Exeter College

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Turl St, Oxford, United Kingdom
www.exeter.ox.ac.uk - +44 1865 279600
Exeter College - View of Radcliffe Camera from Exeter's beautiful garden
Exeter College - Exeter Chapel from the inside
Exeter College - Exeter Chapel from the outside
Exeter College - Exeter's beautiful garden

Exeter College Oxford Reviews

king_golo king_golo
28 reviews
Extraordinary Exeter College Jan 30, 2017
Exeter College is one of Oxford's oldest colleges dating back to 1314, and fortunately was part of the consortium of colleges I taught for.

Among other sights it has a wonderful chapel built in Victorian Gothic style which has just celebrated its 150th birthday. The interior is just marvellous - colourful windowpanes, dark wooden benches, Gothic arches, and you often hear the organist or Exeter's choir practicing which is simply amazing due to the chapel's great acoustics. Choral evensongs take place three times a week during term and are open to the public as well as classic concerts every now and then. But the best time to enjoy a visit to Exeter's chapel is 8th week of Michaelmas Term (normally the last week in November). This is when all the colleges have Christmas Carol services. The chapels are jam-packed with students, professors and tourists, and everybody sings along. It's a truly magical atmosphere, even if you don't understand the texts or don't like singing. After the service, visitors are treated to mince pies and can get a rare glimpse into the Rector's Lodgings.

Similarly interesting is the hall from 1618 - the place where lunch and dinner are taken. At lunchtime, students queue before the door to eat in this magnificent place while in the evenings, fellows and lecturers join them for dinner, wearing their gowns. Exeter's hall is similar to many others: dark brown wood, a high ceiling and paintings of famous members of the college (among them the first female head of an Oxford College, Frances Cairncross), but most of my guests have found it a wonderful place to be. If you are lucky to be able to visit it, do not hesitate!

The best place in Exeter College is the Fellow's Garden. Not only is the garden one of the most beautiful one can think of - old trees, a pleasant lawn to relax on, herbs growing on the wall of the library... -, but it is also the one with the best view of Oxford. Even better: visitors rarely come to this place, so it is an open, but nonetheless well-kept secret. From a little terrace in the garden, you can enjoy an unhindered view on Bodleian Library, Radcliffe Camera,

All Souls College, St. Mary the Virgin and Brasenose College - all at once! The view is breathtaking and incomparable. You stand in approximately 2.5m height, so no 50-people tourist group can block your way.

How to get there? Enter Exeter College via the gate on Turl Street, cross the quad and go through the middle door opposite the entrance tower. A little sign reading "To the Fellow's Garden" should indicate the correct way. Cross the garden and climb the stairs for the best view of Oxford.

While the college dates back to 1314, the oldest remaining part is Palmer's Tower from the 15th century. It is now home to several fellows' offices and - interestingly - the college's computer department.

As every other college, Exeter, too, is proud of its famous graduates. The most well-known among them is J.R.R. Tolkien, author of "Lord of the Rings". Born in South Africa, he came to Oxford in 1911 to study Classics, i.e. Latin and Greek. He soon became bored by these languages and turned to learn Welsh and later Finnish, both of which influenced the languages he invented for "Lord of the Rings". His enthusiasm for languages other than those he was supposed to study lead to only average marks in the early times of his studies, later, however, he graduated with a First, the best mark. His life after Exeter revolved around the phantastic worlds he created - and unfortunately you will have to read about it elsewhere. One can be sure, however, that some of his ideas might have been triggered by his studies here. If you study at Exeter, you may even be lucky enough to live in Tolkien's room. It is still in use. Perhaps the spirit of Tolkien will push you to an extraordinary academic performance?

Other famous alumni are Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, two well-known pre-Raphaelites as well as Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile under 4 minutes.

Note that the college is open to the public only in the afternoons during term. The exact times change over the year, but as long as it is not dark yet, you'll be lucky at around 2 or 3pm.
Exeter's beautiful garden
Exeter Chapel from the outside
Exeter Chapel from the inside
View of Radcliffe Camera from Exet…
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