Written by Essexgirl09 on 06 Jul, 2011
On a recent weekend break in Oxford I got to experience rather a lot of pubs. I was there for an organised pub rally which involved visiting quite a few of these establishments, as well as trying out some of them out (for research purposes…Read More
On a recent weekend break in Oxford I got to experience rather a lot of pubs. I was there for an organised pub rally which involved visiting quite a few of these establishments, as well as trying out some of them out (for research purposes you understand) the night before. I have reviewed The Turf Tavern separately as we spent quite a bit of time there and had lunch. It is a popular and busy old fashioned pub tucked away in the old part of the city.The Copa of Oxford is a large pub on George Street. It is fitted out in a modern style, and looks like a chain pub. It is a Greene King pub, but didn’t have the character of pubs like the Turf Tavern. It would not be my first choice to re-visit purely on lack of atmosphere. There is nothing wrong with the staff, service or facilities. It offers wi-fi and food, and it seems to want to target local city workers, but as we visited on a Sunday, I can’t be to sure. The Head of the River is by Folly Bridge on the river (unsurprisingly enough). It is a little bit out of the centre town, but rather a pleasant pub. They offer food, but we didn’t partake on this occasion. There is a large beer garden overlooking the river, and I think it would be a very pleasant way to spend a few hours. Toilets were clean and well stocked with all that may be required. Service at the bar was efficient, but drinks prices were slightly higher than in some of the other pubs. Décor wise, it is very clean and simple, with a lot of rowing memorabilia and related pictures on the wall, but not cluttered.Four Candles is a Weatherspoon’s pub on George St, near the Copa. It is quite a large pub, quite spacious with lots of tables, and space at the bar. It is much like any pub in the Westherspoon chain in that it can lack atmosphere but its drinks and food prices are very cheap, which is why people visit it, although when we visited on a Sunday evening, it was comparatively rather quiet. The pub’s ‘theme’ is dedicated to comedian Ronnie Barker who went to near the site of this pub. There are various plaques on the wall recalling the local history as well as Barker’s childhood and career, complete with full dialogue from the famous four candles/fork handles sketch. The Lamb and Flag is on St Giles, a little way up from the main shopping area. It is a quaint old style pub, with absolutely no frills. The floor is bare, the tables are simple wooden ones with mismatched chairs and there are plenty of old beams. This is not to say that the pub has seen better days – it is clean, tidy and well maintained. The mismatching furniture only adds to the character in my opinion. There are lots of nooks and crannies to huddle away in with a group of friends for a little private get together. The drinks were competitively priced, with a variety of interesting beers, some of which were better received than others. Snacks include nuts with a side dish to put your shells in and ‘real’ pork scratchings – apparently one that still has the pig’s hair on is much desired and our Yorkshire born companion was very satisfied.Three Goats’ Heads is an unusually named pub on St Michael Street, just off The Cornmarket (the pedestrianised shopping street). It has a ground floor bar and an upstairs bar but I only tried the downstairs one. As there are large steps to get in, and the pub is quite small and narrow I would say that this isn’t very good for wheelchairs. The downstairs area is quite small, but was not busy when we stopped here early one Saturday evening. It is a Samuel Smiths bar, and generally I find their prices very good. They don’t use the same brands of cola and soft drinks as the other chains, and I understand that their beers can be a bit hit and miss. Worth a try for a quick drink if you are in the area, but don’t go out of your way to come here. The Wheatsheaf is situated off a little alley off the High Street and you need to be very observant to spot it. The main ground floor pub is typical old-pub style with dark beams and whatnot, but we were here as we had heard they did interesting live music upstairs. It costs about £4.50 to get in and on this particular Saturday night, we were ‘entertained’ (I use the word in its loosest sense) by three acts that could be best described as…interesting. I doubt any of them will be troubled by commercial success anytime soon. Drinks were reasonably priced with a good selection of beers. If you are coming here for the music I recommend getting there in good time if you want a table. The White Horse on Broad Street is the smallest pubs in Oxford if not the world. If you are at all claustrophobic I don’t recommend this pub as you are likely to have a panic attack trying to get past the bar and tables to the lavatory. Saying that, it is a charming pub, if quite tourist heavy, and apparently a popular destination for the TV character Inspector Morse. The staff behind the bar are very friendly and chatty which makes this pub memorable for something other than its minute