I really do love Oxford. In his poem ‘Thyrsis’, the Victorian poet Matthew Arnold dubbed Oxford ‘the city of dreaming spires’, but I never really understood that. While the architecture is indeed very pretty, and people do say its spires have that dreamy feel to them, Oxford is not really a city – Or at least it doesn’t feel like one. I hate cities, the hustle and bustle, feeling claustrophobic, getting bumped into or lost.. I hate them. That said, since coming to Brookes in September of 2016, I have had the best time of my life here in Oxford. Despite being called a city, more than anything, Oxford is a university town. A town that after hundreds and hundreds of years, has become beautifully geared towards catering to students
These are my top things to do during your time studying at Oxford Brookes...
Perched at the top of the hill, Brookes’ Headington campus overlooks my favourite place in Oxford – South Park! I cannot understate just how much time I have spent procrastinating, hanging out with friends, and occasionally studying in this beautiful little slice of Oxford. Those dreaming spires I mentioned earlier...you get a great view of them from here!
As a Brookes student you get free access to the Botanic Gardens - and honestly, that’s a pretty sweet deal! Considering this is one of the most stunning places in Oxford, why wouldn’t you go when it’s free? They’ve got it all from giant lily pads to huge Western-style cacti.
Unsurprisingly for a city full of history, Oxford has sooo many museums! From the Ashmolean, to the Museum of Natural History, Oxford has you covered when it comes to outstanding museums… that said, even if museums aren't really your scene I would still strongly recommend going to the “Pitt rivers museum” as it is BY FAR the best – it has genuine shrunken heads!
One of the most ‘Oxford things to do’. Yes, you might get a little wet sometimes… over enthusiastic punting can create some waves! Very little beats a sunny afternoon, lazily bobbing down the river with some friends. That said, even less beats watching one of those friends fall in the drink three times in a row because “this style of punting is better!”
While Oxford may have many cinemas, it only has one Ultimate Picture Palace. This independent cinema is honestly what Sundays were made for – showing everything from the really niche indie foreign language noir film, to the newest superhero blockbuster… there is bound to be something that catches your eye! (if you love films, they do a student membership.)
Created by sculptor John Buckley, the shark was controversial when it first appeared. It was subject to several planning disputes over the years but the shark survived and lives on...and is much-loved. I should probably point out that the shark is sticking out of the roof of a house!.
Spend some time wandering around Oxford exploring the coffee shops and cafes. I’m sure you’ll soon find a favourite place to study, treat yourself to a huge slice of cake or enjoy a brew. My top picks? Jericho Coffee Traders on the High Street - but it is tiny so you might end up having to grab a takeaway. And one of the G&D’s ice cream shops for a bagel and a good place to study in the evening.
Thanks to the Oxford Union, I was lucky enough to see all sorts of people from the late Stephen Hawking, to the outstanding Kunal Nayyar (Raj from Big Bang theory!). It is an absolutely fantastic resource and as a Brookes student you can now remain a member even after you graduate - Permanent membership! *Disclaimer* Membership is not cheap, and will likely set you back a good dollar!