It’s said that Oxford was spared from Nazi air raids because Hitler planned to make this elegant seat of learning England’s new capital. Oxford did in fact serve as a capital city during the English Civil War (1642–51), when King Charles I made the city his Royalist base for much of the con ict. The city, and especially its university, provided core Royalist support. The King resided in Christ Church; Parliament was held in Oxford; the Royal Mint moved to the city; weapons, gunpowder and the production of soldiers’ uniforms became bustling industries; and the serenity of New College and its cloisters was interrupted when it was used as a munitions store. Despite Royalist efforts, the city fell to the Parliamentarians in 1646.
Modern visitors will nd the Oxford of today a more tranquil place, whose reputation as a world-class seat of learning can be felt within the hallowed walls of the Bodleian Library and the iconic Radcliffe Camera. Take in historic colleges from Christ Church and Magdalen to Keble, drop by the Ashmolean Museum for a global array of artefacts and stories, and glide along the river on a traditional punt. www.experienceoxfordshire.org