MID-WEEK & WEEKEND VISITS
A full calendar of visits and activities is an integral part of the course. Mid-week and weekend visits are organised to various heritage sites within easy reach of Oxford. The visits provide an enjoyable and instructive outing and offer insights into English history and culture. The visits include:
Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, originally built for John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, in royal appreciation for his victory at the battle of Blenheim in 1704. The palace was designed by Sir John Vanburgh and the grounds beautifully landscaped by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. A guided tour of the palace is followed by an opportunity to visit the gardens and grounds.
Warwick Castle, one of the finest and most dramatic medieval castles in Europe. Originally the home of the Earl of Warwick, the castle houses a variety of exhibitions and displays. Students may stroll around the castle grounds, take a walk along the original fortified wall and watch demonstrations of medieval activities, such as jousting, hawking or siege warfare.
Windsor Castle, the ancient home of the British Royal Family, set in the town of Windsor. The visit includes time in the old town and also the site of the signing of the 'Magna Carta' at Runnymede.
Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare. This historic market town situated on the river Avon boasts striking Elizabethan architecture. We visit Shakespeare's original home, his burial place at the Holy Trinity church, the local 'Shakespeare Centre' and enjoy a production of a Shakespeare play.
Stonehenge and the city of Bath are visited in a day. The megalithic stone circle of Stonehenge is fascinating and mysterious evidence of ancient rituals and, potentially, sacrifice. Bath is a city built largely in the early-nineteenth century Regency style, and the visit includes the natural spa, thought to have health-giving properties, which gave the city its name.
Covent Garden, London, and the West End theatre district. The vibrant street entertainment and café culture make this a fascinating part of London to visit. It was once a fruit and vegetable market and is now transformed into a lively food, shopping and entertainment district. The visit concludes with a visit to a West End theatre to watch a suspenseful thriller, set in Victorian times.
Kensington Museums, London, including the Natural History Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum. Students are given a guided tour around the museums and then have an opportunity to wander at their own pace, examining in greater detail those exhibits and displays that are of particular interest.
The city, with its cobbled streets, its quaint 'covered market', its historic medieval college buildings with their gargoyles, towers and spires, and its gorgeous gardens, parks and meadows offers a superb setting for all the Oxford-based activities. There is a wealth of opportunity for exploration, both as part of the organised activity and in students' own free time.
An orientation walk provides a basic familiarity with the medieval heart of this compact city. Thereafter, students are encouraged to make the most of their time here by exploring the city. A series of guided visits takes place to famous collections and places of interest in Oxford, including the Bodleian Library, the Ashmolean Museum of Art & Antiquities, the Pitt Rivers Museum of Anthropology & Archaeology, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the Christ Church Picture Gallery. There are guided walks around the University Parks, Christ Church Meadow, Oxford Botanic Garden and some of the ancient colleges. Shakespeare productions in college gardens take place throughout the summer, offering a delightful experience on a warm summer evening.
Sports are optional, but for those wishing to take part in individual or team sports, the opportunities include soccer, basketball, tennis, ice skating, swimming and weights training. Sports sessions are arranged on weekday and Sunday afternoons and there are also evening sports sessions, according to demand. Leisurely afternoons are spent enjoying the traditional pastime of 'punting' on the rivers Isis and Cherwell and playing the deceptively competitive game of croquet on the college lawns.