Central Oxford – Oxford City Centre
Oxford city centre – a magnet for over 9 million visitors
The centre of Oxford is dominated by the University colleges, the most famous being Christ Church, Trinity, and Balliol, and along with a plethora of world famous sites and attractions is a magnet for over 9 million visitors each year. Most visitors to Oxford City centre orient themselves around Carfax, a crossroads which forms the junction of Cornmarket Street, Queen Street, St Aldate’s and the High. St Martin’s Tower, popularly called Carfax Tower, is on the northwest corner of Carfax and a perfect opportunity for a photo.
From Carfax stretches The High to the east – ‘One of the world’s great streets’ (Nikolaus Pevsner) and has a number of independent and high-end chain stores, but mostly university and college buildings. St. Aldates to the south, has a few boutique shops, the local government building including Oxford Town Hall, and leads down to the river, Cornmarket to the north and Queen Street to the west – the latter two being the main shopping streets of Oxford.
Another iconic Oxford street is St Giles, a wide boulevard leading north from the city centre of Oxford. The Playhouse Theatre, the Randolph Hotel, and Oxford’s principle (and world famous) museum – the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, are just a few of St. Giles’ many riches.
At the south end lies the recently restored Martyrs’ Memorial which commemorates Archbishop Cranmer and Protestant Bishops Latimer and Ridley who were burnt at the stake in Tudor times by the Roman Catholic Queen Mary. A cross in the road outside Balliol college marks the actual spot of the execution.
Oxford city centre offers an extensive range of shops and restaurants. At the end of Queen Street lies The Westgate, a modern shopping complex. Further shopping centres are found at the Clarendon Centre (between Queen Street and Cornmarket), and the Golden Cross arcade next to the famous Covered Market.
Not far away lies the recently redeveloped Gloucester Green, next to the bus station, where a weekly fresh produce market is held.
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