Ever since the first homework was assigned in 1167, the University of Oxford’s stellar graduates have influenced Western civilization; its alumni include 26 British prime ministers, more than 60 Nobel Prize winners, and even 11 saints. But that doesn't mean that Oxford is stodgy. Although you may see professors in their traditional black robes, this is a fun, young college town, filled with shopping streets, cheap eats, and rowdy, rollicking pubs. Step off the busy, urban-feeling High Street into the hushed sanctuary of a grassy college quad. See the dining hall that inspired the one where Harry Potter eats his meals, or the pub where J. R. R. Tolkien first spoke about hobbits. Just outside town is the magnificent Blenheim Palace, England's finest countryside estate.