Popular North Oxford is just a short walk from the city centre
Just north of the city centre is an area with wide tree lined roads and large individual Gothic style period houses, built in the nineteenth century to house college dons and wealthy tradesmen. It is within energetic walking distance (10–20 minutes) or a short bus ride of the University. The most popular areas for visitors to enjoy a good walk, and relax in a cafe or restaurant are Jericho and Summertown.
Further north is Summertown, a lively shopping and business centre and an attractive residential area with plentiful parking. Roads become narrower but the houses have charm – many are Victorian and Edwardian. Bounded by the Cherwell River to the east and the Oxford Canal to the west, Summertown offers easy access to a good variety of shops and services, sports and leisure facilities, and open countryside.
In the Bible, Jericho signifies a ‘remote place’ and could have referred to the area’s location just outside the Oxford city walls. Today, as a result of its convenient location close to the city centre, Jericho is a desirable area for professionals.
Oxford University Press has its home here, the biggest employer in Oxford in the nineteenth century, encouraging the building of the terraced town cottages to house local workers. Many are well modernised and some are ingeniously enlarged with basement and roof conversions. Jericho is vibrant during the day and even more so at night as it attracts numerous visitors to its arthouse cinema, restaurants, interesting pubs and there are some late night specialist food shops.
Close by is Port Meadow, 350 acres of grassland bordering the Thames and the Oxford Canal. It still provides grazing for freemen’s horses and cattle according to ancient tradition. A major new housing development, Oxford Waterside, is currently under construction beside the canal.
Close to North Oxford with a rural ambience because it overlooks Port Meadow, the common land meadows, and the River Thames. At the top of Port Meadow lie the ruins of the twelfth century Benedictine Godstow Abbey.
Founded by Ediva of Winchester in 1115, Godstow Abbey was receiving financial support from Kings Henry I and II. The site has changed hands several times since then, including to Henry VIII’s physician, George Owen, and successive Earls of Abingdon. It is now owned by Oxford University, and the ruins were made a site of national historical significance in 1949. A visit to Godstow Abbey is usually accompanied by a good walk, and close by in Wolvercote are several good pubs.
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