It’s coming up to that time of the year again. Thousands of people up and down the country and all over the world are waiting with bated breath. The big day is approaching…
It’s the Oxford and Cambridge boat race.
In terms of competition, it doesn’t get much stiffer than this classic rowing event. But unless you or your family went to one of these two prestigious universities, it can be hard to know who to support. So why not book a room at our Oxford hotel, one at our Cambridge hotel, and plan a visit to each, to help you make up your mind? Here are 5 facts about the city to convince you to go team-Oxford, and 5 to persuade you to choose team-Cambridge. (We wouldn’t want the decision to be too easy, now!)
1) Oxford is home to the world’s first public museum in the form of the Ashmolean, which was opened to the masses in 1683. It plays host to a wonderful collection of sketches, paintings and antiquities.
2) Oxford was the capital of England during the English Civil War and was saved from bombing during World War II because Adolf Hitler intended to reinstate it as capital, if he were to conquer the UK.
3) The buildings in Oxford are covered with gargoyles, pulling all sorts of amusing faces. Hunting for the one of them picking his nose can provide hours of amusement.
4) Lewis Carroll wrote Alice In Wonderland while living in Oxford and spent a lot of time with the real Alice, who actually existed. If you go for a wander in the surrounding countryside, watch out for rabbit holes or you might find out how much of the rest of the novel was based on reality too.
5) The University of Cambridge was actually founded by students from the University of Oxford, who were fleeing after Oxford riots. “Town and gown” relations in Oxford are better now, so there are no more riots, but Oxford still gets to claim to be the original university.
1) Cambridge is home to the oldest university playhouse and is a great place to see theatre. The Amateur Dramatics Club, founded in 1855, offers a continual programme of student plays, and The Cambridge Arts Theatre is a great venue to see the big shows.
2) King’s College Chapel is home to what many consider to be the most accomplished choir in the world. The Christmas Eve Nine Lessons and Carols service at King’s is broadcast to millions of listeners all over the world.
3) The original manuscript of AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh is available for reading at The Wren Library in Trinity College.
4) The Cambridge University Botanical Gardens are home to over 8000 species of plants from all over the world, and make an excellent afternoon’s visit.
5) Charles Darwin did much of the studies that lead him to write The Origin of Species while he was attending Cambridge University. One of the university’s 31 colleges is named after him.
So on 31st of March this year, over 200,000 people will flock to the River Thames to join in the festive spirit and watch the two world-famous rival universities compete for first place. Whose side will you be on?