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Top Ten Things to do in Oxford as a Student
By Student Cribs | July 3, 2023 | Reading Time: 6 minutes
There’s so much to do and see in Oxford. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK and one of the most ethnically diverse. Home to the students of two universities and filled with absolutely incredible architecture, Oxford is a brilliant city to spend your student years. However, having time to fit everything in will definitely prove to be a problem! We’ve devised a list of our top ten things to do in Oxford, to make sure you don’t forget the best bits…
1. Go punting – Oxford’s Magdalen Bridge Boathouse is a great place to hire traditionally crafted punts, rowing boats and pedalos, or, if you feel like spoiling yourself you can hire a Chauffeured boat and relax on the river while leaving the hard work up to someone else. Punting can be both a hilarious (if someone ends up falling in) and relaxing activity and an absolute must-do while living in Oxford.
2. Visit Port Meadow – Port Meadow is a favourite in Oxford amongst both students and locals. Even though it is only a few minutes walk from the city centre, it is a beautifully peaceful and serene location, a perfect place to escape the city buzz. The meadow is filled with all kinds of wildlife and has absolutely stunning views of the Oxford spire-filled skyline.
3. Cowley Road – Cowley road has been described as “artery running through Oxford” and whatever that means, it sounds important! It is vibrant, diverse and the site of the city’s annual summer Carnival. Filled with shops, restaurants, bars and live music at night, Cowley Road is the heart of ‘student Oxford’ and should definitely be where you’re spending most of your time.
4. Get involved in the theatricals – as well as the well known theatre companies such as New Theatre and the smaller Oxford Playhouse, the University’s student drama productions are always very impressive and both Universities hold productions throughout the town quite regularly.
5. Explore the quirks of the City – As well as all the generic goings on of the city, Oxford is also home to lots of little quirks and exciting finds. Two of the most famous are the Cowley Road Murals (located on Stockmore Street is the brilliant bridge scene mural, as well as other more traditional but incredible graffiti) and the Headington Shark (a very bizarre but also quite amusing shark body protruding out of an otherwise quite normal terraced house in Headington).
6. Go to Oxford’s Botanical Gardens – Arguably the most beautiful place in Oxford, the Botanical Gardens are filled with exotic flowers, trees and brilliant smells. The garden is also famous for its roots to Oxford’s literary culture, as one of the greenhouse roofs is easily recognisable in John Tenniel’s illustrations of Alice and Wonderland and the gardens also play a key role in Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy.
7. Find your favourites – Oxford is an extremely quirky city filled with many weird and wonderful bars, restaurants and pubs, so it is important to try as many as possible out and find your favourite. Our top two are Atomic Burger, based in Cowley and is both a burger and a sci-fi lover’s paradise, filled with thunderbirds, action figures and 80s music, and Thirsty Meeples, Oxford’s one and only board game café, offering not only food and drink but a collection of over 2000 board games!
8. Visit Radcliffe Square – Indisputably iconic, Radcliffe square is one of the (if not the) most beautiful squares in the whole country. It starts with the gothic University Church at one end and carries on through to the Bodleian Library at the other.
9. The Covered Market– Although it has seen the years (founded in 1774) the Oxford Covered Market has definitely stood the test of time and still remains very useful, even just as a tourist attraction. Between the hanging carcassus of deer, pheasants and the festive turkey, you might be lucky enough to find a hidden gem so definitely pay it a visit (Ben’s Cookies alone make it worth it!).
10. Visit all 38 Colleges of Oxford University – Whether you’re from Oxford Brookes or the University of Oxford, the colleges of Oxford are iconic all over the world. Used for book inspiration, historic events, and even movie filming (yes, Harry Potter!) the colleges (or atleast some of them) are a must visit. You’ll kick yourself if you leave Oxford without seeing them.
This is just a list of our favourite things to do in Oxford but there are loads more activities, sites, restaurants and bars that are amazing! Start building your own list and make sure you get to do everything you want while living in this magnificent city because before you know it, your time at University will have flown by!
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