Must do in Oxford
1. Stroll city
The marvel of Oxford is that so many attractions are within an easy stroll of the railway station (train is the best way to get here - otherwise use park-and-ride as city-centre parking is diabolical). Shops, colleges, the excellent covered market and gracious buildings such as Christopher Wren's Sheldonian Theatre are packed together. A favourite walk of mine leads via the City Museum to Christ Church College (the Great Hall is Hogwarts Hall). Walk on through the water meadows alongside the Thames and Cherwell, past the spot where, in 1784, James Sadler became the first Briton to fly (in a balloon) to the University Botanic Garden, the oldest in Britain. Then back to the Bodleian Library (its Divinity School is the Hogwarts library) for the one-hour tour.
2. Pitt stop
The Pitt Rivers Museum is one of my favourite museums anywhere in the world. Reopened in May after a Lottery-funded makeover, this is a spectacularly diverse (and free) collection of the objects that make people different. Splendidly old-fashioned display cases are crammed with the unexpected - Hawaiian feather cloaks in brilliant shades of red and yellow, ceremonial ivories from Benin, actors' masks from Japanese Noh dramas, Inuit fur parkas, decorated moccasins and magic amulets. Lieutenant-General Pitt Rivers made an original gift of 18, 000 objects in 1884, some collected on Captain Cook's voyage in the 1770s. Later travellers have added a further 300, 000 objects. It adjoins the Museum of Natural History, with its dodo and display on Alice In Wonderland. www.prm.ox.ac.uk.
3. Locations to kill for
You could easily find your own way around the settings for the many books, TV series and films that have used the city, but the official guides know where the bodies are buried, so to speak, in Jericho and the other blood-spattered districts of fictional Oxford. Other tours take in the haunts of Iris Murdoch and Dorothy L. Sayers, the Victorian art of the Pre-Raphaelites, and some of the finest stained glass in Britain and much more. The guides also have access to the colleges. These ancient cloisters may seem a little snooty, but they were here first, some in the 1200s. If you don't fancy paying for a tour, peer for nothing through wrought-iron gates. Oxford Information Centre, 15-16 Broad Street, 00, www.visitoxford.org.
Before the beak: Catch sight of this (stuffed) whale-headed stork at Oxford's Museum Of Natural History