History of Oxford

Oxford is a famous University City first settled in Saxon times, and was originally known as ‘Oxenaforda’ meaning ‘Ford of the Oxen’ – a river crossing place at that time around 900AD. Oxford was heavily damaged during the Norman invasion of 1066, and the castle was built shortly afterwards. Oxford Castle was still used as a town prison up to 1996!

The city has been recognised as a major centre of education since 1139 and parliaments were often held in the city during the 13th Century. The university is first mentioned around the 12th Century and some of the colleges were established around this time.

During the English Civil War in 1642, Charles I was housed in Oxford and there was strong support in the city for the parliamentarian cause. Charles II later stayed in Oxford during the Great Plague of London (although he was forced to eventually evacuate from here also).

In 1790 new transport links with Coventry were created, the Oxford canal was built and in 1844 the Great Western Railway linked Oxford with London.

In the early 20th Century Oxford experienced much industrial growth, particularly in the printing and publishing industries, and several automotive firms were established such as Morris Motors Ltd and British Leyland.

Some things to do in Oxford:

  • Oxford Castle
  • Oxford University Museum of Natural History
  • Pitt Rivers Museum
  • Museum of Oxford (St Aldate’s)
  • Museum of the History of Science
  • Ashmolean Museum
  • Bate Museum of Musical Instruments
  • Christ Church College- The Great Hall was used as the model for the Hogwarts Hall in the Harry
  • Potter films
  • Bodleian Library
  • The New Theatre
  • The Oxford Playhouse
  • The Burton Taylor Theatre
  • Pegasus Theatre
  • Sheldonian Theatre
  • University of Oxford Botanic Garden – The oldest botanical garden in England with over 7,000 species of plants
  • Salters Steamer
  • Official city guided tours or Bus Tours from the Visitor Information Centre
  • Jaqueline du Pre Building
  • Covered Market on the High Street
  • Modern Art Oxford Gallery
  • Oxford Ice Skating Rink
  • Cinema
  • Oxford Railway Station

For more information, click here www.oxfordcityguide.com

Website by isle.

Get in Touch

Got a quick question or would like further information?

Brochure Download

Download our current Brochure and Pricelist

Our brochure is also available in a number of alternative languages