Back to School Special Edition: Cycling route across Oxford

Back to School Special Edition: Cycling route across Oxford

Credits: Delfi de la Rua

As the A-levels results came out, so did the university placements. To mark the date, we then want to feature a special piece about the best cycling routes in two of the most renowned student cities in the United Kingdom: Oxford and Cambridge.

By Vanessa Alves Ferreira

Read this week’s story about Oxford and stay tuned to check out the Cambridge version.

Whether you are a student or just wishing to visit Oxford, this cycling path is designed for you to catch sight of the most emblematic landmarks of the city of dreaming spires. Follow our guide to find your way across town.

Getting a bike

First off: bring your own bike or rent one. By the way, our electric foldable EELO 1885 is the perfect fit for city journeys and to bring along as you travel. Otherwise, there are many dockless bike hire options in Oxford, such as: Donkey Republic, Mobike, Ofobikes or Pony Bikes.

To rent these bikes you need to download the appropriate app, then, when you find your bike on the street, you may notice a QR code on the handlebar allowing you, once scanned, and after entering your details through the app, to unlock the bicycle.

People cycling in Oxford, city of spires, photo by Nikita Andreev

Credits: Nikita Andreev

When you finish your ride, return the bike at a drop-off point and choose to lock it through the app. Prices can be as low as 50p for 30 minutes or £5 a day.

The tour

The starting point will be at Oxford Castle, a large medieval castle partly ruined that's crypt is 900-years-old, and your next stop, the Carfax Tower, is just 3 minutes away. Climb your way to the top or instead opt for the University Church of St Mary for views across the city. The latter will allow wonderful views of Radcliffe Camera.

From the Carfax Tower, head to Christ Church College. Harry Potter fans won’t want to miss this one as the college’s grand staircase features in both The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets, its cloisters pop up in The Philosopher’s Stone as well, and the Great Hall inspired the Great Hall of Hogwarts.

Christ Church College, Hall, Oxford University, Harry Potter Hall inspiration, Photo by Simon Mumenth

Credits: Simon Mumenth

Apart from that, Christ Church College is well-known for having received 13 prime ministers as their alumni as well as the writer of Alice in Wonderland Lewis Caroll.

From that point, go in direction of Magdalen College, whose former members included Oscar Wilde, Edward VIII and nine Nobel laureates, among many other noticeable graduates. From Magdalen Tower and Bridge admire views of River Cherwell and Oxford’s traditional Punts.

Oxford, city of spires, River Cherwell, punts, punting,  punting in River Cherwell, Photo by Toa Heftiba

Credits: Toa Heftiba

Make your way along Magdalen Bridge to Cowley Road for a lunch break as this south-eastern part of Oxford is famous for its cuisine. Kazbar takes you instantly to oriental destinations with its Moroccan decoration and Mediterranean menu. Sci-Fi enthusiasts or those who crave for pizzas, chicken wings, and, of course, burgers will melt with Atomic Burger and its edgy atmosphere.

After satisfying your hunger, cycle towards Catte Street. Find the University Church of St Mary, Radcliffe Camera and the Bodleian Library on your left and All Souls College and the Bridge of Sighs on your right. 

Bridge of Sighs, Oxford University, Hertford College, Photo by Michael D Beckwith

Credits: Michael D Beckwith

Being the second largest library in the UK and one of the oldest in Europe, Bodleian Library is an absolute must-see.

The Hertford Bridge, commonly known as the Bridge of Sighs for its similarity with the Venice monument, joins two parts of Hertford’s College and is another compulsory halt to have a glimpse at its remarkable design.

From Catte Street turn to your right to visit New College. The institution has seen actors Hugh Grant and Kate Beckinsale, clinical psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen and even former US National Security Advisor Susan Rice as its student. Turn to your left to browse for books through the largest academic and specialist bookseller in the UK, Blackwells Bookshop.

Go straight to reach the Oxford University Museum of Natural History to check their zoology, entomology and geology collection set in a grand Neo-Gothic building.

By then, you should feel drained! Have a break at one of the pubs where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to gather at: the Eagle and Child and the Lamb and Flag, both on St Giles street.

Photo of books by J. R. R. Tolkien and Lewis Caroll, Oxford University, fantasy books, Photo by Anna Spratt

Credits: Anna Spratt

A one-minute ride will then take you to the world’s first university museum, the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. The current classical building presents a rich art and archaeology collection and discloses views of Oxford’s spires from its rooftop Restaurant and Terrace.

The Phoenix Picture House is ideal for those of you who enjoy some indie motion picture showings. To reach it get to Walton Street, taking the second left after the Ashmolean Museum.

This street of the attractive Jericho neighbourhood is famed for coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Punch the clock at Raoul’s bar to have a taste of the so-said best cocktails in town or go up the street for Italian Restaurant Branca, French Brasserie Blanc or Asiatic flavours at Zheng.

You have reached your destination.

map of a cycling route in Oxford

The route as seen above can be done in under 30 minutes with no stops but if you want to check other cycling paths in Oxford or get news about cycling in the city, turn to website.


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