Wreathed in its instantly recognisable honey coloured limestone and topped with its so-called 'dreaming spires', Oxford presents much more than just a pretty picture. Oxford has a reputation as one of the finest in England, with a university that is undoubtedly one of the best in the world. The colleges of course make for easy sightseeing - around every corner is yet another glorious example of collegiate architecture, but there are also plenty of museums and art galleries to be explored, not to mention shops, bars, restaurants, cafes and, of course, punting.
Carfax clock tower can be found at the very centre of Oxford, at the junction between four of its main streets: St Aldgate's, Cornmarket, Queen Street and High Street. From here, the heart of the city is arguably found a short walk away outside the Radcliffe Camera. This oft-photographed library is the poster child for Oxford University, its domed roof and circular foundation surrounded on all sides by other, just as photogenic, outposts of the colleges; and, of course, you're not far from the Bodleian Library, with its 11 million works and ancient heritage. You're also within sight of the famous Bridge of Sighs which connects the two sides of Hertford College.
Backing onto Radcliffe Square is Exeter College. Founded in the early 14th century, this is where Tolkien first studied at here, and was also the inspiration for Philip Pullman's Jordan College in His Dark Materials. It is also, despite its diminutive size, one of the most regularly filmed colleges in Oxford, which means you may recognise it from any number of television shows and films, but most notably the film adaptation of Northern Lights, and Inspector Morse.
For more Tolkienesque adventures, you can visit his grave in Wolvercote, about two miles north of Oxford, as well as Pembroke College where Tolkien was a fellow throughout the time he was writing The Hobbit. There are, of course, literary landmarks all over the city, and it wouldn't be hard to spend your time going from pub to pub where various groups of authors or intellectuals (or both) are said to have regularly met. The Eagle and Child on St Giles' Street for example is where Tolkien and C.S Lewis' literary band of brothers met during term time, before switching to the Lamb and Flag on the opposite side of the street.
Oxford's history doesn't begin and end with the university and its illustrious graduates, however, and there are plenty more attractions to be seen, such as the fascinating Ashmolean Museum, the unique Pitt Rivers Museum and the Museum of the History of Science which houses the world's most extensive collection of scientific instruments. It is also home to a blackboard covered in scientific equations used by Einstein in 1931! If that's not enough to satisfy your curiosity, the Botanic Gardens, founded in 1621 to study medicinal plants, is a wonderful way to while away an afternoon.