Oxford or Cambridge for a day trip?

Aug 20th, 2004, 07:43 AM
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Oxford or Cambridge for a day trip?

Contemplating a day trip from London to one of these cities. From a purely tourist perspective
which one would you choose leaving all academic
considerations aside.
Corky is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 08:29 AM
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I've been to Oxford, but not to Cambridge and cant make a fair comparison. However, I loved Oxford. Can't really see everything in a day but was a lot of history, tradition, gorgeous old buildings and fun. It was pretty simple to get to by train from London. I chose it because the train schedules from/to London were better and was never for a moment disappointed. Some guidebooks suggest Cambridge because it is supposedly less touristy than Oxford, but I wouldn't know first hand.
ssachida is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 08:39 AM
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Cambridge . . . easy daytrips from KingsX.

The Oxford high street is choked with traffic and fumes. The only time I've enjoyed a weekend there, it was with a specialist architecture tour given by my alumni assn. Without special access, many of the Colleges are off-limits, and the shopping area has all the major chains you'd find anywhere in the UK.

Cambridge is more walkable, with charming pubs along the river, shops and attractions, and less attitude IMO. Rent a bike & do a Gwyneth.
ealing_calling is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 08:41 AM
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My experience is just the opposite of the previous poster's. I've only been to Cambridge. I chose it because the guidebooks I read said that it was more truly the epitome of a university town since it doesn't have an industrial center like Oxford does. Besides, I wanted to see King's College Chapel. I enjoyed my day in Cambridge very much. However, I expect that if you choose Oxford you won't be disapointed at all.
TimS is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 08:43 AM
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though not peas in a pod, i've been to both several times and could not choose one over the other. It's like asking do you like Whiskey or Scotch? Both are super great places.
PalQ is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 09:30 AM
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had a lovely day trip from london to oxford earlier this year .... combined with nearby Blenheim Palace (stunning!), and the village of Woodstock (stylish pubs and restaurants, lovely atmosphere for lunch) it made for a quintessentially english day out !
leisa is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 09:58 AM
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We did what leisa did and had a great day. I liked the Ashmolean Museum, Blackwell's bookstore, poking around the different colleges, and I thought Blenheim was magnificent. Made for a satisfying English day out.
Aug 20th, 2004, 10:33 AM
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I've been to both a few times. I think Oxford is better for shopping, but if you're going to be in London, there might not be a need for that. I was traveling with someone who apparently felt it was her responsibility to boost the English economy by buying as much as we could stuff in the car.

That said, I actually enjoyed Cambridge a tiny bit more. I find it more peaceful.

We stayed overnight in Woodstock last year, great little town. Nice pubs with garden areas.
celticdreams is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 11:02 AM
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Six of one, half dozen of the other. You can't go wrong with either one.

I lived in Oxfordshire for 5 years and also have been to Cambridge many times. I personally prefer Oxford - but that is probably because I know it like the back of my hand.

From a tourist's point of view both are wonderful. In fact, I'd probably choose by which London station is most convenient. If I was staying in Russell Sq or Bloomsbury I'd go to Cambridge because of the proximity of Kings Cross - and if I was staying in Bayswater or S Kens I choose Oxford because Paddington is nearby.
janis is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 11:12 AM
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Have been to both several times and prefer Cambridge- the walk along the backs with views of Kings College is superb.
wombat7 is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 01:27 PM
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We found Cambridge a bit easier to navigate--and it also offers Evensong in the King's College chapel, where the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols is sung on Christmas eve by the incredibly wonderful choir.
Underhill is online now  
Aug 20th, 2004, 01:59 PM
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Corky, we loved Cambridge. Such an easy train trip from london. When you arrive you can either walk into the city, or there are buses waiting to take people into the city. They all seem to stop near the same park. From there (with a city map), its easy to get around to see all the sights. There was also an interesting pub there, I think it was called, "The Eagle", where in the one of the bars, the original ceiling, during WW2 remains, and you can see the intials and signatures of both English & American bomber crews on the ceiling. No doubt a lot of them never returned from their missions.
tropo is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 10:37 PM
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For a one-day trip just to the town, Cambridge wins easily. Its best buildings are more beautiful, it's a wash between the bookshops and the Fitzwilliam and Ashmolean Museums (though Cambridge lacks equivalents to Oxford's museums of science and palaeontology), and the town is in every sense more on the fringes of the real world, and therefore less crowded.

It's a myth that Oxford is choked with traffic (it's been virtually banned), or industrial (one BMW factory on the outskirts does not constitute an industry). But it is the commercial centre of what's now almost Europe's fastest-growing regional economy (albeit an economy founded on knowledge rather than metal-bashing), a 40 minute drive from the world's busiest international airport, on the intersection of major E-W and N-S roads,and on the doorstep of some of England's loveliest countryside (which not even Cambridge's greatest fans would claim for the fens). So it gets visited a great deal more (they've just made the every-10-mins buses from London even bigger to compete with the other two bus services, and phasing in bigger trains since they can't add any more), and few things are less attractive for a visitor than other visitors.

And of course for more than a day, Oxford and its hinterland are infinitely nicer, more cultured, and richer in diversions - as well as being populated by wittier and more hospitable people.

But for a day, if you can face its miserable weather and utter isolation, Cambridge is your better bet
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 11:25 PM
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skatterfly is offline  
Aug 21st, 2004, 05:30 AM
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Cambridge is darling!! although it can get very busy in the summer months at weekends. It is rather compact so you can see a lot without walking to much or hop on the double decker guide bus. If you have the time, hire bikes and cycle along the river from Newnham to Granchester and then take tea at the Orchard - divine in the summer! You can also do this by punt. Don't miss the lovely parks, especially Jesus Green - take picnic.
lauralamb is offline  

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