Life in Oxford


Our campus is a close-knit community, helping you to feel supported and welcome during your time here. With an award-winning café onsite, local shops, bars and restaurants close-by, you will never be far from what you need.

Ruskin College is one of the liveliest venues for literary and political meetings in Oxford with visiting speakers, music evenings, and creative writing. The College regularly hosts events including guest speakers, book launches, political events, Ruskin Red Ball, and a variety of performance-based evenings.

With Oxford on our doorstep, and 32,000 full-time students in Oxford (Higher Education Statistics Agency 2014/15) you are not alone and there’s a lot to keep you entertained. Here are some of our suggestions:

Eating and drinking
Oxford is a truly cosmopolitan city. On offer is a wide range of places to eat and drink; restaurants, tapas bars, wine bars, independent pubs and bars with live music, tea shops and coffee houses. Try The Varsity Club for some unique views of Oxford from its rooftop bar.

Carnivals, parades, and festivals
Oxford plays host to a diverse range of events: Cowley Road Carnival – not to be missed – Oxford Pride and Parade, Oxford Literary Festival, Common People Festival, food events and many music events.

The wonderfully quirky Pitt Rivers Museum is a treasure trove of collected items from around the world. The Ashmolean is the University of Oxford's museum of art and archaeology showcasing fascinating collections from around the globe.

Punting is the traditional way to see Oxford from the water and is enjoyed by students, visitors and residents all year round – take a picnic with you.

Breathing space
Oxford’s green spaces allow you to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. There are over 50 parks, gardens, meadows and nature reserves as well as the Oxford Canal and the rivers Thames and Cherwell to enjoy. Explore University Parks or watch the sun set over the Oxford spires from South Park.

Cinema and theatre
Catch a movie at a cinema with a difference; the Ultimate Picture Palace on Cowley Road and the Phoenix Picturehouse on Walton Street are both small cinemas featuring both indie and popular films. There are discounts for students and great refreshments available around the venues.

The Playhouse and New Theatre in the city centre stage plays, musicals, shows, and music performances throughout the year. Discounts are available to students.


You will find all the high street names in Oxford, along with the brand new Westgate Oxford shopping destination, together with some wonderful independent shops, and the world famous Oxford Covered Market, which opened in 1774.

Read our latest blog: Living in Oxford, the City of Dreaming Spires