you straight on St.Aldates Rd, you will pass Alice's House, and have a walk along the Thames, and can see another view of the city. If you are into museums, besides Ashmolean there is University museum on Parks Rd.
 
May 5th, 1999, 01:30 PM
  #8  
Kate
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I hate to weigh in now, after youre leaning toward Oxford, but Id visit Bath over Oxford. Both *are* wonderful towns, but I prefer the Romanesque feel of Bath. The architecture and history are amazing (the Roman Baths, the Abbey), and if youd like a nice lunch or dinner, there seemed to be better restaurants in Bath than Oxford (though I could be wrong here...).
 
May 5th, 1999, 06:23 PM
  #9  
Andrew
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I f we went to Bath, the Roman baths are obviously a "must see",
but what else is noteworthy?

And would you say Bath is easy to see on foot, or does it require driving point to point.

Thanks
 
May 6th, 1999, 12:49 AM
  #10  
Juan
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I have been to both towns a few years ago and I myself prefered Bath. The Roman baths were facinating, I liked the town itself and the famous crescent shaped row houses (seen in several Hollywood films) were even more impressive in reality than I thought they would be.
 
May 6th, 1999, 04:17 AM
  #11  
elaine
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Andrew-
The Abbey (church), the Pump Room (where people "took the waters"), the Roman Baths, the Costume museum,the Theatre Royal,The Assembly rooms,The Royal Crescent (a curved assemblage of 30 houses with one continuous facade; #1 was restored to its 18th century style) and of course the Pulteney Bridge which is lined with shops and it spans the Avon. There are (were) boat rides, and just delightful walks, passing houses with beautiful flower-filled window boxes. Have coffee or tea with a "Bath bun" at Sally Lunn's which is not far from the Pump Room and is said to be the oldest "restaurant" in
Bath; the building dates back to the middle ages.
All of the above is within walking distance from the station and/or town center.
 
May 6th, 1999, 04:17 AM
  #12  
elaine
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Andrew-
The Abbey (church), the Pump Room (where people "took the waters"), the Roman Baths, the Costume museum,the Theatre Royal,The Assembly rooms,The Royal Crescent (a curved assemblage of 30 houses with one continuous facade; #1 was restored to its 18th century style) and of course the Pulteney Bridge which is lined with shops and it spans the Avon. There are (were) boat rides, and just delightful walks, passing houses with beautiful flower-filled window boxes. Have coffee or tea with a "Bath bun" at Sally Lunn's which is not far from the Pump Room and is said to be the oldest "restaurant" in
Bath; the building dates back to the middle ages.
All of the above is within walking distance from the station and/or town center.
 
May 6th, 1999, 06:58 AM
  #13  
Andy
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Andrew
You've ha good responses on the respective merits of the two cities but looking at it from a geographical and practical point of view, if you are looking to break a journey between Somerset and Essex, then Oxford is the obvious one as Bath is right at the start of your journey.
Andy
 
May 6th, 1999, 05:37 PM
  #14  
Andrew
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Andy:

Good point.

This relates to another question I have.

I grew up in Somerset, and each year we would travel to Harwich to take the ferry to Denmark (my mother is Danish).

I can still remember the exact distance from our house to Harwich-253 miles. At the time this was a major trip requiring a week's preparation.

After living in the US for several years 253 miles seems pretty easy. But then conditions are different, or are they?

Does anyone have a feel for the average speed you would travel by car in England today, and about how long would it take to get from Bath or Oxford to Harwich?

Factoring in all the narrow winding roads and blind corners we use to drive on in Somerset, I bet our average speed was between 15 and 25 miles an hour, no kidding.

Thanks,


 

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