Football in University Parks
Grab a football (of the soccer variety) and a bunch of friends and head over to University Parks off of Banbury Road! Organize your own football game and celebrate (because everyone's a winner!) at one of the many pubs littering Oxford! (Our personal favorites, the Turf Tavern or King's Arms right down the street from the park). University Park is the Central Park of Oxford, giving enough green space for picnics, football games, suntanning, wine and cheese parties, summertime movies in the park, study groups and more! Football games are just one of the many sports that take place in University Park and even if you don't play and are more of a spectator, there's plenty to watch and cheer for!Related to:
- Family Travel
- Adventure Travel
Croquet on the College Lawn
When I think about university sports I usually think about basketball, hockey or football, but in Oxford one still plays croquet, so I learned to my surprise.
Croquet was very fasionable in England in the second half of the 19th century, and it also got its fans in other part of the British Empire.
The obvious association that comes to mind when you think of "croquet" and "Oxford" is the totally bizarre croquet game in "Alice in Wonderland", written by Oxford academic Lewis Carroll. However, the game is alive, and I watched it being played by students on the lawn of Wadham College: hitting small balls with a mallet, aiming to pass through the rectangular hoops on the grass. Absolutely charming!Related to:
- Study Abroad
Torpids and Eights
Every year around Easter, there is the world-famous Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge. It takes place in London (on neutral terrain, so to speak) and is probably the world's toughest regular rowing competition. The best of the best of Oxford's and Cambridge's rowers compete there. Held annually since 1856, the race attracts thousands, and millions of people follow it on TV. As of 2015, Cambridge won 81 races and Oxford 79 - one result was declared a tie as the referee had allegedly fallen asleep drunk under a tree...
Why am I telling you that? Well, if you want to see some first class rowing apart from the Boat Race, you can see it at Oxford. Every year in spring and in summer, two inter-college boat races take place. In spring, you've got the Torpids in the 7th week of Hilary term (i.e. start of March). In summer, you've got the Summer Eights in the 5th week of Trinity term (i.e. mid-May). Both of these races are great fun to watch, and half of Oxford's university members cheer for their teams racing madly up the river. The races start at Donnington Bridge and end opposite Christ Church Meadow. As the river Thames is too narrow for a regular boat race, a so-called bumping race takes place instead. The rules for this are difficult to explain so it might be easier to have a look here where they are explained in all detail. In any case, due to the fact that bumping boats are out at Torpids and bumping as well as bumped boats are out at Summer Eights, there's a lot of chaos (and fun!) guaranteed. If you happen to be in Oxford at that time, don't miss them.
By the way, winning the Torpids or Summer Eights is a huge honour for every college involved. In pretty much every college, you will be able to see chalk drawings on the walls of the quads telling you which crew exactly was successful.
Equipment: If you want to take part, you should first become an Oxford student and get very good at rowing... But if you just want to watch, a picnic blanket and a tasty drink along with a good camera are enough - provided you find a good spot on the river. Hint: the curve opposite Aston's Eyot is great!
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