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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Oxford vs. Cambridge: England's rival college towns | Toronto Sun

Cambridge and Oxford have been in a centuries-long competition as England’s top two universities – but I’ve always felt that seeing one is enough. The big question is: Which one? reports Rick Steves, Special to Postmedia.


For years, I’ve had it lodged in my mind that Cambridge was much better to visit than Oxford. But on a recent visit, I changed my view. Though it’s a close call, I’d give an edge to bustling Oxford – the more substantial town with plenty to see and do. Cambridge is a close second, with lovely gardens along the River Cam and a simpler, charming atmosphere.
Both towns are only an hour’s train ride away from London, with Oxford to the west and Cambridge to the north, making each a fun and doable day-trip. Cambridge, with fewer accommodations, works better as a side-trip from London than as a stopover. Oxford can keep you busy sightseeing for a longer time and has plenty of good hotels – so it’s worth a longer stay...

Founded in the 11th century, the University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and is known for its academic achievements and stellar alumni. Its many graduates have influenced the course of Western civilization in the realms of science, literature, politics, philosophy, and beyond (among its amazing alumni are Margaret Thatcher, Stephen Hawking, and Oscar Wilde)...

The younger of the two, historic Cambridge is the quintessential university town. Just like Oxford it’s full of bookstores, grand residence halls, and studious types biking to and from class. Originally founded in 1209 by some rebellious Oxford students, Cambridge now hosts 12,000 undergrads across 31 colleges, all with the same layout: Green, monastic-type courtyards surrounded by chapels, libraries and housing.
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Source: Toronto Sun