size. Apparently they also do food here, but I wouldn’t want to be the person who has to carry the plates through the pub. There are lots of interesting signs and pictures on the walls if you have the space to be able to turn around and look at them. Apparently the beer is very good too,The Angel & Greyhound is a little way out of the centre of town on St Clements. It is a spacious, airy pub that still retains some character, despite not being as old as many other pubs in the area. Décor wise there are lots of local photos on the walls, and plenty of games to play. Some people were playing The Game of Life when we arrived. Toilets are up a steep, narrow flight of stairs. This is by no means a definitive list of pubs in Oxford, indeed it is not even a definitive list of the pubs I visited (I have forgotten the names of at least two). Although some pubs may be a bit hit and miss, and vary in busyness at certain times, I think it is fare to assume that you are never too far from a nice watering hole in Central Oxford. Close
Written by koshkha on 25 Apr, 2011
I go often to Oxford; I guess in the last six months I've probably been there three times. I use it as a place to meet up with friends who'd rather make the journey there than travel a little further to see us at home…Read More
I go often to Oxford; I guess in the last six months I've probably been there three times. I use it as a place to meet up with friends who'd rather make the journey there than travel a little further to see us at home in Northamptonshire. Mind you, our local towns have little to offer compared to Oxford so I don't blame them at all.Oxford is a fabulous city and one where I lived for four years as a student. But there's one thing that you really don't want to try to do and that's to park in the city centre. The car parks are ridiculously expensive with prices that really will make your eyes water. If you have the patience of a saint and are willing to walk a long way, you might be lucky enough to find some free on-road parking but don't count on it. Most of the city has residents only parking or double yellow lines. It's a nightmare. Hotels in the centre charge shocking rates and so I strongly recommend to use the Park and Ride system.No matter what direction you approach Oxford from there will be signs for the Park and Ride car parks. To the north of the city you'll find Water Eaton and Pear Tree car parks which are easily accessed from the M40 at Junction 9. To the east of the city is the Thornhill car park, to the south is Redbridge and to the west is Seacourt. I've used all except Redbridge and Seacourt. The system is simple and good value – especially if you are travelling alone. I most often use Peartree but the system is the same at all of the car parks. You arrive, park up and head to the bus stop. Buy a ticket – a return if you are coming back the same day, a single if you'll be longer – and then get on the bus. An adult return in April 2011 is £2.20 off peak (this includes weekends, bank holidays and after 9 am during the week) or £2.50 peak. If you are travelling as a couple, there's a slight discount and two off peak will cost you £4 – but remember you do have to travel together. A single costs £1.60 and weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual tickets are also available. You pay nothing to park your car.I often go to events at my old college which require me to stay overnight. I used to be very nervous about leaving my car at Pear Tree until the driver of one of the buses told me that crime is now very rare at the car parks. I had previously heard about cars being stolen or damaged at the Thornhill site because it was the closest to London and gangs would come out from the city but that seems to have now been stamped out. Peartree, Redbridge and Seacourt accept cars for up to 24 hours with the other two allowing you to stay for up to 3 days. From Pear Tree it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get into central Oxford. Most of the other sites have a similar journey time. The frequency of the buses varies during the day from as little as 8-10 minutes between departures at peak time and as long as 30 minutes during the evenings. The buses are all quite new, invariably clean and tidy and if you're excited by double deckers, you'll be glad to know that all the fleet are of this type. If you are one of the first to get on, head upstairs and grab the front seats for the best views.I always enjoy the journey in from Pear Tree as it passes along the Woodstock Road where I lived for a year and I like to check out my old stamping ground. The bus deposits passengers on George Street close to the theatre and picks up from St Giles, just outside the Odeon Cinema, opposite the Martyrs Memorial. I strongly recommend that if you want to visit Oxford you use the Park and Ride service. The only exception to this recommendation would be if you are registered disabled and can park for free in the car parks. Even in that case you'll be at the mercy of the availability of spaces. Good luck and enjoy your visit. Close
Written by sararevell on 18 Mar, 2010
Oxford is a very walkable city and the centre is flat and compact. Unless you’re planning on doing a tour it’s worth picking up a map or making the tourist office at 15-16 Broad Street one of your first stops. The number of available walking…Read More
