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Day trip from London: Oxford or Cambridge?

Day trip from London: Oxford or Cambridge?

Mar 10th, 2006, 11:16 AM
  #1  
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Day trip from London: Oxford or Cambridge?

We are trying to decide between an Oxford or Cambridge day trip. What exactly is there to "do" in these lovely towns? How much of the colleges can you actually see (I realize these are colleges and not put there just for our amusement and that classes will be in session!) Can someone advise about what each town has to offer as far as shops to poke around in? Also, obviously both have pubs, but any favorites come to mind?

Thank you!
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Mar 10th, 2006, 12:42 PM
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You might want to go back and look at the other thread you posted this question on. In the 19 minutes between the time you asked and you reposted to say you were being ignored, someone else did post an answer to your question but it posted at the same time as your response, so you probably didn't see it. And my response (the one you said was ignoring you) was posted before I could see your question. I have since also responded to your question.

Meanwhile this is a good idea as you will probably get more ideas here than within that thread.
 
Mar 10th, 2006, 01:32 PM
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Patrick, I think I explained in my other thread (not sure how many minutes ago, I'm not a clock watcher) that I was starting a new post so I wasn't tagging on to the other person's thread. Their trip was in the beginning of March and people were replying to them, it was after all thier post so I certainly have no problem with that.

I thought this would make it simple?
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Mar 10th, 2006, 05:06 PM
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ttt
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Mar 10th, 2006, 05:09 PM
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They both have great pubs if you can't tour the colleges.
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Mar 10th, 2006, 06:40 PM
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According to a green Michelin guide (I think I am remembering correctly from planning our '98 trip to the UK) Oxford is more of an urban working city and Cambridge more of a typical college--and therefore more picturesque--town. We did not end up going to either one, but that is my recollection....
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Mar 10th, 2006, 07:48 PM
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If by any chance you're a Dorothy Sayers fan, then Oxford by all means.
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Mar 10th, 2006, 09:06 PM
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Both of them have beautiful buildings (palaces) of colleges.
Not far from Oxford (I think 15 min. by bus) is Blenheim Palace (300 years old) and is still the home of the Duke of Marlborough. Sir Winston Churchill was born here in 1874.
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Mar 11th, 2006, 04:32 AM
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Grantop,

When are you going? I personally love Cambridge, we are about to spend our third summer there. There is so much to do in terms of museums, activities, theatre...what are your interests?

If it is nice, I highly recommend punting or taking a walk down the river to The Orchird, a famous place (but not well known) to take tea. (Lots of famous poets/authors are known to have stayed here and been inspired in their writings.)

The Fitzwilliam is a must see as well, a gem of an art museum. I was surprised at the collection, quite extensive! There are also a long list of college museums that you can visit.

Oh and taking tours of the colleges is fun too, I suggest Trinity in addition to Kings. You can tour the gardens and chapels in most of them for a small fee and usually at specific times. You can also go to Evening Song at Kings College Chapel for free and see the famous boys choir. It is truly impressive.

The theatre is very active in Cambridge as well and in the summer you can find a variety of indoor and outdoor plays--all which are reasonably priced.

As for pubs, I have a big list of favorites. The Flying Pig is our local hangout. We also like the Avery for its view, and of course you must go to The Eagle simply b/c of its history.

I have been to Oxford several times but much prefer Cambridge. (I may be biased though, I have spent a lot more time in Cambridge.) To me, Oxford just does not have the charm that you find in Cambridge.

Hope that helps. If you have more specific questions let me know.
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Mar 11th, 2006, 04:48 AM
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I prefer Oxford, but thoroughly enjoyed Cambridge also. I did not see any of the "industrial city" so many people mention regarding Oxford. I believe some guidebooks state that the outskirts of Oxford are larger and have more industry and people have latched onto this thinking. In either case, you take transportation to the center of the town and don't even notice the outskirs. Oxford is slightly easier to get to from London as you can take a bus, called the "Oxford Tube" (AC, Restroom, comfortable) which is less expensive than the train and lets you off in the center of town. Very frequent service to/from London. Cambridge you take the train, not a hassel certainly, but train station is about a 15 minute walk from the center of town, or you can take a local bus.

What is there to DO there. Most of the colleges in both towns allow you to go into various parts (the quad, the chapel, a few buildings) for a small fee (4-5&pound. Both have a river skirting the colleges that is pleasant to walk along and see the "backs" of the colleges. Both have shops, restaurants, and pubs. Both have some museums, libraries. Mostly you just walk around admiring the beautiful architecture. I liked Cambridge alot and really loved Oxford.
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Mar 11th, 2006, 05:06 AM
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You can do virtually the exact same things in either city - punting on a river in the middle of town, visit a few colleges, take a walking tour from the TIC, visit a great museum - Ashmolean vs Fitzwilliam, go to good pubs,etc.

Most folks who say Oxford is "industrial" have not been there. As Isabel says - on a day trip in from London one would not even be aware there are any factories/suburbs.

