A the historic heart of Oxford there is a beautiful church. If you passed it on the street, you would probably snap a quick picture and keep on walking by. But you shouldn't.
The University Church of St. Mary the Virgin is the official church of Oxford University. While a structure probably has stood on this spot dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, the oldest portion of the current church dates back to the 13th century. And if after snapping that picture you take a moment to step inside, you will find a beautiful sanctuary and one of the best views overlooking of the city of Oxford.
Of course, you have to be willing to pay four pounds and walk up 127, tightly wound spiral steps. But believe me when I say it is well worth it.
Because after walking up many,
many steps, you will be rewarded with this view.
The tower is circular so you will be rewarded for your efforts with a full, panoramic view of the city. Multiple stone balconies connected by arched passages comprise the overlook. The views are amazing and the ancient architecture is beautiful, but the tower was really not made for large groups. Trying to pass other people enjoying the view requires shuffling and some serious sucking in (and wishing you hadn't had that big English breakfast earlier that morning).
But while your being pressed into the walls you might notice some pretty interesting graffiti that reminds you just how much history is surrounding you (and also that vandalism is not just a modern occurrence).
All that's left is to enjoy the view!