Oxford is a very walkable city and the centre is flat and compact. Unless you’re planning on doing a tour it’s worth picking up a map or making the tourist office at 15-16 Broad Street one of your first stops. The number of available walking tours is immense and you can choose from university tours to ghost tours to architecture tours to Harry Potter-themed tours. You can also book onto an open-top bus tour, which will give you a wider and higher perspective of the city. Adult tickets are available for around £11.50 per person and buses leave every 10-15 minutes from a few different locations in the city. You will quickly notice that Oxford is a very bike friendly city so if cycling around appeals to you then it’s worth checking out rental places. Prices start at £7 for 4 hours. For the more adventurous, punting is another option and you get to see the city outskirts by river. Regular rowing boats are also available if a pole-propelled boat isn’t quite your style. Both can be hired from the Magdalen Bridge Boat House on High Street. Close
My biggest tip when traveling from London would be to check and book ahead on train and bus tickets. We booked tickets online on the Oxford Tube bus. The bus originates at Victoria station and leaves every ten minutes during the day. We got on…Read More
My biggest tip when traveling from London would be to check and book ahead on train and bus tickets. We booked tickets online on the Oxford Tube bus. The bus originates at Victoria station and leaves every ten minutes during the day. We got on at Notting Hill Gate but it also stops at Marble Arch, Hillingdon and a few places outside of Oxford. A day return ticket is £15. Other options include the Oxford Express bus and direct trains from London Paddington. The bus takes about 1.5 hours and the train about an hour. Christ Church College and Cathedral is open until 5.30pm but last entry is at 4.30pm. You may want to check ahead to see if all buildings on this and other tours will be open at the time you plan to go. If you’re hoping to do a walking tour or bus tour you should also check ahead on availability. Finally, when we were in a souvenir shop, the shopkeeper was alerting a customer to pickpockets that work Broad Street. Being in such a charming place it is easy to become distracted but unfortunately you do need to keep a close eye on your belongings. Close
Given that this visit to Oxford lasted a mere 7 hours, it’s difficult to say what wasn’t a highlight. I do have to admit that despite being a major tourist attraction, the visit to Christ Church College and Cathedral was a major highlight and is…Read More
Given that this visit to Oxford lasted a mere 7 hours, it’s difficult to say what wasn’t a highlight. I do have to admit that despite being a major tourist attraction, the visit to Christ Church College and Cathedral was a major highlight and is great value for money at £4.90 admission charge. On a nice day, strolling around the perimeter of Christ Church Meadows is a lovely way to pass the time. If you’re feeling adventurous you can rent a boat and try your hand at punting, or you can watch (and laugh) from the safety of the riverbank path.Stepping off the bus from London and onto the Oxford High Street we had the good luck to stumble down a narrow alleyway and into the Chequers Pub for a hearty ploughman’s lunch. Oxford isn’t short on good pubs and later we spent the evening sampling local ales in The White Horse on Broad Street. Oxford is a wonderful city to wander around and there are good shops and great architecture to be found side by side. After a visit to Christ Church, our route took us down Cornmarket Street, past numerous chain stores and down to Broad Street, where we perused a few souvenir shops. We then continued down the street to the Sheldonian Library, the Bridge of Sighs and Radcliffe Camera. It’s easy to burn up a few rolls of film (or memory cards) on your camera as Oxford is a stunning city and there’s something to see at every turn. It’s definitely a very manageable day trip from London and we only saw very few sights because we didn’t catch the bus to Oxford until midday. If you’re more of an early bird then you can obviously pack a lot more in. Close
Written by actonsteve on 26 Dec, 2002
There is something of a fairytale about Magdalen (pronounced Maudlin) College. On a misty morning when the medieval belltower looms above the trees and river, the sound of choristers singing Latin grace melts through the air and the whole place seems otherworldly. For my mind,…Read More
