Cities full of culture and history

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Sunday, November 14, 2010

 During our visit to London, Yee Ling and I took a day trip to Oxford. The university town is quite  small, so exploring the place by foot is quite manageable. We did our own self guide tour of the town exploring streets and various colleges. All in all I was pretty amazed by the sheer size of the colleges in Oxford University. Once you visit the colleges and read a bit about the traditions of Oxford university you really get a sense of the prestige, tradition and heritage associated with the university. The university is made up of 39 colleges so if you plan on visiting some you should choose a couple which you wish to visit. We went inside the Magdalen College which has the most extensive grounds of any Oxford College. 

No kidding the College was huge! Inside the college there was a deer park, water meadows and a river. It definitely gives a new meaning to campus life. 


Edinburgh definitely has an English feel and atmosphere and is quite a contrast to London. Whereas the streets in London tend to be buzzing with activity at any time of the day, in Edinburgh everything seems more relaxed and as you walk down the streets you are surrounded by old buildings. The buildings are not as clean as the ones in London, but they definitely have character. At night when the lights illuminate the buildings, the strip along the Royal Mile looks completely different. If it's dark enough the place can feel slightly scary with the dark buildings looming all around you. 

I would definitely recommend doing one of the free walking tours offered by the New Europe group. The tours are usually 3 hours long but cover most of the main things to see in Edinburgh. The guides also give a great low down on Scottish history which can be very informative. Just walking through the streets, it's easy to see where JK Rowling got her inspiration when conjuring up the scenes in Harry Potter. The winding streets and shops feel like a scene out of a classic english novel

If you are up for a good workout consider conquering Arthur's seat a 251m high hill that rises about Edinburgh. From the top you get an amazing panoramic view of the whole city. Note - make sure you wear good walking shoes as the path up and down can be quite slippery.

Another interesting tour is the Real Mary Close Tour- basically it's a tour which takes you through the closes (roads) hidden beneath the Royal Mile. The guide dresses up in old style costume and puts on an old english accent. If you do this tour, do it at night as you be in the dark anyways so that way you don't use up the precious hours of sunlight. 

Things to Do in Edinburgh
- Take the free walking tour
- Try some shortbread - The one you find in the tesco's freshed baked goods section is amazing. 
- Try some traditional Scottish food - Haggis and Irn Bru - you might not like it but I guess it's something you should try when in Scottland.
- Conquer Arthur's Seat - the view is awesome!
- Watch the sunset from Carlton Hill

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