Oxford – without tourists!

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.

Looking up to St Aldate’s
Looking up to St Aldate’s

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

Carfax
Carfax

In the city centre Carfax was deserted. Not even a pigeon.

Cornmarket Street
Cornmarket Street

Pret was the only place open in Cornmarket Street.

Randolph Hotel and Beaumont St
Randolph Hotel and Beaumont St

I wonder if anyone is living at the Randolph during lockdown?

Ashmolean museum
Ashmolean museum

Or wandering around the exhibits at the Ashmolean?

St Giles
St Giles

St Giles would normally be choked with buses dropping off visiting groups but again, empty.

St Giles
St Giles

With the lack of people I decided to get arty with my photos. I photographed lots of telephone boxes, lamp posts, doors and postboxes!

Lamb and Flag passage
Lamb and Flag passage

I took a slight detour down the passage beside the Lamb and Flag. It still smells like a pub.

Martyrs memorial and Randolph Hotel
Martyrs memorial and Randolph Hotel

I retraced my steps up St Giles. I wonder if the fair will happen this year?

Broad Street
Broad Street

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

Sheldonian Theatre
Sheldonian Theatre

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.

Weston library
Weston library

No students using the Weston Library. It was weird seeing a city, built for students, without them.

Hertford (Bridge of Sighs), Oxford
Hertford (Bridge of Sighs), Oxford

But it was incredible to see Oxford as a solitary tourist.

Radcliffe Camera
Radcliffe Camera

At the Radcliffe Camera I met a man who’d cycled from Witney to take photos of the colleges and empty streets.

Magdalen Tower, Oxford
Magdalen Tower, Oxford

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.

Punts at Magdalen Bridge, Oxford
Punts at Magdalen Bridge, Oxford

The punts at Magdalen Bridge were open and available for hire. Socially distanced arrows marked where the prospective punters should stand.

Botanic gardens, Oxford
Botanic gardens, Oxford

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.

View from Folly Bridge
View from Folly Bridge

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!

One Reply to “Oxford – without tourists!”

  1. One of my lockdown highlights was an evening in Oxford strolling the near empty streets. Such a beautiful city that we’re so fortunate to live near.

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