Around Oriel

  • View over the Radcliffe Camera
  • Photo of Cowley Road at night by graduate student Alejandro Salgado Montejo
    Cowley Road at night, by graduate student Alejandro Salgado Montejo

Some might say that Oriel's location offers the best of both worlds. The College is situated right on Oxford's iconic High Street, but the main entrance in Oriel Square (close to Christ Church and Merton) is set away from the main tourist trail. The College's central location means that many of Oxford's most famous landmarks and institutions are right on our doorstep.

It is just a two-minute walk to Radcliffe Square, home of the famous Radcliffe Camera and Bodleian Library. The Covered Market, also two minutes away, offers something for everyone, whether you're in search of freshly baked cookies, gelato, a milkshake, a healthy salad, Thai food or some new clothes or shoes!

In terms of nightlife, Oriel's closest pub (about 30 seconds away) is The Bear, reportedly the oldest pub in Oxford dating from 1242. Just across the road from Oriel, the Varsity Club offers cocktails and fantastic rooftop views across Oxford. All of the other Oxford nightclubs are within walking distance. 

If nightclubs aren't your thing, Oriel is surrounded by numerous coffee shops and patisseries. It is a six-minute walk to the iconic Blackwell's bookshop on Broad Street, and a quick two-minute stroll will take you to the beautiful Christ Church Meadow where you can gaze out upon the river Isis (the name given to the Thames as it passes through Oxford). The College is also well-situated for access to the University's beautiful Botanic Gardens (free access when you show your student card).

If you're feeling energetic, the Oxford University Sport centre is only a five-minute bike ride away. Facilities at the Iffley Road centre include: a 25m swimming pool, gym, bouldering wall, athletic track, rowing tank, football pitch, hockey pitch, tennis courts, squash courts, and badminton courts. The College also has further sports facilities at our Bartlemas Road Recreation Ground.

Cowley Road

Students living at the College's James Mellon Hall accommodation on Rectory Road can take advantage of the many delights offered by the city's famous Cowley Road. Within a two-minute walk in each direction, students can enjoy: a film at one of Oxford's best independent cinemas, the Ultimate Picture Palace; a shopping spree at an independent music store or vintage clothes shop; fantastic ice cream at Oxford institution George & Delila (G&D); Japanese food from two different restaurants; Lebanese food; Syrian food, or some of the best burgers in Oxford. The accommodation also has two supermarkets less than five minutes away.