Monday, 23 December 2013

Oxford, England (in winter)

Bodleian library oxford

Housed within the county town of Oxfordshire, Oxford is a city in central southern England - merely a two hour drive away from central London and made extremely accessible via the Oxford tube. It has a humble town population of about 150,000 and home to the landmark University of Oxford, the oldest university in United Kingdom. This university town represents the epitome of English Oxbridge √©lite and serves as a nice retreat from the bustling life of Central London with the countryside of Oxfordshire. I love the old town feel, even with the contrasting modern living and traditional Gothic architecture represented in the same haven. Yet, whenever someone mentions Oxford, it's not the "city of dreaming spires" (Matthew Arnold, Thyrsis) that comes to mind but the lovely chats, running across many streets in dinner dresses and suits for Balliol college formal in subzero degree celsius, walking around oxford with my dear host who says that oxford has nothing much to offer (he kids), taking pointless multishot pictures and making old school jokes with my two favourite (and silliest) IB mates. Thanks for hosting us, Nav and for taking us around, Isaac!

Jokes aside, Oxford is an alluring old city to walk around in - the cobbled streets, small homely streets and cosy cafes made me wished that I had planned to stay longer.  The winter cold made the walk by the lake slightly gloomy, but that didn't deter us from being excited at the sight of the dragon boaters training and cooing at the ducks frolicking by the waters. It was however, too cold for punting so we went back for it in summer ♥ 

Christ church college oxford quad

Christ church college oxford

Christ church college oxford

Oxford lake

Oxford head of the river

Oxford moss lake

Oxford lake ducks

Oxford university dragonboating

Before YC came to join us, we had a lovely catch up over tea at Quod brasserie. Located at High street, Quod brasserie has a welcoming glass lobby and cosy wooden interior. It was cold and we were hungry from all the winter walking so we decided to pop in for some light food - I had a cream tea set and he had the fish and chips special (so much for having a light meal before the dinner formal). We sat by the bay window facing the street, having sunlight streaming in was a delight in itself. 

quod brasserie scones tea

quod brasserie fish and chips

The streets remind me of London (without the crowd), where all too familiar UK brands such as Dorothy perkins, Topshop and Primark could be found readily, especially on Cornmarket street. Walked around nooks and corners before heading back to the dorm to bum around with HIMYM and getting ready for the formal.

Cornmarket street Oxford

Alumni house oxford

Oxford england church

Oxford england

Oxford england

Oxford england

Museum of oxford

St Peters college oxford

Punjabi suit

At 6:30pm we begin to panic because YC was caught in a jam on a bus from Central London, the doors for the formal were about to close on us and we nearly had to settle for a half eaten salmon wrap for dinner. But us being us, we eventually made it to Balliol college after a dramatic night of panic calls, rushing in subzero temperatures in our dinner wear (and in my heels, mind you) and fixing YC's bus makeup, just like any other day.

Dinner was surreal with flowing south african wine (so delish, have been trying to find the exact same wine ever since) and great company. As one of Oxford's oldest colleges, the interior was decked in dark gothic wood and the beams of the old dining hall are graced by portraits of prominent alumni and former masters, notably Edward Heath and Harold Macmillan. It was indeed an honour to be able to dine in such a beautiful dining hall adorned with such intricate history and significance.

Balliol college formal dinner oxford

Balliol college formal dinner oxford

Balliol college formal dinner oxford


Balliol college formal dinner oxford

Balliol college formal dinner oxford

Balliol college formal dinner oxford

Balliol college formal dinner oxford


Balliol college formal dinner oxford

Balliol college formal dinner oxford

Ended the night at St. Peter's college bar  and multishot pictures...

St Peters college bar

St Peters college bar

St Peters college bar

St Peters college bar


....and started our day with multishots.




Isaac took us both to Christ church college while N went for classes, it's always a delight to meet someone familiar from your home country abroad. It was extremely kind of him to take us around even though he clearly had a hectic schedule, so thank you Isaac!

As the largest college in Oxford and housing famous landmarks such as the Tom tower and Oxford's Cathedral spire, Christ church welcomes a steady flow of visitors all year round for a fee of £5.50 for students and £7.00 for adults. But if you do know someone from the college, they get to bring in guests for free :) It was really pleasant walking through to admire the beauty of the college and its fascinating history (Isaac peppered anecdotes while bringing us around), much less stay there as a full-time student! I loved the tranquil landscape of the meadow and the architectural beauty of the buildings, and if you're a harry potter fan you would know the Christ church dining hall was used as the set in the movie. Do look up and spot out interesting historical significance in their glass stained windows, they even feature Alice in wonderland characters! We had a small snack before meeting up with N again for lunch.

Christ church college

Christ church college

Christ church college

Christ church college

Christ church college

Christ church college

Christ church college

Christ church college corridor

Christ church college dining hall windows

Christ church college dining hall

Christ church college dining hall

Christ church college dining hall stain glass

Christ church college dining hall

Christ church college dining hall

In the heart of the college lies the Tom quad (or the great quadrangle), which is the largest college quad in the University of Oxford and where the Tom tower stands. The ornamental pond with Mercury perched in the middle used to be where many students got thrown in but now there's a hefty penalty for crossing the line and stepping in. Apparently, the pond is home to Koi carp gifted by the Empress of Japan many years back.

Tom quad christ church college

Tom tower christ church college

Christ church college

Tom quad christ church college

Inside Christ church cathedral:

Christ church college cathedral

Christ church college cathedral

Gallivanted around and popped by the Oxford covered market where they had shops neatly divided in rows selling handicraft, produce, fresh meat, hand made soap, confectionery, etc. Naively thought it would be a retreat from the cold but it was still extremely cold because it was still outdoors. Loved how the interior was old styled but fashioned with modern shops, and how Ben's cookies was conveniently placed at the entrance though. Finally met up with N and we had indian for lunch before continuing our stroll through the city.

oxford souvenir cake

oxford covered market soap

oxford england street

Indian food

Bodleian library, one of the oldest library in Europe and busking in the rare winter sun in its English gothic architecture fashion. Unfortunately, we couldn't get access to the library as it was not open to the public. It was nonetheless a magnificent structure to behold from the outside.

Bodleian library

Bodleian library

Bodleian library

Bodleian library

Bodleian library

The library courtyard. I find it intriguing that many pillars around the building (used for matriculation of new undergraduates joining the Oxford family...I think) had various emperor faces! Also gracing the courtyard is the bronze statue of William Herbert.

Bodleian library courtyard

Bodleian library courtyard william herbert

Bodleian library courtyard

Before the sun set:

Oxford sunset england

vaults and garden cafe oxford

oxford england

oxford england

Good times with old friends are gold ♥ Came back to this beautiful city for punting during summer too, stay tuned and ciao!

No comments :

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...