The first nine chapters of The Golden Compass (US) or Northern Lights (UK) comprise “Oxford.” Not Oxford University, but the town and its surroundings.\
There are thousands of sites with pictures and maps of Oxford. Tours of Lyra’s Oxford include Philip Pullman’s Oxford Official Tour.
The University and its colleges are central to Oxford, but those that keep the city functioning live around its perimeter. I went to a summer program at University College for 6 weeks or so in 1979. The Colleges were not in session, so they rented out space to Americans and others, I guess, who brought their own faculty. I suppose these ventures have prospered.
What I liked best about the City was how easy it was to walk from place to place. As a young woman I could go to the movies alone and on foot after sundown. Imagine that!
John Speed’s map of Oxford, 1605. I include this as a curiosity. The south is at the top and the north is at the bottom. Turning it upside down is no help because of the key to the map! It shows though that Oxford was once a walled city with a castle (P), but there were some buildings outside the walls, including Magdalene College. “P” is Oxford Castle.”N” is Oxford’s central crossroads at the junction of the High Street and St. Aldates. Broad Street and Holywell Street now run along the line of the north (that is bottom) wall.
John Speed (1542–1629) – The Digital Revolution: Changing Oxford. Map is in the Bodleian Library.
For contrast, SirMetal has contributed to Wiki this image and placed it in the public domain.
The Radcliffe Camera, part of the Bodlian Library, is at the center.