There is something of a fairytale about Magdalen (pronounced Maudlin) College. On a misty morning when the medieval belltower looms above the trees and river, the sound of choristers singing Latin grace melts through the air and the whole place seems otherworldly. For my mind, it is a toss-up between Magdalen and Merton for the title of most enchanting -Magdalen may just pip it - after all, Merton can't compete with it's Cherwell setting and very English deer park set at the rear. It is also one of the most popular colleges, and catches everyone's attention as they enter Oxford from the east across the Magdalen Bridge.As an Oxford College it is abit of a newcomer - founded only in 1488 by William Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester. It was he who mispelt the name of the college on the founder''s statues as "Maudelyne," and today it is pronouced "Maudlin" instead of "Magdalen." The makeup of the college still attests to those times--a President, seventy scholars, sixteen choristers, and twelve ordinary men. There are a mere 600 students and gaining a place at the college is a minor miracle--such is the demand. Undergraduates are taught in tutorials, often one-on-one, and the yellow stone buildings contain five ancient libraries some with books going back to 1493.You can't miss Magdalen. It stands at the far eastern end of "the High" and its belltower (see photo) is a Oxford landmark. Originally built in 1492 and completed in 1509, it houses one of Oxford's most popular celebrations - the Mayday early morning Latin mass. "Te Deum" is sung in the tower on what is usually a chilly Mayday morning in a tradition that goes back to 1620s. It was discontinued in the 18th century as the students and populace got out of hand and threw rotting fruit at each other. During the 1642-45 Civil War, Oxford was the Royalist stronghold and Magdalen, the front line. Its belltower was used for spotting approaching Parliamentarian troops. However, the city was never attacked.Entrance to Magdalen is about £3.00 and is at the discretion of the college authorities. Often it is closed in the mornings and visitors are not allowed in until 1pm. But take heart--this is one college you should make the effort to see. Once through, you are given a map and pamphlet and let into the magnificent St. John''s Quadrangle (see photo). Honey-colored stone buildings surrounding a cobbled courtyard greet you along with leering gargoyles. Statues of kings guard the passages into the colleges and all around you is the whoosh of students rushing to tutorials. Up high on the ivy-covered walls of the college is an outdoor pulpit where a sermon is preached on the nearest Sunday to the feast of St. John the Baptist.While to the left is the usually out-of-bounds St. Swithins Halls and Presidents buildings, the green lawns of the quadrangle are worth a peek. But most people backtrack to the turning near the entrance and the chaplain''s quadrangle. This is surrounded by ancient carved gothic stone tracery and statues of Christ looking down at you--but more importantly is the entrance to the esteemed chapel. Most visitors lose their breath when entering here as there is too much detail to really take in. The chapel itself is protected behind a rood screen, so visitors can''t get near the altar, carvings, or choir stalls, but there is so much to see in the stone ante-chapel. The West window is made of magnificent stained glass dating back to 1637. To its left is a copy of The Last Supper by Giampetrino. By the door is a beautiful painted box dating from the 15th century--and who doesn''t love a good tomb? Here lies the founder of the cathedral, Richard Patten, who lies with arms crossed and looking up with a vacant expression, permanently bemused by all the tourists looking at him.The passage to the right of St. John's Quadrangle, leading to the Cloister Quadrangle, this is one of the loveliest in Oxford. A beautifully kept green lawn is surrounded by a medieval cloister and ivy-clad cream buildings. Statues of kings and gargoyles watch the students lazing on the lawns whilst the cloisters echo with the sound of tourists. The ever-creeping growth of the wisteria plant clambers over everything--holy statues of the saints glare down on the sinners. And numerous sinners have attended Magdalen--most famously Edward VIII (Bertie the Bounder) and Oscar Wilde, and as well as such paragons of virtue such as Cardinal Wolsey, Dudley Moore, and Sir John Betjeman. Here lie many tutorial rooms and if it is not in use, the dining room is worth a look with huge portraits on the walls and the smell of roast beef and gravy lingering in the air.
By this time you may need some fresh air and if you leave the cloisters via the eastern exit, the gardens follow the river Cherwell and upstream a small bridge takes you to Addison Walk and the college watermeadows. But most people head for the baroque New College buildings - "new" meaning" built in 1733. The vast lawn is usually strewn with students with their heads in books and the building itself was the workplace for Edward Gibbon and CS Lewis as well as seven Nobel Prize winners. I like the tree on the edge of the green planted in 1801 to celebrate the peace of Amiens. The tree is withered and gnarled and reeks of ancient Oxford. When I first came here in 1989 I remember getting shouted at by one of the porters as I swung on one of its branches.My memories of seeing the deer park a little further on are still fresh. Back then it was rutting season and the meadow rang to the sounds of clashing stags. The harts are still there from July to September, and the herd numbers around sixty. While Bambi may look cute peacefully grazing beneath the elm trees, they have their uses to the college--notably serving as the main course at the dinner table.Ummmmmm...now where''s my knife and fork?
