Oxford and Stratford

With perfect patriotic symmetry, William Shakespeare, England’s greatest playwright, was born and died on the same day: St George's, 23 April (1564 -1616). The first folio of his collected dramatic works, published four hundred years ago in 1623, is visitable at the Weston library. And every year the citizens of Oxford are treated to an outdoor performance of ... CONTINUE READING

Cherwell Boathouse

The punting station beside the Cherwell Boathouse has a very different personality from its two bigger siblings downstream – at Magdalen and Folly Bridge. It’s altogether harder to locate for a start ­– tucked away since 1904 at the end of a quiet residential road in North Oxford. Refreshments take their cue from the location. Whereas the Head ... CONTINUE READING

Rivers Run

Last month’s Story about the Trout Inn prompted a flurry of peacock-, beer-, and river-related reminiscence – including this lyrical passage: And once we rowed together up the river To many-gated Godstow, where the stream Splits, and upon a tongue of land there stands An Inn with willow bowers: it is a spot Where still the flavour of old Merry England ... CONTINUE READING

Peacocks and Trout

Quick! Out of the car park (thank goodness it’s too difficult for coaches to get here), across the narrow road (eyes right for the even narrower medieval bridge), through the porch (note the Stonesfield slate roof), over the flagstones (part of the original seventeenth-century fisherman’s cottage), along the refurbished interior (smells of 'artisan breads' and 'rustic thick-cut chips'), under ... CONTINUE READING

A River Runs Through It

Running through every story on this website is a silver thread: the river which has shaped Oxford’s destiny, indeed the very reason for Oxford’s existence. The water even takes on a different name as it flows here, turning briefly from Thames to Isis (supposedly from the Latin ‘Tamesis’) though few people now use that term, except in literary circles. ... CONTINUE READING

Binsey Poplars

The thatched cottages of the picture-postcard village of Binsey lie little more than a mile from the railway station. Its farm, Medley Manor, is a pick-your-own cornucopia. Its twelfth-century church protects a holy well dedicated to Frideswide, Oxford’s patron saint. And its welcoming pub, The Perch, boasts log fires, mulled ciders, ‘Grouse & Whinberry’ crisps, and a long orchard ... CONTINUE READING

Aristotle Bridge

There may not be a Plato Place or Socrates Street in Oxford; but how many towns outside Greece can boast an Aristotle Bridge? No one knows for sure how the name came about, but it's not unreasonable to speculate that Philosophy dons once strolled here on their way to Port Meadow and Wolvercote, discussing Logic and Epistemology as they ... CONTINUE READING