Glimpses of Oxford's glory on a sunny March Sunday
With all the wonderful weather we had in the week I was in England, it seemed like a good idea to walk around the streets of Oxford at the weekend and see what was in bloom, en route to the Botanical Garden near Magdalen Bridge. Many of the Oxford colleges have wonderful gardens, and open their doors to prying eyes once the gardens start to bloom.
Beautiful, clear blue skies do a lot to enhance the way the plants look in the glasshouses here at the University's Botanic Garden - just look at this jungly scene in the cactus house. There's not much on show in the garden right now because the beds are being prepared for spring, but it's a lovely place to wander around and I have to confess that I sneaked in right before closing, so was treated to the wonderful watery light that you find at the end of a wintery March day.
I'm a fan of glasshouses at any time of year - just to lurk and look at what's inside is a real pleasure for me, even if there aren't any lilies in the winter. This is the oldest botanical garden in England and is home to over 8,000 species of plants - all found within a 4.5 acre plot in the middle of the city and bounded by the River Cherwell.
And of course, if the glasshouses don't appeal, you've always got the option of taking a punt on the River Cherwell (above), although I'm told by my son who's a student in the city, that this is not a sport students can afford on their grants - they definitely need their parents to foot the bill! Wander round the city and you'll be treated to architectural gems wherever you look, like Hertford Bridge (below), which is also known as the Bridge of Sighs after its famous counterpart in Venice, although in reality it looks more like the Rialto Bridge.