London view

The rivalry between Britain’s top universities has been an ongoing phenomenon for centuries. Both universities and their respective towns are equally famous around the world; Oxford with its towering spires and wandering alleys and Cambridge with its winding river and leafy meadows, which city is the best for a weekend away? Both cities are beautiful and privileged and hiring a supercar will allow visitors to drive around the cobbled lanes and historic colleges in luxurious style. This guide for both cities covers places to stay, things to do and things to see! Which city will take the best weekend away trophy?

How to get to Oxford and Cambridge from London

Both cities are very close to London. Accessing by train is direct and fast with connections to Cambridge lasting approximately 50 minutes from Kings Cross St Pancras. Oxford can be reached from Paddington station in about the same time. Driving to Cambridge is quick and easy from London M25, just north along the M11 for around 40 miles. Oxford very similar, around 40 miles north-west on the M49. If you’re looking to take the whole family long, consider renting a car through luxury car hire in the UK. There are a range of options available including the luxurious Range Rover Sport.

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Cambridge VS Oxford: Where to stay

The Varsity Hotel in Cambridge is a luxury hotel located in the heart of the city. The boutique chic style meets the classic historic feel of Cambridge and has attracted A listers from around the world including the Beckhams, Daniel Craig, Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz. Upon arrival at The Varsity, hand over the keys of your Range Rover to the hotel’s friendly Valet Parking service. With only 44 rooms, the exclusive hotel celebrates the cultural heritage of Cambridge and the roof terrace and champagne bar offer panoramic views across the university city. The hotel includes gym facilities and a spa with the added option of in-room beauty treatment, massage, facials and hand and foot care. The Old Bank in Oxford is a smart, 42 room hotel in Oxford. It is surrounded by the old buildings of the city and features a buzzing restaurant. The central location means that guests are on the doorstep of the university’s oldest colleges. The hotel has a secure car park offering complimentary parking to its guests. The buildings date back to the 14th century giving the hotel a unique character.

oxford streets

Cambridge VS Oxford: Things to do

You cannot visit Cambridge without punting. As you arrive at the ancient waterway, test out your punting skills by hiring your own punt by the hour. This way you are free to avoid the heavy punt traffic and head to the picturesque village of Grantchester. Moor at Grantchester Meadows before unpacking your picnic basket on the nearby green. The Eagle is a traditional pub which some say dates back to the 14th century. Inside is scattered with many historical rembrandts such as the RAF bar with its famous ceiling, covered with graffiti and messages from American and British WWII pilots. As you walk through Cambridge you may come across Fitzbillies, bar a few narrow misses of students on bicycles. A coffee shop, Fitzbillies is well known for its Chelsea Buns. The Cambridge Fudge Kitchen produces fudge in the store front and guests are welcome to watch and taste as the ingredients are mixed before your eyes. 

Cambridge

Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford exhibits a collection of over half a million objects from all over the world. The cabinets of horrors are avoided by a lot of visitors however it is very interesting and should not be missed! The shrunken heads are a result of the removal of certain parts of the head in various creatures followed by the heating and curing of the skin. The traditional procedure originates from the tribes of the Andes, who produced them to capture a fallen warrior’s soul. Oxford too offers punting on the river Thames which runs through the city. Just like Cambridge, self drive and chauffeured services are available. After your Oxford style punting trip, wander around to Oxford Castle which was built in 1071 for William the Conqueror. Astonishingly, a prison located within the castle continued to operate until 1996. It was mainly used to house prisoners from Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Public executions were held on the Castle tower with last one taking place in 1863. If you’re looking to experience the countryside, the perfect way to see the green green hills of Oxfordshire is via the Midsomer Murders Private Tour. Any fans of DCI Barnaby and crew will be delighted to see the historic towns of Wallingford, Henley on Thames and Thame – all used as locations for the famous television series. Heading back into the cobbled side streets of Oxford, local watering hole The Turf Tavern is hidden down a tiny passageway. Venture through the shadows of the city walls to this hidden haunt usually visited by locals and students. The three courtyards in the tavern play host to medieval entertainments for all the family. Join the long list of figures who have sat down in the Turf Tavern for a drink, the likes of Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Taylor and CS Lewis. 

oxford-university

Although Oxford will be sure to marvel any visitor with its breathtaking historical towers and narrow cobbled lanes, the magnificent beauty of Cambridge and its relaxed countryside atmosphere creates a unique visiting experience. Combined with its famous waterway, pubs on every corner, and museums, the home of gravity – Isaac Newton studies at the university’s Trinity College and discovered the generalised binomial theorem – the city is relatively easy to navigate with plenty of high quality accommodation choices.