Oxford is a small city that punches above its weight. The centre can be covered on foot in around twenty minutes and its population hovers around the 150,000 mark. Yet it remains one of UK’s most visited locations – wooing tourists with its Hogwarts-style architecture, Morse connections and a university ranked among the best in the world. And then there’s its food and drink scene, which perhaps more than anything else encapsulates the spirit of modern-day Oxford: urbane, cosmopolitan and quietly fizzing with creative energy.
Pocketed among the narrow cobbled lanes and historic colleges are oodles of smart cafes, duck-and-enter inns and cosmopolitan restaurants, with enough variety to cater for tourists, students and locals. The historic city centre, complete with a section of the River Thames called Isis, is the main draw for most, but surrounding areas such as Cowley, Jericho and Summertown boast first-class options of their own and tend to be a tad more relaxed.