Starting in 2013 with the extension of the flight services in to Oxford Airport and the continuation of Manx2's flights from the Isle of Man into Gloucetser, the beautiful cities of Oxford and Gloucesterare now ideal destinations for visitors from all over the world. Both cities offer visitors wonderful opportunities for weekend breaks, or can act as the starting points for exploring the delights of the Cotswolds and the surrounding country side.
Oxford is one of the world's great centres of learning and its many different university colleges make for excellent starting points for walking tours of the city to discover its rich heritage and culture. The city has many fascinating museums, none more so than the multi-award-winning Ashmolean, situated directly opposite another famous city landmark, The Randolph Hotel. There are many ways of seeing the city - the Tourist Office on Broad Street is the starting point for many of these. Every part of the city's diverse history has its own specialists, whether your interests lie in pursuing the works of C S Lewis, visiting Christ Church Cathedral (always popular with younger visitors, due to its association with the films of the Harry Potter stories), or the ever-popular Morse's Walking Tours, dedicated to following the locations of murders and other grisly deeds from the iconic stories of Oxford's favourite detective, and his now equally-as-respected partner, Inspector Lewis. Other favourite places to visit include Oxford Castle and the Carfax Tower, both of which offer unrivalled views of the 'Dreaming Spires', which are such famous landmarks of this great city.
Outside of Oxford lie many places of interest, such as Dorchester Abbey and the riverside town of Abingdon to the south, or to the north, Woodstock, with the world heritage site of Blenheim Palace on its doorstep. Testament to Van Brugh's architectural brilliance and Capability Brown's vision, Blenheim remains one of Britain's greatest stately homes, and as birthplace of Winston Churchill, one of the country's historic treasures. Woodstock makes for a wonderful starting point for exploring the delightful Cotswolds, with their beautiful yellow sandstone villages and wonderful rolling scenery. Shoppaholics are well-catered for too, with Bicester Village Retail Park, now one of the country's, as well as Oxfordshire's, top tourist attractions.
On the other side of the Cotswolds, is the great city of Gloucester, whose skyline is dominated by its great Cathedral, one of the finest examples of medieval building work in the UK. Close by to Gloucester is Cheltenham, which is probably most well-known for its Ladies' College and being the centre for its annual festival of national hunt horse-racing, which sees the town being turned green by racing enthusiasts visiting from the Emerald Isle.
Oxford and Gloucester offer excellent accommodation choices across the price-range. In Oxford, the most famous choices are The Randolph, and The Malmaison, a conversion of Oxford's historic prison into a characterful hotel, where the hotel rooms are formerly the prison cells...but fortunately, a lot more comfortable, and the food is a lot better now as well ! Gloucester and its surroundings have many good quality hotels to offer, but also a great range of country-pubs.
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