Google takes a punt at tourist trail

Magdalen Bridge Boathouse manager Patrick Montgomery on a punt

Magdalen Bridge Boathouse manager Patrick Montgomery on a punt

First published in

ANYONE using the internet to plan a visit to Oxford this summer might end up taking a more scenic route than they anticipated.

The latest version of Google Maps includes a special “Easter egg” in its city maps – a hidden software feature designed to amuse users.

Oxford Mail:

A map of the route suggested by Google

When someone searches for directions from Magdalen College to Wolfson College, Google suggests a mode of transport synonymous with Oxford – punting.

The search engine firm, based in California, America, says the journey by boat will take one-and-a-half hours compared with a 30-minute walk.

Magdalen Bridge Boathouse manager Patrick Montgomery said: “It would take forever. I think it’s great fun, it is a unique way of using Google Maps, but it certainly isn’t a very practical mode of transport.

“I’ve never done that route myself.”

Mr Montgomery said the most popular routes for punters were south from the bridge, going past Magdalen College School.

He added: “Going upstream, the really desirable destination is the Victoria Arms.”

Visit Oxfordshire tourism board spokesman Jo Butler said: “This is great news – I didn’t realise this was on Google Maps.

“We are delighted to see that punting in Oxford is considered a mode of transport – as this is a unique experience for our visitors to undertake while they are visiting Oxford.”

Our top stories:

Rising cost of delayed tower blocks revamp will top £20m

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Friday 29th May 2015

A MULTI-million pound project to refurbish Oxford’s five tower blocks could be delayed by almost a year.

Oxford University is set to appoint its first female vice-chancellor

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Friday 29th May 2015

THE first female vice-chancellor of Oxford University has been nominated by committee members and could take up her post next January.

Andrew Main sectioned after admitting South Oxfordshire council fire earlier this year

Oxford Mail:

4:16pm Friday 29th May 2015

ANDREW Main has been sectioned indefinitely under the Mental Health Act after admitting starting a number of fires in South Oxfordshire in January.

Martin Nganga guilty of arson after setting fire to Blackbird Leys house

Oxford Mail:

2:27pm Friday 29th May 2015

A businessman has been found guilty of arson with intent to endanger life after setting fire to a house in Blackbird Leys.

Missing woman Sandra McDonald from Cowley found safe and well

Oxford Mail:

2:19pm Friday 29th May 2015

A Cowley woman missing for almost a week has been found safe and well.

Severe weather warning for strong winds for Oxfordshire today

Oxford Mail: Wild winds headed towards Cornwall

11:17am Friday 29th May 2015

Strong winds are set to hit Oxfordshire today as a severe weather warnig was issued

Oxford has about nine million visitors a year, who spend a combined £720m.

About 150,000 people make use of Broad Street’s visitor information centre every summer, which recommends punting as a fun day out.

And two million people plan their trip online using visitoxfordandoxfordshire.

com alone.

The Oxford “Easter egg” is one of several which Google has put in the new version of its maps, launched this week.

Other unusual modes of transport include a dragon for getting across Snowdonia in Wales, taking the Royal Carriage from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle, and hitching a lift across Loch Ness on board the Loch Ness Monster.

The firm did not comment on its hidden features, but hinted that there are still more to be found.

Visit maps.google.co.uk

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree