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A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Published by Madeline Gowers — 8 months ago

Hi everyone, and welcome to my final article of the competition! I've had a wonderful time writing about places near and far, and look forward to bringing you even more articles to you in the coming months. Continuing on, for now, with the Oxford theme, I thought that today I’d give you all a little virtual tour of New College, where I have been living and studying as an undergraduate for the past few years. Whether you’re hoping to complete a whole degree here, are considering doing an Erasmus exchange, or are just curious about this world-famous institution, keep reading to get an insider’s perspective on this weird and wonderful place!

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Let the tour begin!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls: welcome to your virtual tour of New College. Before we get started you’ll need to do a couple go things: (a) grab yourself a snack (this is going to be a long one!), (b) get comfy, and (c) transport your mind to Holywell Street in Oxford.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Coming down this road from the centre of town, you’ll notice many a coloured house. Most of these are now Grade II Listed buildings, and are used as student accommodation. You’ll also spot, on your left, the Holywell Music Room (a small concert hall); on your right, the idyllic Bath Place, which leads on down to the Turf Tavern pub; and, on the corner of Mansfield Road, the fabulous Alternative Tuck Shop (read more about this sanwicherie here).

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Porters’ Lodge

Continue walking, and you’ll eventually find, to your right, a grand archway. Head on through here, turn right immediately, and you’ll be in the Porters’ Lodge. Here – you guessed it – the college porters – who see to everything from security, to maintenance, to post – have their office. Through a glass window, you’ll also see a room full of pigeon holes. We call this place the ‘Pidge Room’, and it is here that we pick up our post. In our college – and, no doubt, in others – this is also an area where students can get their hands on free sanitary and contraceptive products.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

New Buildings

Back outside, turn an immediate right. On your left now, you’ll see the grass of Holywell Quad, while on your right, you’ll see New College’s New Buildings. Don’t be fooled by the name, though: this structure hasn’t been new since the Victorian era! The college, itself, by the way, is also anything but new. Established in the fourteenth century, it is, in fact, one of the University’s oldest institutions!

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

The New Buildings are inhabited, for the most part, by first-year students (Freshers). Some rooms have en suite bathrooms; others have double beds. It’s the luck of the draw, really! Here’s my first-year room, which had neither of these luxury features, but did, at least, contain a little sink cupboard. Being in an inferior room in first year had its advantages, though, since it meant that I was high up on the ballot for second year accommodation!

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

The New Buildings are also home to the college’s main laundry room. Students are given laundry cards upon their arrival in Oxford, which they can top up online. A wash and dry tends to cost about £2.50, although you’ll have to supply your own powder or detergent.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

The Cottages

Keep going, and you’ll eventually come to the Cottages, dinky residences that house yet more Freshers. The College Nurse has her office in here, and offers a drop-in service most days of the week.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

The Library

You’ll have to tiptoe now: we don’t want to disturb any who’s working! New College’s twentieth-century library – located to the left of the Cottages – may not be the most aesthetically pleasing of buildings, but it certainly is well-stocked with books and DVDs! Students can take any of these out using their Bod cards, or can simply make use of the library’s many study areas.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

The College Bar

Turn right out of the library now, and head along Holywell Quad, admiring the grass and rose bushes to your left as you go.

Stop when you see a small archway to your right. Climb the small staircase leading through it, turn left, and you’ll be in our college’s bar and cafe. Here, you can buy all sorts of light snacks – the paninis are particularly popular – as well as quite the selection of soft and alcoholic beverages. All items on the menu are very reasonably priced, and great for any students who are looking to treat themselves on a budget.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Depending on the time of day, you’ll find students either studying here (there’s also a bigger work room just behind this space), catching up over coffee, or partying the night away! Don’t get sucked in, though: we’ve still got a lot more of New College still to get through!

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Hall

Instead, head through the doorway opposite the bar area, turn left, turn left again, and you’ll find yourself standing before a great wooden staircase. Up at the top of this, you’ll find Hall, a grand dining room – complete with stained glass windows! – where students enjoy their meals. Dinner is included in the fees of all first and second year students. Third and fourth year undergraduates will have access to their own kitchens, but can still book onto the occasional meal here.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

The food in New College – which can be acquired in the self-service canteen area just opposite Hall – is not much to write home about. Portion sizes are, however, very generous, so at the very least your hunger will be satisfied! For fancier, and more tasty meals, students can book themselves, at no extra cost, onto Formal Hall (a meal held thrice a week, where all undergraduates must wear their gowns), or can pay around £20 for a space at Guest Night. Check out the plates we eat from – they're all printed with the college's motto: "Manners Makyth Man"!

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Old Quad

Feeling full? Drop your tray off on the conveyor belt next to the canteen, head back towards Hall, and make your way down the stone staircase just beyond it. At the bottom, you’ll find yourself in New College’s picturesque Old Quad: a square surrounded on sides by grand stone buildings (most of which contain fellows’ offices and conference rooms).

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

To your right, you’ll see the outside of Hall, as well as the exterior of the college chapel.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Above the archway straight ahead of you, you’ll also spot the Warden’s Lodgings. Students will get to visit the inside of this apartment when they attend a lunch here as Freshers, or when they meet the Warden for a quasi-annual academic progress meeting. Let’s just say that, accommodation-wise, the head of house has got it good!

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

New College Chapel

Head through the archway in the far right-hand corner of Old Quad, and you’ll find yourself just outside New College’s chapel. Head in here, if the door is unlocked, and admire the incredible interior of this house of worship, with its medieval stained glass windows, it’s stunning organ, and (best of all) its extraordinary reredos. Come here any day of the week, and you’ll be treated to the incredible singing of the New College Choir.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Cloisters

Right out of the chapel, you’ll find the cloisters of New College. Free sculpture exhibitions are often put on here, so follow the pathway all the way around, and see what pieces of artwork you come across. After your tour, head to the grassy square in the middle of this structure, and admire the evergreen holm-oak tree which was used in one scene of the Harry Potter and the Goblet Fire film.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

While you’re here, look up, and you’ll spot the chapel’s bell tower. Students can obtain the key to this structure from the Porters’ Lodge, and will enjoy amazing views from the top over the whole of Oxford.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Old Lodge

When you’ve seen all there is to see here, head back to Old Quad, turn right, and presently you’ll stumble across another great archway. This is part of the Old Lodge, where, you guessed it, the Porters used to have their office. Today, this is the main entrance to the college for tourists. If you head through the gate, you’ll find yourself in New College Lane, site of the Barn (a thatched building where a couple of fellows have their rooms), and the world-famous Bridge of Sighs.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Garden Quad

Don’t be tempted to leave just yet, though! Back in college, follow the pathway round the grassy circle of Old Quad (walking on the grass, itself, is prohibited!), and head straight on through yet another archway to Garden Quad. Most of the rooms in the Old Buildings here are occupied by second-year students. They’re some of the biggest –and therefore most sought after – in college!

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Turn right as soon as you enter this third quadrangle, then right again, and you’ll find yourself in the JCR: a room where undergraduates can study, make hot drinks, play ping-pong, and/or relax with a good old game of Mario Kart. Head back out and right, and you’ll soon find yourself outside the Long Room: a – you guessed it – long room, where various events take place throughout the year. Make your way back to Garden Quad now, but not before having a quick peek at the college’s underground wine cellar, where students can come and make purchases just before Formal Hall.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

The Garden

We come now to one of the most beautiful parts of New College: the Garden. Straight ahead of you, as you walk through the iron-wrought gate, you’ll see the Mound, a sizeable man-made hill, about whose purpose no one is quite sure! Stand at the bottom of the steps and clap: you may hear the Mound clapping back

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Turn around, and admire the Old Buildings from a new angle (in summer, they’ll have wisteria hanging down from them), the ancient city wall (which has nooks in it where one can sit and relax), and the garden’s stunning herbaceous borders. In the warmer months, many students will come to this lawn to study or eat with friends. This is also where the college’s annual Garden Party is held.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

Sacher Building

Follow the city wall round until you’re behind the Mound, then make your way through one final archway on your left. Straight ahead of you, you’ll find the Sacher Building, where the majority of fourth-year students reside. Like the library, it’s not got the most beautiful of facades, but the rooms inside are pretty luxurious. On the ground floor, you’ll also spot a solitary classroom.

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

The croquet lawn

Follow the pathway from here, back round to Holywell Quad – stopping, on your way, to admire the new Longwall Street accommodation block – and you’ll find the New College croquet lawn. In true Oxford style, many students will engage in this sport during the summer months. You’d be surprised by how competitive some of them get!

A virtual tour of New College, Oxford

You made it!

Guess what? We’re already back at the Porters’ Lodge! I hope you’ve enjoyed your virtual tour of New College, and that if you are thinking of applying here, this article has only made you want to do so more. If you’re ever in Oxford, and would like to see the place in person, drop me a message, and I’ll take you round for free. Otherwise, be sure to visit the college whenever you next find yourself in Oxford, and don’t forget to clap when you get to the bottom of the Mound!

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