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Question for Oxfordians

Is that correct? Or should it be Oxfordites, or Oxforthians, or some such?

Anyway, the question is for tree_and_leaf or anyone who knows a little about Oxford, the University, as a place to visit, rather than to study. A friend of mine is going there in a few days, and while she's been able to find out the obvious things, she's discovered very little about the tourist possibilities of the colleges. Apparently the town site says "look at the University site" and the University site ain't saying much. She likes gardens, and is a quiet, bookish and knowledgeable person who designs museum exhibits for a living. So basically what are the hidden treasures for someone like that? College gardens that are open to the public? Other-than-famous college buildings that are worth a look?

Any responses within the next day or so can be passed on usefully!



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 29th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
Oxonians, at least when referring to university people
Off the top of my head:

Colleges are usually only open in the afternoons. Magdalen has the famous garden/ meadow, though it's not the right time of year for it. Trinity, on the High, has nice grounds. (YOu have to pay for admission for both) The real tip is Worcester - a bit off the beaten track, but splendid gardens and an interesting and rather lovely, in a different way. chapel. Colleges don't have museums, though Christ Church has a picture gallery (and Hogwarts hall, so is consequently overrun with tourists and expensive); however, the chapels at Magdalen and New are splendid and well worth a look. If your frien only has time for a few colleges, than I'd make Magdalen and Worcester the priority.

Your friend might also enjoy the Bodleiean guided tour, and the free exhibition of incunabula and mss of Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, also at the Bod.
Aug. 29th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
Aaargh - posted before I was finished
The university site won't have much - you'll need to look at the individual college web-sites.

Other tips: Exeter has a lovely pre-Raphaelite chapel, if that's your thing; also Hertford's front quad is worth a look. Balliol is - well, one sees what Peter Wimsey meant about it (and it never seems to be open to the public, anyway).

If there's more than one person in the party, then punting is always fun, but avoid Sunday afternoons as the river is full of idiots. The Cherwell Boathouse is nicer than Magdalene Bridge, but it's a bit of a trek out there.

I hope your friend has a wonderful time and that the weather holds up!
Aug. 30th, 2007 12:24 am (UTC)
Re: Aaargh - posted before I was finished
Thank you so much! This is all invaluable information, and will be passed on to my friend, along with your good wishes. I'm sure she will join me in thanking you, too.

and *headbang* I KNEW "oxonians" - just forgot pro tem.
Aug. 30th, 2007 09:02 am (UTC)
Re: Aaargh - posted before I was finished
You're welcome!
Aug. 29th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
Aug. 30th, 2007 12:21 am (UTC)
Yes, and grrrr - I should have known that.
Aug. 30th, 2007 07:45 am (UTC)
It's 15 years since I was at Oxford, so I don't know anything about the current state of letting tourists in, charging etc. However... St Johns' has a particularly good garden. New College cloisters was one of my favourite places in Oxford - very much a hidden gem, and very atmospheric.

I was at Merton, so am of course totally biased about the perfection of its architecture, setting and gardens. It does possess the oldest quad in Oxford, though, containing an old and interesting library, some of the books still chained.

If she likes Pre-Raphaelites, the Oxford Union library contains Arthurian murals painted by William Morris, Rosetti and Burne-Jones.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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