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Oxford History

Oxford History Oxford has always been ahead of the times and it is for this reason that it can claim many unusual firsts.

It has the oldest music performance hall in Europe in the shape of the Holywell Music Room (built in 1748) and can also, naturally, lay claim to having the oldest English-speaking university in the world in the shape of Oxford University.

You probably first read about Oxford in the dreamy laments of romantic poets such as Browning and Matthew Arnold, or the more modern detective thrillers of Colin Dexter, but did you know that Oxford has more published writers per square mile than anywhere in the world? Books have been printed in Oxford since 1478 and one of its most read exports is the Oxford English Dictionary.

Oxford excels in sporting achievements and one of its most famous came in 1954 when Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes at Oxford’s Iffley Road sports ground.

There’s also the regatta at Henley where some of the world’s best rowers meet for a day packed with thrills and spills. The regatta dates back to 1839 and still proves to be a great day for the whole family to enjoy.

If you’re looking for something quirky why not stop for a pint at The Bear Inn, which is believed to be the oldest pub in Oxford, dating back to 1242. However, don’t wear your best suit as the owner has a huge collection of snipped-off ties (in exchange for a free pint).

Not far from Oxford town centre is the The White Horse of Uffington which is thought to be the oldest hill figure in Britain. It is 374 feet long and thought to date back 12,000 years, to the late Bronze Age. From this one equine historians have been able to piece together the fascinating history of the area.

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