Monday, 5 December 2016

Oxford, Blenheim, and Bath: Michaelmas Term Excursions.

I'm afraid there won't be much advice in the next few posts, but rather photos and a small description of places I've ventured during Michaelmas (Autumn) term over the past 8 weeks. From Lewes in Sussex, to Bath in Somerset, I've finally been exploring more of what the UK has to offer me; something I've been meaning to do for the longest time.

Firstly, I'll focus on Oxford, after all, this city is my home base for the next year and the place I have spent the majority of my time. I still, however, feel like a tourist here as Oxford continues to dazzle me and I find more and more every day that I grow to love. I shan't lie and say I am enjoying the university experience (the course bores me, the reading list is endless, it's a very lonely place and I resent the lack of nightlife), but the city captivates me regardless.  I could spend endless hours wandering in and out of the colleges and parks, still noticing something new every time. 

The one thing I will say too is that even as a member of the University of Oxford, owing to the strict collegiate system it's often difficult to look round colleges if you're not a member there or it's not 'public opening hours'. It often feels awkward asking the porters if you can enter and I am still uncertain if signs such as "no public entrance" apply to me or not - yes I am a member of the university, but no I'm not a member of the college, I lie in-between. That said, you never know unless you ask - some are more friendly than others. One of the advantages, however, of being a student is that in the larger more famous colleges that usually charge (such as Christchurch and Magdalen), I can get entrance for free and can typically bring up to three guests with me. The same applies for other university buildings such as the Sheldonian Theatre, but while I get free entrance to the botanical gardens, my guests have to pay - this is the only place I've yet to encounter that does this mind you. So, if you're ever looking to explore, hit me up and I'd love to show you around.

My favourite is Magdalen college, it has a really beautiful scenic walk out back, and even has a deer park! Unfortunately, I don't have any good photos of the deer (though there are about 50 of them!) as I usually only carry my iPhone on me. A few famous Harry Potter scenes were filmed in Oxford too before they decided to replicate the locations in London for expense reasons. 

Here is a selection of images from my various journeys around Oxford:

           Christchurch Dining Hall - 'Great hall' in HP.  Matriculation outside of Radcliffe Camera

Sheldonian Theatre
Natural History Museum - Winter frosting on my bike-ride to class.
View from the top of the Sheldonian Theatre looking over Weston Library.
Magdalen College.
Magdalen College, my favourite.

Magdalen College.
Magdalen College walk through the gardens.

Below to the left is again Magdalen College while the right-hand photo is of the Divinity School, the filming location of Harry Potter's infirmary. 

Queen's College.

I also recently visited Blenheim Palace with my friend Erica. It was such a beautiful trip to make at Christmas time! It is easy to access from Oxford - only 15 minutes by car, or 30 minutes by bus.

Scarlett in the grounds of Blenheim Palace

Erica in the grounds of Blenheim Palace

I recently took Harley to visit friends of mine in Bath. We stopped at the stone henge as it was on our way. Naturally, we refused to pay £20 each to visit the stones from the inside. You can still get a really close up view and enjoy a wonderful woodland walk by simply walking the route the bus takes. It's about 1-mile each way and is really pretty on a cold crisp winters day.

Harley in front of the stone henge free entrance

I have always loved Bath as a city but I forgot precisesly how much until I visited. I mean, I would still choose Oxford every day because I love how intimate it is, but Bath is a great city. Check out some of the scenery below!

Harley in the city of Bath.

Harley in the city of Bath.

Harley in the city of Bath.

Lawrence in Bath.

The city of Bath.

Ah, what a fun term it has been! Be sure to come say hi soon.


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