Last Sunday I incorporated my morning run with a sightseeing tour of Oxford. What was it like to visit the city bereft of students and visitors?
At Redbridge Park and Ride I stepped out of the car and heard a blackbird singing. Not particularly unusual but something I’ve never registered on the Abingdon Road before.
There were seven other cars in the car park, and a bored looking bus driver waiting for passengers. Indeed, the only motorised traffic I saw as I ran along the Abingdon Road were empty Park and Ride buses.
Oxford city centre
In the city centre Carfax was deserted. Not even a pigeon.
Pret was the only place open in Cornmarket Street.
I wonder if anyone is living at the Randolph during lockdown?
Or wandering around the exhibits at the Ashmolean?
St Giles would normally be choked with buses dropping off visiting groups but again, empty.
With the lack of people I decided to get arty with my photos. I photographed lots of telephone boxes, lamp posts, doors and postboxes!
I took a slight detour down the passage beside the Lamb and Flag. It still smells like a pub.
I retraced my steps up St Giles. I wonder if the fair will happen this year?
I’ve never noticed how brightly coloured the houses are along Broad Street. My occasional trips down here are usually focused on avoiding large groups of tourists.
Oxford libraries and colleges
The gates to the Sheldonian were locked so it wasn’t possible to walk around the courtyard. On the bright side I got a photograph with no-one else in it.
No students using the Weston Library. It was weird seeing a city, built for students, without them.
But it was incredible to see Oxford as a solitary tourist.
At the Radcliffe Camera I met a man who’d cycled from Witney to take photos of the colleges and empty streets.
I trotted down to the Plain roundabout and stood in the middle of the road to take more photographs. No bikes, no taxis and no buses.
The punts at Magdalen Bridge were open and available for hire. Socially distanced arrows marked where the prospective punters should stand.
This is a sneaky shot from behind the Botanic Gardens. The gardens are at their prime right now. How sad so few can see them.
The only vaguely busy place was the footpath beside the Thames back to Donnington Bridge. Sunday morning strollers, cyclists and and canoeists were out enjoying the sun.
My morning finished, back near the Park and Ride, with another bird. Take a listen to this cuckoo (with added ambulance siren). An Oxford first for me.
With the imminent re-opening of the shops I doubt I’ll ever see this version of Oxford again. If you fancy experiencing the same then you’ll need to visit soon!