Oxford is a city in South East England. The city is world famous for its medieval university, the University of Oxford, which is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, as well as the academic leading university across the world. Oxford is regarded by the poet Matthew Arnold as the city of “dreaming spires“, demonstrating the harmonious architecture of Oxford’s university buildings. Oxford has buildings of every British architectural period, including the iconic building. Radcliffe Camera of the mid-18th century. Two rivers, Cherwell and Thames, run through Oxford and meet south of the city centre.
Centred on Carfax, the Oxford city centre is relatively small. Carfax is a cross-road on which a clock tower stands, and which is the junction of Com-market Street, Queen Street, St. Aldate’s and the High. Pedestrianised Commarket Street and semi-pedes-trianised Queen Street are home to Oxford’s various chain stores, as well as a small number of independent retailers. St. Aldate’s is the location of a number of local-govemment buildings, including the Town Hall, the city police station and local council offices. However, there are still few shops on St. Aldate’s. There are a large number of independent and high-end chain stores on the High. Furthermore, two small shopping centres are in the city centre: the Clarendon Centre and the Westgate Centre. The Clarendon Shopping Centre is located to the west of Commarket Street and to the north of Queen Street, while the Westgate Shopping Centre is located at the west end of Queen Street, where the west gate of the city of Oxford used to be situated.
In addition, to a great many shops, there are also several theatres and cinemas in the city centre, such as the Burton Taylor Theatre, the Oxford Playhouse, the New Theatre, the Old Fire Station Theatre and the Odeon Cinema. The Burton Taylor Theatre is a 50-seater studio theatre owned by Oxford University. It mainly plays host to small-budget productions, as well as used for student productions and for rehearsals. It is situated on Gloucester Street, close to the Oxford Playhouse, which is on Beaumont Street. The Oxford Playhouse is a larger professional theatre and manages the Burton Taylor Theatre on behalf of the University. The New Theatre is the main commercial theatre in Oxford, and has a capacity of 1,800 people. It is located in George Street in the city centre, and puts on a variety of shows, from musical theatre to stand-up comedy to gigs. The Old Fire Station Theatre is also situated at George Street, and is one of the smaller studio theatres in the city. About 20 student shows are performed there per year, with the rest of time being filled by a mixture of professional, semi-pro, and community theatre. The Odeon Cinema is a British cinema chain, which is the largest cinema chain in Europe.
Oxford has a lot of tourist attractions, many belonging to the university and colleges, such as the Ashmolean Museum, the Bodleian Library, Oxford Botanic Garden, Sheldonian Theatre, and more. There are also many landmarks in Oxford, as Carfax Tower and the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Many tourists should shop at the historic Covered Market. Moreover, Blackwell Bookshop is also a very popular tourist attraction in Oxford. It claims the largest bookshop in the whole of Europe.