Things you’ll only know if you’re from Oxford
So much better than Cambridge
From Gifford’s Circus to the delights of the Ashmolean, Oxford is one heck of a place to grow up in.
A shining beacon of beauty in England’s pleasant southern fields, its far more than just the home of world class university education.
Perhaps the most multi-use meadow in all of the ‘shire, Port Meadow has borne its fair share of shenanigans.
From cows, horses, drunken teenage parties, rowers and the archetypal dog walker (Springer Spaniel or black Labrador obviously) Port Meadow can be both family friendly and the place of creation for a number of families.
Teens flock here during the summer nights, because it has that heady mix of freedom, space to bust your best drunken moves and all of your mates. Worst comes to worst, you can pass out among the cow pats.
What’s not to love?
This is the place to go if you like 2 Jagerbombs for £2.50 and a scuzzy, grungy vibe.
You have to walk through a tunnel that has, amongst other things, Dory from Finding Nemo graffitied upon it and then through the Sheaf’s back door. This is all done whilst trying not to make too much eye contact with the leather clad men and women in the smoking area.
This makes the ‘Sheaf Oxford’s most well kept secret.
I have seen Beavis and Butthead lookalikes, many a man with beards to rival a gnome’s and enough black leather to last me for years.
This, combined with the rock soundtrack means that you know your night is going to be good the minute you walk in. Or leave.
Also, the Sheaf’s bathrooms. Amirite?
G & D’s
Situated on Cowley Road, the home of great places to eat, (pointedly looking at Atomic Burger), George and Delilah’s is THE place to go for ice cream or bagels. With it’s variety of flavours, and overly generous portions, it is almost never empty.
If you’ve tried one of their brownies and ice cream combos, you know you’ve found your home within home.
It is also an amazing place to both marvel and feel faintly repulsed at the artistic renderings of cows.
Who doesn’t love the painted portrait of a cow with a feathered hat on, especially when you’re faintly hungover and just want to sit on the comfy sofas without feeling judged by a bovine.
Cellar is the club that you go to when you can’t get into Purple Turtle, a last chance saloon for the drunken.
It is also perhaps the grimiest club in Oxford, and that’s exactly what makes it so charming.
You can drop your glass on the floor, and it will stick. You can throw it at the wall, and it will stick. You can throw it at the ceiling, and it will stick. This inadvertent drunken safety feature is perhaps the best thing about the entire club.
That and the floor to ceiling speakers, which continually blast out apparently different, yet very similar, bass notes. You could probably stick your drink to the speakers, thinking about it.
If you don’t know someone who went to The Dragon, are you sure you actually come from Oxford?
Everyone knows at least one person, or one lot of siblings that all attended the primary school that Tom Hiddleston famously went to. It’s terribly Oxford.
The city is beautiful, it’s true. And it is lovely almost all year round. But there is simply no reason to stop directly in the middle of pedestrian traffic to take a photograph of a manhole cover.
Or that scaffolding.
Or that bin.
Seriously, those things are everywhere. True Oxford inhabitants can dodge the sudden stoppers-it’s a well learnt skill.
You have to have punted at least once in Oxford.
It’s almost a rite of passage to either lose the punt pole, enter the water against your will or get stuck in the generous amount of greenery Uni Parks has to offer.
The phrase, ‘I’m good at punting’, is never uttered, because it is ultimately a lie. No-one is good at punting. At best, some people are better at remaining out of the river than others.
Which is why, when on a summer’s day, you eventually drift round the bend having lost your dignity, the pole and your family’s belief in your upper body strength, and you see the Victoria Arms, you know you’ve had a truly Oxford summer’s day.
May Day is massive in Oxford. In fact, it is the one non-academic reason the students get up early. Or stay awake into the early hours.
With the celebrations starting from 6am and continuing well into mid morning, it is a time to eat so much breakfast food you feel ill, watch middle aged men enjoy wrapping bells around themselves in the name of Morris dancing and listening to the bells of Oxford ring for a solid 20 minutes.
You used to also be able to jump off of Magdalen bridge into the freezing, and very, very shallow river below. But the council stopped that. With good reason I might add, much as the thought of jumping into the river for Pagan reasons is enticing, the river is seriously shallow.
Oxford leaves you with a lot of pride.
You take pride in the beauty of your city, the fact that we have the only correct way of punting (again, here’s looking at you Cambridge), the knowledge and creativity your city has cultivated, and the fact that you know almost all of it like the back of your hand. After all, it’s not very big.
So be like the spires and keep on dreaming, you proud Oxfordians.