Being a student in Oxford is the icing on the cake.
There is just so much to do no matter what your interests are. Below are a few ideas of what you can do in Oxford.
Music and Entertainment
Oxford is a vibrant city with many forms of entertainment. If you fancy live music some of the key venues are the O2 Academy, the Jericho Tavern and the Back Room @ The Bullingdon Arms. The Truck Store is the place to go for great vinyl and tickets to all the best gigs. For the more classically inclined Oxford is host to the Sheldonian Theatre and the Holywell Music Room. However, you may prefer to see a play instead so do look up the New Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, Pegasus Theatre, Creation Theatre Company or the Old Fire Station. Throughout the year there are a number of festivals to suit the city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere, such as the Cowley Road Carnival, the Dancin’ Oxford Festival, Oxford Pride, the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival and the Contemporary Music Festival. On a Sunday afternoon you may fancy a trip to the Bowlplex bowling complex or to the cinema and there is no shortage of these as Oxford has two Odeon Cinemas, a Vue Cinema, the Oxford Phoenix Picturehouse and the Ultimate Picture Palace.
A major celebration in Oxford is May Day. This is an annual event which for students means frequenting the bars and clubs that have stayed open all night but traditionally the event is known for the Magdalen College Choir singing from the top of Magdalen Tower. Large crowds gather along the nearby bridge to listen. It is must see if you are studying in Oxford.
Bars, clubs and pubs
As Oxford is a university city there are no shortages of bars, pubs and clubs. There are 15 nightclubs and over 120 pubs and bars. Why not visit one of the oldest pubs in Oxford, The Bear, or try to find the Turf Tavern which is well hidden but popular with the locals? Some of the nightclubs to be found are The Bridge, Emporium and Thirst. However, if you fancy going further afield the Oxford Tube frequently travels up to London on a daily basis.
There is also the Oxford Brookes Students’ Union to consider. The Club Nights they hold are open to anyone, but if you want to avoid the huge queues find a friend at Brookes to sign you in.
The Covered Market (established in 1774) is located, with a number of entrances, off the High Street and is home to small independent shops ranging from butchers to Italian delis, to cake and cookie shops. However, you can also find little boutiques, gift shops and cafés.
Nearer to the College you can find the Westgate and Clarendon shopping malls. Both include shops like The Body Shop, Office Shoes, Zara and Joules, Oasis, Uniqlo and more. In Queen Street and Cornmarket Street can also be found Topshop, The White Company, Fat Face and L’Occitane; all the stores you expect to find in a city. However, if you are wanting something a little more designer visit the lower level of the Westgate Shopping Centre or take a trip down the High Street where you will find shops like Coast, Reiss, Sweaty Betty and Jack Wills. Or you could go further afield to Bicester Village with over 130 designer outlet stores. Oxford is also host to three department stores – John Lewis, Debenhams and the family run Boswells. Don’t forget the Cowley Road for vintage, charity and second hand shops. Here you can also find a wide range of shops offering food from around the world.
George Street is the place to go as here you can find Ask, Bella Italia and Zizzi’s as well as Westgate Oxford which is home to over 20 new restaurants and eateries. However, Oxford is also host to Noodle Nation, Wagamamas and the Chang Mai Kitchen (Thai) as well as the many other well-known café chains or other types of cuisine. There are plenty of afternoon tea options too such as Café Loco (very popular with our students), the Randolph Hotel or The Grand Café. What is lovely about Oxford is that you can find small independent cafés and delis dotted around the Castle area and also along the High Street. If you start exploring you can find many more!
Sport and Leisure
Where to start other than with the mention of punting; something which is synonymous with Oxford!? There are several companies in Oxford that rent punts throughout the summer and if you are not feeling brave they have crew on hand to man the punt for you. From the punt you can see the beautiful Christchurch Meadow which is a particular lunch hot spot for OMBS students on sunny days.
Nearby can be found the Oxford Botanic Gardens. In the South of Oxford is the Hinksey outdoor pool just off the Abingdon Road while near to the Jericho area is Port Meadow, 440 acres of grazing land. For those of you who are keen on keeping fit just round the corner from the College is the PURE gym and also an ice rink. In addition why not join a tennis, rugby, rowing or hockey club as Oxford is host to them all and many more?
If you are looking for a cultural experience then you have found the right place.
Museums you can visit are the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Pitt Rivers Museum of Anthropology, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of the History of Science, the Museum of Oxford and the Oxford University Press Museum.
You can also find a series of art galleries such as Modern Art Oxford, Christ Church Picture Gallery, the Turill Sculpture Garden or the O3 Gallery.
If you prefer architecture instead definitely visit the Radcliffe Camera and the Bodleian Library as well as the 13th century Carfax Tower, Sir Christopher Wren’s Sheldonian Theatre and if you can find it, the ‘imitation’ of the Venetian Bridge of Sighs. You can also take a tour of all the University Colleges and visit the Oxford Castle Unlocked complex.
The Oxford Union
When joining OMBS as a new student or ‘fresher’ you are eligible to join one of Oxford’s most interesting and oldest Unions: The Oxford Union. Founded in 1823, The Oxford Union has been a central location for students to meet in the city and acts as a social focus within the college system.
The Oxford Union has over 10,000 members and is world renowned as the world’s most foremost debating society, bringing international guests and speakers to Oxford. The Union is also famous for the balls that it holds throughout the year, and best of all, at a much cheaper price than any individual university ball.