Local traditions and culture in Oxford

  • Local Customs
    by jo104
  • Local Customs
    by jo104
  • Local Customs
    by jo104

Most Viewed Local Customs in Oxford

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    Oxford gardens

    by evaanna Updated Aug 5, 2006

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    The English love gardening. They can talk about their gardens, displaying knowledge that could do credit to a professional botanist. Their gardens are often real masterpieces of landscaping. In Oxford each college has its own gardens and a park with nicely mown lawns and trimmed hedges. (vide: New College and Wadham College gardens) And, even living in a flat, English people try to create a garden on the balcony. In the picture, my Oxford neighbour's patio with potted plants and a feeder for the birds. Isn't it lovely?

    My Oxford neighbour's little garden Balliol College garden
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    Cycling

    by shutterlust Written Aug 20, 2006

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    Cycling in Oxford is a way of life. It's a city without an underground and limited buses that don't go into the city centre, hence the use of cycles to get around the vast, sprawling city.

    When touring Oxford, please watch out for the hurtling bicycles down the cycling tracks. The cycling tracks are for the cyclists benefit, not yours, so watch out. You may also want to watch out for HGV drivers and other 4-wheeled vehicles illegally operating on the cycling tracks, even though they should not be there. So watch yourself around those white-line-down-the-middle-of-the-pavement type cycle paths! Keep to the pedestrian side of the pavement and you'll be alright!

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    College doors

    by jo104 Updated Aug 4, 2008

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    As you walk past the colleges its almost natural that you would look for the name of the college outside, but in Oxford it is only a coat of arms that identifies which college it is.

    The wooden doors are very heavy and are often inset with a porters door. The main door is kept locked and it is the smaller door by which the students gain access it can be closed easily if there happens to be trouble.

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    'Hell's Passage aka St. Helen's Passage' 2

    by shutterlust Written Aug 20, 2006

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    Another fun, likely improbable, story regarding Hell's Passage goes like this:

    A long, long time ago, when students of the university had a curfew to obey (which, of course, they didn't), students and proctors would set up a certain agreement. Many of the students, as opposed to studying, would frequent the Turf Tavern. There are two entrances/exists to the Turf which are particularly appropriate for a quick getaway. The agreement was that the proctor would always enter from the front (i.e. the one with the Bath Court hotel in it now) so that the students would station a look-out at that entrance (the back end of the Turf Tavern) and when the proctors would turn up, they would yell to the rest of the students in the pub and they would all 'run like hell' out the other entrance towards the Bridge of Sighs - hence, Hell's Passage.

    Cute story, but likely rubbish.

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    Pub Etiquette

    by shutterlust Written Aug 20, 2006

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    Great Britain may be famous for their love of queues, however the pub is the one place where all respect for queues are forgotten.

    Pub Etiquette:

    You somehow get yourself to the bar. You hold a tenner strategically in your hand, such that your bar maid can see it. You place your order. (Note: it seems that women always insist on paying for their own drinks or expect a guy to pay for their drink and men always pay in rounds...hmmm). You get your drink. You pay the price that you're told. There's no such thing as tipping in a pub, unless your bartender was particularly helpful or friendly, at which point you would more customarily offer to buy them a drink, which they could drink now or later, at that's usually just a half pint or so, unless you're particularly generous..

    My mistake: I used to tip about 1-2 pounds for each drink, always going back for more (I never drink just one! haha). Until I met the man of my dream (again, haha) who told me otherwise.

    So you can all learn from my mistake and don't bother looking around for a queue in a pub and don't bother tipping unless you really feel compelled.

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    Magdalen Hall

    by nickandchris Written Nov 1, 2005

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    This is a magnificently atmospheric dining room with wonderful wood panelling walls and long polished tables. Quite dark and sombre but reaking of tradition and fine dining. (Actually Michael says the meals are not brilliant but they are wholesome and good value, particularly the dinner and it saves on cooking yourself!!! What more could a student want?) Meals are served for students every day, except only dinner on Sundays.
    The Hall was built in 1474 and the wonderful linen-fold panelling was added during the early part of the next century. Believe it or not, it was bought in London, transported up the Thames to Henley and then brought overland to Oxford. Must have been some journey! Figures of Mary Magdalen and John the Baptist , amongst others, can be depicted.
    It was all very "proper English" and exactly how you would imagine a Hall would be at Oxford. Magnificent. I don't think I would like to be present when it's full of hungry, extremely drunken students (which happens regularly, according to Michael!)
    Every so often the students regale themselves in full evening dress for a slap-up nosh and grand booze up. Ouch!!!!!!