Sorry Piccadilly, apologies to Princes Street--the winner of the most jawdropping street in Britain has to be 'The High' in Oxford. There is such a profusion of mind-blowing architecture here: soaring medieval spires, leering gargoyles, Tudor timber-framed houses, Regency and Georgian shops, sandstone colleges, Victorian…Read More
Sorry Piccadilly, apologies to Princes Street--the winner of the most jawdropping street in Britain has to be 'The High' in Oxford. There is such a profusion of mind-blowing architecture here: soaring medieval spires, leering gargoyles, Tudor timber-framed houses, Regency and Georgian shops, sandstone colleges, Victorian pubs, and the green Chiltern hills on the edge of town. The attractions of Oxford are north and south of this main thoroughfare, but you may traverse it several times during your stay.The best place to start is the center of Oxford: Carfax. This is where four streets meet--'the High' to the east, Queen Street to the west, St. Aldates to the south, and Cornmarket to the north. Looming over this ancient crossroads is the stone tower of Carfax, which was once part of St. Martins Church and was demolished to create more room. And hopefully it does--this is where the ebb and flow of life whooshes past in Oxford.Cornmarket is the principal shopping street and has recently been pedestrianized over, allowing buskers to entertain the crowds. Shoppers dip into Laura Ashley, housed in a 16th-century Tudor gabled mansion, and Marks & Spencer, which takes pride of place in a Georgian row of houses. Oxford puts its history on display, but also finds more practical uses for it.But if you begin here, you should really start with a trip up the Carfax Tower, which costs only £2. A tiny wooden spiral staircase takes you up through the tower's insides. You emerge on the roof of the church tower, where the four streets are laid out before you. If you look south, then St. Aldates leads across the 'dreaming spires,' with Tom Tower of Christchurch dominating the view. To the east is the entire expanse of 'the High' in front of you, and on the road opposite is the ornate tracey of a Jacobean building now used as Lloyds bank. 'The High' curves, but visible are the dagger needle spire of St. Mary the Virgin, with the spires of All Souls as a backdrop. Finally, at the end is the church tower of Magdalen and the end of 'the High.' Hills rise above the city, covered in fields, farms, and sheep to prove that the countryside is never far away in Oxford.Carfax Tower is currently under renovation and will not be open again until April 2003. But if you head east, along the northern side of the pavement you can explore the length of 'the High.' Traffic is now banned from the street, allowing the buses to move along quickly, and a pretty efficient park-and-ride system is now in force. 'The High' of Oxford isn't quite the sleepy thoroughfare it was at the time of Wren and Halley but it is certainly better then it was.This part of the street is made up of shops -stationers, Varsity emporiums, tea shops, antiquarian bookshops, and the Oxford University Press, the publishers of the world-famous dictionary. One shop is primarily devoted to dictionaries, and I've seen students shudder as they walk past it.More shudders are a little way along, with the indoor market on Golden Cross Street. I really like this warren of passages and stalls, as it has so many specialized things to buy--pipes and tobacco, fruit and vegetables, glassware, pewterware, Cornish pasties and fresh Devon cream, locally caught trout, and the most gruesome butcher I have ever seen. All butchers were once like this, and vegetarians will wince at braces of rabbits (coneys) and pheasants hanging up. Deer are also culled hereabouts, and full-grown bodies of red deer minus their heads and legs are dangling from the shop's rafters. Well, at least you know it's fresh.A little further on, before Brasenose College backs onto the street, is the Mitre restaurant. This is one of Oxford's most ancient inns, dating from 1550, and it is debatable that Shakespeare could have drunk here. It was, of course, a great favorite of the deans of the university who used to come here and sample the wine. It is now a restaurant run by the Beefeater chain, which serves up steaks and burgers for a reasonable price. It gets busy at lunchtime with old ladies who need a break from their shopping on Cornmarket. A passage leading past it heads to Radcliffe Square, and there is usually a man offering tours of Oxford (for 5 pounds) leaning against the railings.After Brasenose is a truly spectacular church--St. Mary the Virgin. Usually free to enter, this is still a center for Anglo-Catholicism in Oxford and was where the Protestant martyrs were put on trial. The big attraction here is the climb up the steeple for even more spectacular views of Oxford and the spire of All Souls from its heights. The nave itself is impressive, with a wooden ceiling and an altar decorated in gold. During the 1550s, Mary Tudor was trying to return England to Catholicism, and the Protestant martyrs Cramner, Latimer, and Ridley were taken here before their burning in Oxford. The word is that Queen Mary interjected personally to make sure the saintly Cramner was burnt.Across the street are more cafes, stationers, hobby shops, computer dealers, and everything a student about town needs and wants. The vast block of University College dominates the south side here. Its cream-stone bulk is notoriously hard to get into and always seems to be closed to tourists. It also claims to be the oldest, founded by Alfred the Great in 1061, a claim which might not be true--but due to its central location, the other colleges probably spread out around it.Almost opposite it is the rather feminine Queens College. It is best appreciated from across the road, with its huge baroque facade and dome dotted with marble statues. This is Oxford baroque at its best, and is named after Queen Phillippa, wife of Edward III. Rowan "Mr. Bean" Atkinson was one of its former students. Also make time for St. Edwards College, whose quadrangle is made out of beautiful stone. This is a real hidden treasure, and the students don't know how lucky they are to be working in a college that reminds me of a Cotswold cottage.We are reaching the end of historic Oxford. And if you haven't yet been run over by a posh student on a bicycle, then there is one more beautiful college - Magdalen (pronounced Maudlin), whose church tower is the emblem of Oxford. Gargoyles leer down from its cream-colored sides, lead windows hide academic secrets, and a small path leads down to the Cherwell. Crossing at this point is the gorgeous Georgian Magdalen bridge, where the willow-tree-lined Cherwell passes into the botanic gardens.At the base of the bridge, students in boaters try to lure tourists onto punts (tiny flat-bottomed boats propelled by a man with a pole) for about £20 an hour. On a warm sunny day, this is an enchanting way to see Oxford, as the Cherwell flows into the Thames and you can see the colleges from the river.Alternatively, you can take over yourself and push your pole in the mud on the river. When it gets stuck, don't forget to let go, or you may find yourself dangling from the pole in the middle of the river. If that happens, then pray that nobody nearby has a camera. Close
Written by kris_kandath on 28 Sep, 2006
I realise fully that I am writing this blog completely out of sequence (writing about a European city along with blogging on Kerala after my re-location to these shores for at least a few years) but my 24 long years at Oxford has undoubtedly made…Read More
I realise fully that I am writing this blog completely out of sequence (writing about a European city along with blogging on Kerala after my re-location to these shores for at least a few years) but my 24 long years at Oxford has undoubtedly made me fall in love with this magical city and hecne these few lines on Oxford! Oxford in England is undoubtedly the oldest university in the english speaking world and has been in continued existance for more than 9 centuries now. As an internationally known centre of education, it naturally attracts students and scholors from right accross the globe. It lies about 90 kms north-west of London. A medium sized city with population totalling approximately 140,000, Oxford is refreshingly different from all other cities I am lucky enough to have visited so far. I fell in love with this gorgeous city immediately after I first set foot there way back in 1979. The 24 long years I spent there since then made my love for the place grow even deeper. Without a shadow of doubt, in my opinion Oxford is the most beautiful,cosmopolitan and likeable city in the whole world and must be in everyone´s once in a lifetime (at least!) list of places to visit. It has class written all over it. According to the statistics for the acadamic year 2003/2004, there were approximately 17,660 students in Oxford out of which approx. 11,100 were undergraduates spread around 39 independent colleges. University staff altogether will total around 10,000 out of which 3,500 are directly employed by the colleges. At Oxford, the term time for an acadamic year is divided as follows: a) Michaelmas Term (October - December), b) Hilary Term (January - March) and c) Trinity Term (April - June). Each Oxford College is a corporate body distinct from the university and is governed by its own head and fellows. Most fellows are college instructors called tutors and the rest are university professors, readers and lecturers. Each college manages its own buildings and property, elects its own fellows and selects and admits its own undergraduate students. Each student at Oxford is assigned to a tutor, who supervises the student´s course of study, primarily through tutorials. Tutorials are weekly meetings of one or two students with their tutor. Students may see other tutors for specialised instruction. They may also attend lectures given by university teachers. Students choose which lectures to attend on the basis of their own special interests and on the advice of their tutor. At the end of the course, it is the university,(not the individual colleges) which grants degrees. The first degree at Oxford in arts or science is a BA (Bachelor of Arts) with honours. After a few years it automatically becomes an MA and is known as an MA (Oxon). The Rhodes scolorship program enables students from the US and Commonwealth countries and many other nations to study at Oxford and there are a number of illustrious names who have been Rhodes scholors. The three oldest colleges in Oxford - University, Merton and Balliol - date from 1200´s. Twelve more colleges were found between 1300 and 1555. The first colleges for women were estblished during the late 1800´s. The university did not grant degrees to women until 1920 !! Oxford, unlike Cambridge is an indutrial city as well with the legendary Morris Oxford which once used to be made here. Now the stylsh Austin Mini´s (with BMW back up) are rolling out of the sophisticated plants in Cowley and is one of the most popular and sought after small cars in the US and Japan. When you walk through the historic streets like the High Street, Cornmarket Street,Broad Street, Trul Street and Longwall Street of Oxford you will feel that time has disappeard into a cave somewhere leaving this wonderful city totally un-touched. The ancient and modern go hand in hand without any strain here. For prospective browsers interested in gathering info on Oxford I recommend the following links: 1) www.ox.ac.uk and 2) www.visitoxford.org for further information. Please contact me for any further help or assistane in planning a visit to this wonderful city. I wish you all a great holiday whereever you are. Take care Cheers, Kris Kandat Close
Written by pickapineapple on 17 Feb, 2005
On my final flight back to New York from London Heathrow, I bid a tearful goodbye to England, only to return in a matter of hours.
