Don your gown, grab an oar and brush up on your Classics, because this week Inspire Education is heading to… Oxford! Our last journey took us to the picturesque city of Bath, travelling back in time to visit Jane Austen’s heritage and the iconic Roman Baths. This time, we are going to explore the university city of Oxford and all that it has to offer Inspire students. So, come along for the British experience…
First stop: Oxford Walking Tour
Oxford may only be a short distance from Inspire’s home at Bradfield College, but its architecture recalls exotic places. For instance, do you know which famous bridge this one is inspired by? Clue: it has a distinctive Venetian style…You guessed it! Venice’s Rialto Bridge. The Bridge of Sighs, a skyway that joins different parts of Hertford College, was designed to replicate the Rialto, adding a little Italian zest to Oxford. Besides the Bridge of Sighs, Oxford also boasts of the Radcliffe Camera, part of the Bodleian library complex, a magnificent building that has inspired the likes of J. R. R. Tolkien. Therefore, Inspire loves to meander down Oxford’s cobbled streets taking in the sights of church spires, neo-classical architecture, hidden courtyards and secret alleyways, and the general buzz of the city.
Next stop: The University Colleges
Let’s step off the street, and venture into the peace and quiet of the colleges. Oxford University Colleges are renown for their prestige, their beautiful, stately buildings, and of course, their ‘stay off the grass’ signs (see how many you can spot on your next trip)! Inspire invites the students to soak up the history that’s passed through these buildings. What’s more, Inspire has started to notice how students seem to gain wisdom through simply standing where great minds have stood before them. Very peculiar, it must be something in the academic air…
Next stop: The River
By now Inspire students are heavily soaked in history and culture, so it’s time to give them a different kind of soaking…let’s go punting! The River Cherwell provides a quaint and peaceful spot to test one’s skills at punting. Or rather to sit back and let the others do all the hard work while you enjoy the view – yes, we know who you are! Regardless, punting is time and time again a favourite activity for our students. There’s nothing quite like messing about in boats – ask Ratty from Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows, he’ll tell you just how delightful and quintessentially British river life can be.
Final stop: Oxford’s culinary delights
After all that hard work, we’d better find somewhere to eat. Fancy a cake? A sandwich? Or pizza more your cup of tea? Well, Oxford has so many cosy little cafes and contemporary restaurants that you’ll be spoiled for choice. Just make sure you leave time to visit Oxford’s historic Covered Market, the fantastical Alice in Wonderland‘s shop, College outfitters, and university bookshops. Wow! What a lot to fit in one afternoon, and we haven’t even peeked into the Ashmolean Museum yet!
Oxford is definitely a feast for the eyes. With so much to see and do, this day trip is one of Inspire’s favourites. There is just something about Oxford that encapsulates academia, creativity and curiosity. Funny, it reminds me of a certain summer school I know…
Next time on An Inspire Journey: London, part 1
Hop on board the Inspire experience and contact us on our Facebook page InspireSummer or send us a tweet on Twitter @InspireSummerUK