    Long standing tradition Magdalen's Hall
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    Hell's Passage aka St. Helen's Passage

    by shutterlust Written Aug 20, 2006

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    The alley between Hertford's famous Bridge of Sighs (see picture) and The Turf Tavern is now called 'St. Helen's Passage', which is a sanitisation of the more traditional 'Hell's Passage' from earlier centuries. This is very similar to the sanitisation of what was formerly known as 'Gropecunte Lane' (referring to the prostitute who used to frequent the area, same as the Gropecunte Lane in London) to Magpie Lane.

    Hertford's Bridge of Sighs

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    The Lodge

    by shutterlust Written Aug 20, 2006

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    The guard's desk or porter's building of any college in Oxford is called the Lodge. This is where you ask about admissions fees, opening hours, visiting hours, tourist information, etc. It is located at the entrance of each college, right before you enter and you usually have to check in at the Lodge when visiting a college (unless otherwise stated).

    St. Anne's Lodge

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    Daily Info Website

    by shutterlust Written Aug 20, 2006

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    http://www.dailyinfo.co.uk

    Daily Info is the go-to site for anything Oxford. Very similar to Craigslist in New York, Daily Info offers everything from accomodation (wanted and offered), sales of bikes, cars, clothes, etc, offering of services, jobs (wanted and offered), personal ads and local events! It's sort of a Time Out site for Oxford. Everything you'd want to know before visiting Oxford (or even while you're here!), you can find at dailyinfo.co.uk!

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    Oxford Affliations with Lewis Caroll

    by jo104 Updated Aug 12, 2008

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    Famous for his book Alice in Wonderland he attended Christchurch college in Oxford. He developed a stammer it has been said only in adult company but there is no evidence to support this theory. He caricatured himself as the Dodo in Alices adventures in Wonderland which relates to the fact he had difficulty pronuncing his surname Dodgson. You will find the Dodo statue along with many other amusing faces & animals on the way to St Abingdons.

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    TheStudentRoom.co.uk website

    by shutterlust Written Aug 20, 2006

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    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk

    If you're a student looking to come to Oxford, or a current Oxonian needing information, thestudentroom (popularly referred to as TSR), is a great Oxford website. They address all student needs, from places to club and party, pub ratings, restaurant critiques, college stereotypes, study stereotypes, admissions for graduates and undergraduates, for overseas students and local students, and more!

    NOTE: TSR is not just focused on Oxford, but on Oxbridge and all other UK colleges. It's very much a UK based site for undergraduate students but it acts as a resource for almost everything, including technology, politics, religion, sex/health and relationships and more!

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    Scholar's Guide to Oxford Pubs

    by shutterlust Written Aug 20, 2006

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    http://www.oxford-info.com/Pubs.htm

    Want an 'objective' view on pub ratings and critiques? Take a look at The Scholar's Guide to Oxford Pubs at http://www.oxford-info.com/Pubs.htm. An honest look at each of Oxford's historical, traditional and very much Oxonian pubs littered around the city. Personally, I agree wholeheartedly with the ratings, which are symbolized by little pints of beers! Definitely take a look at this site as it could be very helpful in designing your itinerary of pub crawls! :-)

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  • Visiting Colleges

    by sabsi Updated Apr 27, 2003

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    Some colleges charge you some Pounds to go in if you look like a tourist, e.g. Christ Church costs £3. It helps if you take somebody who has a student ID of one of Oxford's colleges!

    Barry brought me into all the colleges for free with his expired student ID. Thanks for that :)

    Part of Christ Church College
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    The Oxford Information Centre,...

    by Rhondaj Updated Aug 26, 2002

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    The Oxford Information Centre, The Old School, Gloucester Green, Oxford OX1 2DA is open from Monday to Saturday, 09:30-17:00 and on Sundays and Public Holidays from 10:00-13:00 and 13:30-15:30 during the summer months. Closed 25 December - 1 Jan inclusive.

    Tel: +44 1865 726871

    Another TAN building

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    Protected Landmarks

    by barryg23 Written May 26, 2003

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    One of my favourite places in Oxford is Christ Church meadow, but I'm lucky that I got to see it at all. Back in the '50's, the council planned to build a by-pass through here, to ease Oxford's traffic congestion. God knows what Chrst Church's dons thought of this, but luckily enough people protested, and one of the nicest parts of Oxford was saved from 'development'!

    Christ Church Meadow

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Oxford Local Customs

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