A skyline of dreaming spires, domed theatres and college gargoyles, Oxford inspires. Chain up your bike outside university colleges to peek past the porters onto quadrant lawns. The last time we counted there were 38. Pack up picnics for pauses in wonderful attractions including deer parks, meadow flood plains and exotic botanic gardens in this central-southern city. Be brave and try punting while you’re visiting for the weekend. It's the best way to see the River Isis in all its glory. After dark squeeze into side-street city pubs with rowdy students or master the arts at fringe theatres.