Two cities. Two universities. Years of rivalry.
The universities of Oxford and Cambridge have been frenemies for over 800 years, ever since they were the only two universities in Great Britain. Today, the rivalry gets most heated for the annual Oxford and Cambridge boat races and rugby clashes.
So here’s the deal. They’re both great at punting (think Venetian gondolas without the stripy tees), they both have chess sets dedicated to them, they both have impressive architecture and grounds, and they’re both around 60 miles from London. But which to choose…
Best of Oxford
Cosy pubs famous writers plotted novels, a vibrant student culture, keen cyclists, and historic architecture you may recognize from your favourite movies – It’s a history lover’s dream! Here’s our pick of what makes Oxford that extra bit special.
Famous alumni: Oscar Wilde, Stephen Hawking and Rowan Atkinson.
Food: Turl Street Kitchen. A menu of local produce that changes every sitting, depending on the weather and what’s in season.
Pub: The Bear Inn. Oxford’s oldest pub dating back to 1242, you’ll find it down cobble stoned Alfred Street.
Museum: Modern Art Oxford. Browse the cutting-edge modern and contemporary art on offer, see live music or catch a talk at this central Oxford gallery. Once you’re done, grab a slice of delicious homemade cake and mint tea in the popular café.
Music: Catweazle Club. This is alternative Oxford at its best. Don’t miss Thursday’s open mic night. Or maybe do, if you’re stage shy.
Do: Harry Potter walking tour. Walk in the footsteps of Harry and explore the historic locations throughout the city and colleges that inspired Hogwarts and were used in the films. Wands at the ready!
Best of Cambridge
Much like it’s rival, Cambridge is a buzzing university town with students nipping around on bikes, riverside ‘backs’ to lounge in and an impressive campus that’s older than the United States. Spend the day wandering the leafy college grounds or take it all in on the river with a spot of punting. Here’s what else makes Cambridge a firm favourite.
Famous alumni: Charles Darwin, Tom Hiddleston and David Attenborough.
Food: Cambridge is for food truck fanatics. Veggies try the Wandering Yak, not-so-veggies head to Steak and Honour.
Pub: Free Press Pub. A printshop-turned-drinking hole, with great craft beer and a log fire.
Museum: Kettle’s Yard. The former home of Tate Gallery curator Jim Ede, this is one of England’s best galleries. First, explore the quirky house filled with beautifully curated 20th century art then get your modern art fix in the newly expanded adjoining gallery.
Music: Cambridge Junction. Cambridge’s most diverse performance venue, with big names and underground talent.
Do: Rent a bike and cycle to Grantchester for tea at the Orchard Tea Garden.