I was flying with Virgin Atlantic because they have great movie/music options and give you those cute travel pouches…Read More
On my final flight back to New York from London Heathrow, I bid a tearful goodbye to England, only to return in a matter of hours.
I was flying with Virgin Atlantic because they have great movie/music options and give you those cute travel pouches with socks, toothpaste/brush, and even an opportunity to donate your loose currency to a charity. This time, however, was a nightmare. Having been delayed a bit by weather conditions, we took off on our journey back to the States. About an hour or two into the flight, a window cracked next to one of the passengers only a few rows ahead of me. We doubled back to fix the window. Once we touched back down in Heathrow, we waited on the plane for several hours while they replaced the cracked window. At this point, we would have already been in New York. We set off again, only to experience a very turbulent ride. I could hear people wretching, even over my loud music. It was awful. I finally arrived home six hours late after a year away in England.
I know these things happen very rarely, but what a nightmare! That said, I would still fly with Virgin Atlantic. Maybe I'm just crazy, but it's simply the best affordable way of getting to and from England. Plus, I get a discount off my next flight (though I would have preferred a free flight).
This honey-colored sprawl is a world to itself -a world of towers, cloisters, morning choirs, and stained-glassed windows. It is the biggest, richest, and most pretentious college and has been producing scholars, clergymen, and prime ministers for hundreds of years as well as the hiding…Read More
This honey-colored sprawl is a world to itself -a world of towers, cloisters, morning choirs, and stained-glassed windows. It is the biggest, richest, and most pretentious college and has been producing scholars, clergymen, and prime ministers for hundreds of years as well as the hiding place for a king in its magnificent cathedral -which doubles as the city's cathedral.It also has to be the biggest college and needs at least an hour to do it justice. Situated south of the 'High,' it occupies the ground above, where the two rivers--Cherwell and Isis (the Isis comes from the Latin name for the Thames, Tamesis)--meet, and so is laid out in beautiful watermeadows, making it one of the most idyllic and rural-looking of the colleges.It's hard to mention which is the better approach to Christchurch. If you can manage it, then come from the south across the playing fields and watermeadows along Broad Walk, which will bring you directly to the entrance at Meadow buildings. Most people, however, come from the north, from 'the High.' Here any alley will bring you into the oldest part of Oxford and the area containing its most prestigious colleges, i.e., Christchurch, Oriel, and Merton. The alleys themselves are very pretty and used as racetracks by the city's student population; each leads to Blue Boar Street (named after a long-gone pub) and Merton Street, both of which head to Christchurch College. If it is open, then poke your head into Merton College. This one claims to be the oldest--founded in 1264 by Walter de Merton with statues of him and King Henry III glaring at you from the gate tower. The quad is particularly impressive here, and the Gothic chapel is one of the landmarks of the south skyline of Oxford. Although I have not seen it, the east window in particular is meant to be one of the best in Europe. Merton enjoys the best of academic reputations with T. S. Eliot, Robert Morley, and Kris Kristofferson (eh?) among its past graduates.Although there are entrances to Tom Tower on St. Aldates and Peckwater Quad on Merton Street, you will probably be directed to the main entrance to the south on the Board Walk. Bowler-hatted porters are in charge of all entrances to the college and are part of college life. The colleges used to have curfews in days gone by, and these beadles would man the gates embarrassing any drunken student who rolled in after hours. Now they just help tourists and keep an eye on the students - they are part of some of the few Oxford traditions that remain. The advantage of the entrance via the Meadow buildings is that you get a chance to have a look at the green expanses that roll down to the river. On a sunny day, these are covered with students, and there used to be dairy cows penned up at the far end in sight of students scribbling away at late essays. Entrance is £3 and gives you admittance to the cathedral and dining room. At any time, these might be closed, and especially so in June/July (examination