7 min read

Day Out In Oxford

Enjoying The Sights And Sounds Of Oxford

With Shelli and her girls down at her mum’s for a few days, I thought I’d make the most of having some time with just my girls.

Elisa suggested we go into Oxford to visit the museums there and as the weather wasn’t looking too bad we all agreed that that would be a fantastic idea.

The Journey to Oxford

We didn’t rush up and out, preferring to take a more leisurely approach to the day. After breakfast I sorted out some lunch bits and off we headed to get the train from Goring station; our new local station just a few miles away from Woodcote.

As it was the weekend and it being a small station – smaller than Twyford – I didn’t expect to find anyone working in the ticket office and was fully prepared to use the machine to get our tickets. I was pleasantly surprised (and ever so slightly shocked) to find the station manned making the job of getting our tickets a lot easier; I hate those ticket machines!

We had a little while to wait for the train so we say in the waiting room playing some games until the train arrived.

As it was well on the way to midday by the time we were on the train we had our lunch as we looked out at the passing countryside before arriving at Oxford a short 40 minutes later. Yes, it would have been quicker to take the car but it’s a lot more fun going by train.

It was a chilly day out and the wind was definitley biting as we strolled to the museums, looking at the buildings as we went along.

Photos from the Journey to Oxford

Museum of Natural History

The last time we visited the Oxford University Museum of Natural History it was closed. work was being carried out on the roof if memory serves me correctly. It opened again last year so we were looking forward to seeing all of the exhibits again, and to see what was new since we were last there.

The museum was founded in 1860 as the centre for scientific study at the University of Oxford, and it now holds the University’s internationally significant collections of geological and zoological specimens.

It’s housed in a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture, which you can see in the photos below. Among its most famous features are the Oxfordshire dinosaurs, the Dodo, and the swifts in the Museum tower.

When we got into the museum I spotted some stairs going upstairs. I was convinced we’d never been up there before so up we went to see what was there.

There was an astounding array of specimens, from butterflies, beetles, cockroaches (live ones), and a rather scary tarantula.

As well as all of the exhibits, you got a fantastic view down over the dinosaurs downstairs. I was also able to get a better look at the stunning roof. It really is something worth seeing!

After making our way round upstairs we went downstairs to check out the dinosaurs; always a favourite of mine. They’ve got some really great skeletons there including a T-Rex which was huge!

It’s amazing the difference a couple of years made to the girls’ interest in everything. Elisa was taking lots of photos on her camera, and both girls loved looking through magnifying glasses and reading about the exhibits. It was great to see.

We must have spent a good couple of hours going round the museum!

Photos from the Museum of Natural History

Pitt Rivers Museum

Having had their fill of fossils and creepy-crawlies, we headed next door into the Pitt Rivers Museum. The Museum displays archaeological and ethnographic objects from all parts of the world.

It was founded in 1884 when General Pitt Rivers, an influential figure in the development of archaeology and evolutionary anthropology, gave his collection to the University. The General’s collection contained more than 18,000 objects but there are now over half a million!

There were two things the girls wanted to do here:

  1. Do their world-famous wooden mouse trail
  2. Visit the gift shop to spend some of their pocket money

We picked up the mouse trail sheets and pencils, and off the girls went!

Talk about a change from the last time we went. I was hardly needed this time. They were looking at the map and figuring out where to go all on their own. What a difference a couple if years makes!

I think it took them about 20 minutes to find all of the hidden mice, but they had a good time doing it which is the main thing.

Trail finished it was off to the gift shop to pick up their stickers (for finishing the trail) and to see what they could buy.

Money spent, and a little gift each for Asri, Eleni and Shelli picked up too, we headed off back towards town.

Photos from the Pitt Rivers Museum

Wadham College Chapel

As we made our way along the road back to town we passed Wadham College. Unlike every other time I’ve been into Oxford, when every college seemed to be closed to the public, there was an open sign outside. Never having had a look round before we all went in to look round the main square and the chapel.

Trying to get into the chapel was a bit of an ordeal. I think a guided tour had been in there and as we went to go through the door they started to come out. So we waited. And we waited. And we waited some more as something like 30 people came out!

It was only a small chapel so I was glad we hadn’t been in there with everyone else. We had plenty of room to move about and to look at the stained-glass windows and the like. It was a very pretty little chapel that’s for sure.

Photos from the Wadham College Chapel

The Journey Home

Before we went to the museums I’d promised the girls that if they were good I’d take them to buy a cookie at Ben’s Cookies in the covered market; quite possibly THE best cookies I’ve ever had!

We made our way to the market, taking in the Hertford Bridge, popularly known as the Bridge of Sighs, and the Radcliffe Camera (Camera, meaning “room” in Latin), before getting to the covered market just as it started to spit with rain.

We looked round the market, eventually getting to Ben’s Cookies, where we all decided to get one of their triple chocolate cookies…delicious!

Cookies scoffed we started to make our way to the train station, but the weather had a different idea; it absolutely chucked it down! The rain drops were huge and freezing cold so we ducked into W H Smith.

We had a look round the books, where Elisa decided to buy a joke book with he pocket money.

Rain stopped, we headed off to the station again where we had a short wait before our train home. Elisa told us lots of the “jokes” from her new book and it wasn’t long before we arrived back at Goring station.

A great day out.

Photos from the Journey Home