Glamorous Parties, Exclusive Activities and other Top-Notch Treats at Oxford Royale Summer Schools

Image shows ORA students in beautiful dresses heading to a ball.
ORA students dressed up for a glamorous party – Image Copyright Oxford Royale 2013 – All Rights Reserved

You may have noticed that here at Oxford Royale Summer Schools, we take academic work very seriously.

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We encourage the highest academic standards from our students, and the primary focus of all our courses is on helping brilliant students become even more brilliant in preparation for a successful university application and career. But we’re not just about work, work, work; we firmly believe that having some time off and enjoying yourself is every bit as important as studying hard when it comes to being successful. To that end, your free time on all our courses will be packed with loads of fantastic experiences and activities designed to help you enjoy your time in the evenings and on well-deserved days off. We know that you’re devoting part of your school holiday to being with us, so we like to include plenty of holiday elements to your time in Oxford. In this article, we’re going to give you a flavour of what you can look forward to in your down-time when you come to study with Oxford Royale Summer Schools.

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Image shows a student at the chocolate fountain at an ORA party. There is a column of fruit on the left hand side.
Delicious treats at the Oxford Union Ball.

You can look forward to some glamorous parties and sumptuous balls in some of your evenings at Oxford Royale Summer Schools, giving you the chance to let your hair down after a busy programme of lessons. You’ll have the chance to get glammed up and head down to some of Oxford’s most prestigious venues, such as the five-star Randolph Hotel in the city centre, beautiful country mansion Eynsham Hall in a nearby village, and even the famous Oxford Union Debating Society, which will give you a real taste of Oxford University life. Don’t forget to bring some stylish evening wear and get ready to dress to impress!
We don’t do things by halves at Oxford Royale Summer Schools, and you’ll see this in our approach to party organisation as much as in the attention to detail we’ve put into planning your academic studies. Previous parties have included an under-the-sea themed ball, a 1920s themed country house party complete with caricature artist and 1920s dance classes, and an around-the-world themed party with a traditional English funfair and live Caribbean music. Our parties are a fantastic way to let off steam and consolidate new friendships, and they’re a great excuse to get away from your desk and enjoy the balmy summer evenings.


Image shows croquet balls beside a hoop.
Why not have a go at the typically English pastime of croquet?

From feasts to talent contests, we’ve put together a full programme of fun activities for all our courses so that you’ll never be left wondering what to do with your free time. You can expect film nights, karaoke and punting, but we have many more exciting activities on offer as well. We aim to give you the chance to experience new things, getting you out of your comfort zone as well as putting your own talents to good use. To give you a flavour of the kind of things you can look forward to, here are a few of our recent activities:
Multicultural feast – we put on an ‘International Night’ celebrating the cultural diversity that makes Oxford Royale Summer Schools so special, including a mouthwatering array of cuisines from all over the world expertly prepared by the students themselves. Past students have relished the challenge of showcasing their incredible culinary talents and preparing dishes from their home countries. Entertainment came in the form of cultural talks from other students on the subject of their home countries, along with musical performances from far and wide, all of which combined with the delicious food to make for a magical summer’s evening.
Talent show – our very own version of Britain’s Got Talent proved what we’ve always known: that Oxford Royale Summer Schools students are a special and impressive bunch of people. From charismatic classical piano playing to solving a Rubix cube in seconds, the students wowed everyone so much that it was impossible to decide who was best; so they were all deemed to be excellent!
African drumming – this popular activity introduced students to the different rhythms that produce the distinctive sound of African drumming. With increasingly complex rhythms being learned on these simple percussion instruments, African drumming is a fun challenge that stretches the brain as well as being a very enjoyable and therapeutic way to unwind from the intensity of our study sessions.
Parkour workshop – derived from the French term “parcours du combattant”, Parkour is an obstacle course method of military training. Our students had great fun getting involved in this non-competitive sport, designed to help them move quickly and effortlessly past obstacles in the environment, such as trees. It was good exercise, too!


Image shows a lecture theatre with a speaker getting ready to speak.
The highly varied lectures are sure to interest and inspire you.

While attending a lecture may not sound like a way to unwind, trust us:  you’ll find our lectures an interesting and inspiring way to take a break from the rigours of your course. As part of your course, we’ll arrange for top-notch speakers to come and give lectures on all manner of fascinating topics that you might not have thought about before. Many of our students find that these intellectually stimulating sessions spur them on to achieve even more, both during the course and once they return home.
A recent example was a talk by Nigel Warburton entitled ‘Everyday Philosophy’. Nigel gave his lecture in Oxford University’s Examination Schools, where Oxford students have their lectures, and focused on the everyday relevance and applications of philosophy rather than the ‘other-worldliness’ of it. Students were clearly very taken with Nigel’s straightforward approach and enjoyed getting involved in the debate and asking him questions throughout. This is just one example of the way in which our courses introduce you to aspects of university life, helping to motivate you to put in a successful application to a top university.


