When I arrived in the United Kingdom, one of the first things I learned from my uber driver is that the United Kingdom is a country comprised of Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) and Northern Ireland. Other impressions about the UK: it’s the most American city in Europe I’ve been to, it’s crazy to drive on the other side of the road, the pubs are full at 5, and fashion is very serious.
I traveled to Oxford, UK for a week long business trip. The day I arrived in the city, I set off to explore the city by myself, and just wandered along the streets.
Oxford University is actually comprised of 24 colleges, none of which are called Oxford University. Each college offers different courses, and you have to be a student to get into most of the buildings. During certain periods of the day, you can visit some of the colleges. Since I arrived on a Sunday, and worked all week long, I never had the opportunity to go into any of the university buildings.
University Church of St. Mary the Virgin
Every new country I go to, I always try to go into the Catholic Church because they always have so much history. I also always light a candle for my grandpa that passed away; I know that he would be proud of me for exploring, and for visiting all of the churches. This church was really beautiful. It was built in the 1200’s. I climbed to the top of the tower and saw the most amazing views of the city. The route to the top is in an old stone winding staircase and pretty claustrophobic.
Bridge of Sighs
The bridge is often referred to as the Bridge of Sighs because of its supposed similarity to the famous Bridge of Sighs in Venice. Really cute part of campus.
This building is right in the middle of campus, and holds a unique shape. The building is a large library, which is part of the bigger Bodleian Library, which part of Harry Potter was filmed in.
I only had one and a half full days in London, but we put our walking shoes on (we walked 11 miles), and saw the majority all of the major sites. I now have a good basis for where everything is located, so now I know if I ever go back, I know what what I would want to see.
London Lumiere Festival
It happened to be the London Lumiere Festival when I was visiting, which had light art instillations all around the city. The art was really cool, and drew a really large crowd. At one point, the crowd was so large, and they had to turn the lights off. We decided to take a side street and get out of there before anything happened.
The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel along the Thames River, and is Europe’s tallest ferris wheel.
The famous bridge in London is actually called the Tower Bridge, not the London Bridge. The London Bridge is just a small concrete bridge; nothing fancy about it. The Tower Bridge was built in the 1880’s, and is near the Tower of London, which is an old fortress.
A gothic style church, formally known as the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster. The church was a Catholic Church built in the 1200’s, but is now considered to be the Church of England.
Big Ben and Buckingham Palace
Big Ben is a tower clock in the Palace of Westminster. It is gated off, and only open to UK permanent residents. Buckingham Palace is the Royal Palace where the Queen of England lives.
The Marble Arch was near my hotel, and it is a white marble faced arch that used to be located as an entrance to Buckingham Palace. Historically, only members of the Royal Family were permitted to pass through the arch.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It costs 30 pounds to go inside, so I just walked in to take a peak, and then walked out. It really looks like a capital building in the US more than a church.
We went shopping on Oxford Street, which is Europe’s busiest shopping street with around half a million daily visitors and 300 shops. There are multiple department stores, as well as small shops as well. I bought myself a cute ring. 🙂
Sketch is a restaurant, not a landmark, but it is worth calling out, and I would definitely recommend anyone that travels to London check it out for a drink. The whole restaurant is an art exhibit of David Shrigley, with each room as a different theme. The bathroom has these egg pods and is all light up on the ceiling in different colors.