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Landmarks <div class="thumb tnone" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right:auto; width:99%; max-width:Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "{".px;">

The spires of Oxford facing Christ Church to the south (Christ Church Cathedral on the left and Tom Tower on the right)

Oxford has numerous major tourist attractions, many belonging to the university and colleges. As well as several famous institutions, the town centre is home to Carfax Tower and the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, both of which offer views over the spires of the city. Many tourists shop at the historic Covered Market. In the summer punting on the Thames/Isis and the Cherwell is popular.

View from Carfax Tower
The Malmaison Hotel in Oxford Castle

University of Oxford

{{#invoke:main|main}} The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world<ref>A brief history of the University – University of Oxford</ref> and one of the most famous and prestigious higher education institutions of the world, averaging five applications to every available place, and attracting 40% of its academic staff and 15% of undergraduates from overseas.<ref name="autogenerated1">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> It is currently ranked as fifth-best university in the world, according to QS World Rankings,<ref>QS World University Rankings – Topuniversities</ref> behind its main UK rival, Cambridge, in first place.

Oxford is renowned for its tutorial-based method of teaching, with students attending an average of one one-hour tutorial a week.<ref name="autogenerated1"/>

The city centre

As well as being a major draw for tourists (9.1 million in 2008, similar in 2009),<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Oxford city centre has many shops, several theatres and an ice rink. The historic buildings make this location a popular target for film and TV crews.

The city centre is relatively small, and is centred on Carfax, a cross-roads which forms the junction of Cornmarket Street (pedestrianised), Queen Street (semi-pedestrianised), St Aldate's and the High. Cornmarket Street and Queen Street are home to Oxford's various chain stores, as well as a small number of independent retailers, one of the longest established of which is Boswell's, which was founded in 1738.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> St Aldate's has few shops but has several local government buildings, including the town hall, the city police station and local council offices. The High (the word street is traditionally omitted) is the longest of the four streets and has a number of independent and high-end chain stores, but mostly university and college buildings.

There are two small shopping centres in the city centre: The Clarendon Centre<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> and the Westgate Centre.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The Westgate Centre is named for the original West Gate in the city wall, and is located at the west end of Queen Street. It is quite small and contains a number of chain stores and a supermarket. The Westgate Shopping Centre is to undergo a large and controversial refurbishment; the plans involve tripling the size of the centre to {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}, a new 1,335 space underground car park and 90 new shops and bars, including a {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} John Lewis department store. There is to be a new and improved transport system, a complete refurbishment of the existing centre and the surrounding Bonn Square area. The development plans include a number of new homes, and completion is expected in 2011, although this is being delayed due to the current financial climate.

Blackwell's Bookshop is a large bookshop which claims the largest single room devoted to book sales in the whole of Europe, the cavernous Norrington Room (10,000 sq ft).<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

Other attractions

Parks and nature walks

Oxford is a very green city, with several parks and nature walks within the ring road, as well as several sites just outside the ring road. In total, 28 nature reserves exist within or just outside of Oxford ring road, including:

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