time). You'll be given a small pamphlet that explains the history of the college.And what a history it has been! It was built on the site of the tomb of Oxford's patron saint, Frideswilde. Who? Yes, she who lived in 680 A.D. and was perceived to have miraculous powers. Something for the feminists--she cured scrofula and defects in babies, but when when her husband pursued her to Oxford, he was suddenly struck blind by a word from God. A monastery was constructed around her tomb. Lady Montacute, in 1488, left the surrounding farmland to the college and chapel and so saved the watermeadows we see around us today. There was relative peace until Henry VIII performed the dissolution of the monasteries and kicked all the monks out. His sidekick, the powerful Cardinal Wolsely, took an active interest in the college, which he named Cardinal after himself. After his fall from grace, it was called Christchurch College, but both cathedral and college were separated and the diocese of Oxford created. In the civil war, Oxford threw in with the royalists, and the current dean's buildings were the royal quarters for the awful Charles I and his Catholic queen, Henrietta Maria. Oxford eventually fell to the Parliamentarians and the king fled northwards. In revenge for supporting the royalists, Cromwell kicked out the dean and replaced him with his own man. Interestingly enough, during the civil war the colleges supported the king, but the ordinary people supported the Parliamentarians--a division that still persists today.As you enter through the Meadow building, you are directed left into the great hall. Here a sandstone grand staircase leads up to the college dining rooms. The 500 students who live here also dine here amongst the wood beam roof and stuffy portraits. The staircase leading up to it - according to a notice at the entrance - has been featured as Hogwarts in the last three Harry Potter films. As you leave, you open into the great set piece of Christchurch - the Tom Quad. This expanse is colossal, about the size of a football pitch, and covered in rolling green lawn. A fountain and statue of Mercury stand in the middle. Its name, Tom Quad, is due to the enormous bell in the looming Tom Tower, designed by Sir Christopher Wren. More important for the students is that it also signals lunch and dinner. A small doorway on the southern side leads to the magnificent Christchurch Cathedral.It's difficult to describe how spectacular this is. The first time I saw it in 1989 was also the year I first visited Paris, and looking at the ceiling of Notre Dame, I thought France's national cathedral had a ceiling far inferior to Christchurch.You need at least half an hour to do this church justice, and as you slowly walk around its edges, more and more becomes apparent. The original church has been expanded and is now built in the shape of a cross. The vast nave is mainly compiled of choir stalls, while seating for Oxford residents is around the side. Beside the entrance is a stained-glass window of Jonah with the city of Ninevah depicted as a sort of Old Testament timeshare community. The church has four areas for praying; one of these is for St. Frideswilde, whose adventures are depicted in bright stained glass in the Latin chapel. The Bell altar stands nearby and was created to commemorate the memory of Bishop Bell, who was against the bombing of German cities in WWII. The main altar is rather golden and Catholic. But it is here that you look up at the ceiling, laced by remarkable vaulted chancel made up of hundreds of intricate star-shaped patterns to create the image of heaven. The vault stretches all the way along the nave and is enhanced by 60 beautiful stone pendants hanging gracefully over the congregation.The Catherine window is worth a look, as the woman depicted was Edith Liddell--the sister of Alice Liddell, who was Lewis Carroll's inspiration for Alice in Wonderland. Outside in the quad, there's a over-long video showing the history of the college, but most people head along to Peckwater Quad and the Portrait Gallery. This costs a further £2 and contains a number of Italian masters along with Holbein's famous portrait of King Henry VIII. There is plenty of space for Christchurch's own famous alumni--Sir Robert Peel, John Wesley, W. H. Auden, Auberon Waugh, and two prime ministers (Anthony Eden and Gladstone). Christchurch is probably the most conservative and "establishment" of the colleges and can be a little intimidating.But just remember as you are ambling along -those potential MPs and bishops all around you are off to boring lectures, whilst you, dear tourist, are probably off to the pub. Ain't that a crying shame . . . Close