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Places to stay in Oxford
Oxford is, without a doubt, one of the most famous locations in the British Isles, and for a wide variety of reasons. Perhaps best-known for being the home of the University of Oxford - the oldest university in the country and the English-speaking world - this location, known as "the city of dreaming spires", is also celebrated for its stunning architecture that survived the war due to its inland location and lack of industry.
As well as the beautiful complex of university buildings, there are plenty of museums and shopping experiences to be had around this fabulous city, as well as no fewer than 28 nature reserves inside Oxford ring road alone.
As one of the most visually-stunning and historical cities in the UK, Oxford is a place that is well worth a visit - especially with a YHA hostel at the very heart of the city happy to take visitors young and old. Recommended by Rough Guides as a 2012 hotspot to explore the city from, it may be the break you've been looking for.
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Five Free Things To Do
Just nine miles away from Oxford city centre, Blenheim Palace is one of the most celebrated monumental country houses and the residence of the dukes of Marlborough. The only non-royal country house to hold the title of palace, it was designated a World Heritage Site in 1987.
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Open daily from 10am to 5pm, over 300,000 visitors a year head to learn about geology, mineralogy, zoology and entomology; it also hosts major exhibits on dinosaurs and the dodo.
Opened in 2009 after extensive redevelopment, this museum has plenty of fantastic artefacts, including the Alfred Jewel, watercolours and paintings by Turner, the only surviving "as new"-quality Stradivarius violin, and an Arab ceremonial dress owned by Lawrence of Arabia.
Blackwell's Bookshop claims the largest single room devoted to book sales in all of Europe, known as the Norrington Room - measuring a whopping 10,000 sq ft.
The Headington Shark
It's not often that you can claim to have seen a shark embedded head-first in the roof of a suburban house, but a quick visit to 2 New High Street, Headington will offer a somewhat bizarre sculpture exactly like this.