Either is fine - wonderful in fact. If you just want to see the colleges I might pick Cambridge (even though I actually prefer Oxford). But if you also want to visit things outside of the city, Oxford is better. Blenheim Palace is just up the road and easy by local bus. Except for the American Cemetary, there really isn't much around Cambridge for a day tripper.
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Mar 11th, 2006, 06:08 AM
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Thank you, these recent replies have been SO helpful! My traveling companions have asked me what there was to do in each place and I thought "ummm - walk?" which is fine, love to do it, but I wondering about shops, places to eat etc. and had no idea about the museums. I also didn't know anything about the Oxford Tube so that was great info.

Not concerned about the outskirts of Oxford, we have a lot of wonderful places here that you first go through a not-so-pretty area to get to, once you're at your destination it's not an issue.

This will really help in our planning, and I appreciate the time you spent helping me.
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Mar 11th, 2006, 06:34 AM
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Steph, we are going in September. I really like the idea of walking down the river for tea. We are interested in architecure (hence this day trip) museums, shops, and just enjoying a place. Thanks for the heads up on touring Trinity & Kings. We plan on seeing some theater in London, so we probably would not take part on our day trip.

Thanks again, great info!
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Mar 11th, 2006, 06:45 AM
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As an Oxonian I may be biased, but I have always preferred Oxford to Cambridge. There is probably little to choose as far as the colleges are concerned (although Oxford is, of course, the older of the two universities). I think Oxford town centre is more attractive and it is easier to find quiet side streets. I also think Oxford's Christchurch Meadows beat the Backs in Cambridge any day.

The industrial area at Cowley is some way from the city centre and does not detract (although people have said of Oxford that it is not the City of Dreaming Spires but rather the Latin Quarter of Cowley).
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Mar 11th, 2006, 08:57 AM
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grantop, here is a little write up on The Orchard.

http://www.travel-wise.com/europe/en...ge-england.htm

We walked there from city centre, about 30-40 minutes..? A really nice and quiet walk along the river. Or you can take a bus if you are pressed for time. But it is very quaint and quiet--you really feel like you stepped back in time since it has not changed much since it opened.
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Mar 11th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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Cambridge is a pretty village, Oxford has more sights, museums, etc. We took an official walking tour of Oxford, which went into one of the colleges.

If it was me, I'd decide on the fly. Good weather, go to Cambridge and spend a lot of time along the Backs. Rain, go to Oxford and spend time in the Ashmolean Museum.
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Mar 12th, 2006, 07:10 AM
  #17  
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Two posts from above:

Author: Neopolitan
Date: 03/10/2006, 04:42 pm

You might want to go back and look at the other thread you posted this question on. In the 19 minutes between the time you asked and you reposted to say you were being ignored, someone else did post an answer to your question but it posted at the same time as your response, so you probably didn't see it. And my response (the one you said was ignoring you) was posted before I could see your question. I have since also responded to your question.

Meanwhile this is a good idea as you will probably get more ideas here than within that thread.

Author: grantop
Date: 03/10/2006, 05:32 pm

Patrick, I think I explained in my other thread (not sure how many minutes ago, I'm not a clock watcher) that I was starting a new post so I wasn't tagging on to the other person's thread. Their trip was in the beginning of March and people were replying to them, it was after all thier post so I certainly have no problem with that.

I thought this would make it simple?"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


grantop, I'm really confused by all this. I politely suggested that you go back and look at the other thread because I assumed you might not, since you had now started a new one. Regarding starting this thread, I clearly said "I think it's a good idea. . ." So was there a point to your post above? If so, I don't get it, other than to refer to one poster by another poster's name. Was that your point? I'd like to get along here -- why do you seemingly want to make it so difficult? I have ignored your various other rather pointingly sarcastic comments about my other posts in the past week, but this really has me stumped.
 
Mar 12th, 2006, 08:30 AM
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Mimar, thanks for the suggestions regarding weather conditions, I probably wouldn't have thought about it.

Steph, I really enjoyed the article about Cambridge & The Orchard, thanks for the link. I've added it to my trip file.

Thanks!
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Mar 13th, 2006, 03:53 PM
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I Lived in Oxford when I was a 10 years old. It was, unfortunately, about 30 years ago, now, but what an absolutely delightful city! What I remember most is that the countryside around Oxford is just delicious, and that on my one and only trip to Cambridge, the topography was very disappointing in my eyes. Flat and ugly.
Oxford is within or close to, the Cotswolds, one of the most beautiful areas of England.
So, if surrounding landscape is as important as architecture...choose Oxford !
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Mar 13th, 2006, 04:03 PM
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Haven't been to Oxford, but I was in Cambridge last weekend, and it's very pretty (you can see a good bit of the outsides of most of the colleges, though you sometimes have to pay an admission fee to get on the grounds, and can't go inside many of the buildings). There are also a number of museums associated with the colleges, on a variety of topics, if you're interested in that sort of thing. Also, if you're interested in aviation, the Duxford branch of the Imperial War Museum is two stops before Cambridge, and is a very impressive collection of airplanes (rivals the Air & Space Smithsonian, in some ways).
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