I have been living in Oxford for over 4 years now. I came here to study on a very nice spring morning in 2007. It is very quiet, peaceful place compared to London. Historical buildings and nature are mixed in a pleasant way in here. I will try my best to pass my knowledge on Oxford to you. Hopefully it would be useful for one.
Oxford University doesn't have one big yard and building that cover all subjects or labs. It actually covers the center of Oxford with its 44 colleges and labs/departments, parks, sport fields, museums and libraries etc. Each college is good at different subjects. Each college has its own hall and chapel in its field. Unfortunately most of them are closed to the public but you can always try to go in.
I have seen most of them as I worked for an agency that sends people to work in colleges when they need extra staff. Most of them have the same system of working. Different architectural styles could be seen in different colleges.
The most beautiful college for me, is Keble.
It was built with those red bricks and it stands out among others. ( I just learned from my friend who did his PhD in Oxford University, there was a group of people that were against Keble's architecture style as it is different than other colleges that were built of sand stones. He said, they were saying if one of them takes a brick in every year none would realize but it would take ages.) :)
Keble has the most beautiful ceiling I have ever seen in my entirely life. I would be devastated if they did something like that as it is really beautiful. Well, I might change my mind when I visit Rome in May and seeing Vatican but you know it is impressive. And you know what, you can actually stay over there. It is amazing opportunity to experience the feeling of living in historic Oxford between students. Plus they are cheaper than most of the hotels in Oxford and the service they provide is amazing. You can have breakfast and in some colleges even dinner in the hall with students. If you go to any hall in Oxford colleges, you will see a lot of paintings on the wall. Those are paintings of old wardens of the college that you are in.
Lets start with Accommodation then,
If you want to experience staying in a college then go to
http://www.oxfordrooms.co.uk I am sure you will be satisfied.
Really good but expensive ones. Their room prices change from £130 to £200, depends on season.
The Randolph Hotel
www.randolph-hotel.com - Beaumont St, Oxford - 01865 256 400
Malmaison www.malmaison.com - Oxford Castle, 3 New Rd, Oxford - 01865 268 400
The Old Bank Hotel
www.oldbank-hotel.co.uk - 92-94 High Street, Oxford - 01865 799 599
Mercure Eastgate Hotel www.accorhotels.com - 73 High Street, OXFORD - 01865 248 332
Old Parsonage Hotel
www.oldparsonage-hotel.co.uk - 1-3 Banbury Rd, Oxford - 01865 310 210
Royal Oxford Hotel
Cheaper versions but OK ones:
The Buttery Hotel - http://www.thebutteryhotel.co.uk/ - It is in the middle of the city center. Amazing location, Never been there but I heard really good comments.
Cotswold Lodge Hotel - http://www.cotswoldlodgehotel.co.uk - When you see it on the map it may seem that it is a bit far
from the city. Nope, it is not. It's going to take you 5 mins or less by bus or 10-15 min on foot to go to the center.
Nice atmosphere. They have deals most of the time throughout the year.
Tower House - City center - Ship Street Oxford - The owner is an old lady, I believe. Sometimes they have small problem with staff but they are good. It is in the center in a small street, most of the people don't even now there is a b and b. They are cheap too.
Victoria House Hotel - http://www.victoriahouse-hotel.co.uk - Well, I experienced staying that place. If you are not desperate,
I would say try to find another place, seriously. They try to give you a clean room but they have many other things to improve.
The main problem with this place is that they have a night club under it. The night club is open everyday from 9pm until mornings. Again the location is fabulous but still, not such a great place. They are cheaper than lots of city center hotels.
The Galaxie - http://www.galaxie.co.uk - Again nice place, it is a bit further down in Banbury Road than Cotswold Lodge, but it is still okay as there is no big difference in distance to city center.
Noa Residence - It looks very nice place on their website and I think it used to be. Yet I heard they have cleaning issues.
I would not recommend for long stays even though they are trying to market themselves for long staying guests.
In this kind of places like a tiny version of a house that try to give you everything (tv,satellite, fridge, oven, dishwasher etc.) something is always wrong cause they can't actually manage to maintain everything in a way that it should be.
Be careful and ask as many questions as you can for your requests.