Image shows Broughton Castle.
Broughton Castle

As if studying in the beautiful city of Oxford wasn’t enough, we’ll also take you on some exciting day trips by coach to other parts of the country during your time at Oxford Royale Summer Schools. These excursions are meant to help you unwind after your intensive studying sessions, but they also serve an indirect educational purpose in that they help to broaden your horizons and introduce you to some of the UK’s most famous cultural hotspots and monuments. We find that these cultural day trips are of particular benefit to our English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students, as they allow students to experience English being spoken in its natural environment and provide opportunities for them to practise real-life conversational English. Some of our most popular day trips include:
– London – we’ll take you to see some of the capital’s many famous locations during the day, and in the evening you’ll have the chance to soak up the theatrical atmosphere with a musical in the world-renowned West End. On a recent trip we took our students to see the Queen tribute musical We Will Rock You, which went down very well with all who attended!
– Blenheim Palace – this stunning palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, is a short journey from Oxford. You’ll have the chance to tour the palace – the birthplace of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill and home of the Duke of Marlborough – as well as getting lost in the maze, enjoying a scenic ride on the mini railway and visiting the Butterfly House. It’s also your opportunity to experience the English countryside, perhaps with an ice cream to help you cool down on a hot summer’s afternoon.
Image shows the London Eye with a plane flying past.
The London Eye.

– Stonehenge – this mysterious prehistoric stone circle lies on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, and it’s one of the country’s most enigmatic landmarks. You’ll be able to walk around the stones for some fantastic photo opportunities and learn all about its 5,000-year history in the fascinating on-site museum; not to mention buying souvenirs for friends and family back home from the fantastic gift shop.
– Portsmouth’s Historic Docklands – home to several old and very distinguished warships, the Historic Docklands of Portsmouth give you the chance to travel back in time to a world of adventure on the high seas. Soak up the maritime atmosphere and learn all about Britain’s naval history as you board Admiral Nelson’s famous flagship, HMS Victory, and marvel at what remains of Henry VIII’s ill-fated warship the Mary Rose, which sank off the coast of the Isle of Wight in 1545, after 33 years of service that had seen her in action in wars against France, Scotland and Brittany.
– Stratford-upon-Avon – home to the world’s most famous playwright, William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon is rightly one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. If your course includes an excursion to Stratford, you’ll see the playwright’s birthplace and the recently revamped Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which continues the long history of theatre in this pleasant and historic Warwickshire town. Some of the nation’s best-loved actors have tread the boards of this renowned theatre, including the likes of Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Judi Dench.
– Bath – a World Heritage Site, Bath is known primarily for two things: the Romans, and the exquisite Georgian architecture that Jane Austen would have known. You’ll have fun roaming its beautifully designed streets and maybe even venturing further back in the city’s history by exploring the well-preserved Roman Baths. If a trip to Bath is on the agenda for your course, have a flick through some of the scenes in Jane Austen’s Persuasion or Northanger Abbey before you go; the author writes extensively of life in Bath in the Georgian period, and it’ll give you a deeper appreciation of the city’s cultural heritage.
Students come from far and wide to study at Oxford Royale Summer Schools, and for many of them, it’s their first time in Britain. On all our trips, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for buying souvenirs to take home to family and friends, and you’ll have the chance to be photographed next to some of the most famous sights in the UK. While you’ll only have time for two or three of these exciting trips during your stay, we’re certain that you’ll love these occasions to be a tourist; you are on holiday, after all!


Image shows rolls of graduation scrolls.
Celebrate your accomplishments!

At the end of all our courses, our students go through a formal graduation ceremony in recognition of their achievements. This is invariably an emotional occasion, as students are excited and proud of all they have accomplished during their time with Oxford Royale Summer Schools, but at the same time sad to be on the verge of leaving Oxford and all their new-found friends. The graduation evening begins with a final opportunity to dine with your fellow students and Oxford Royale Summer Schools staff over a formal three-course meal, Oxford University style; the parents of many of our students also visit for this memorable conclusion to your course.
After dinner, it’s time for the graduation ceremony to begin. These mimic the university graduation ceremony you’ll one day experience, perhaps even in Oxford itself. You’ll be presented with a graduation scroll by our programme director, and you might even be in with a chance of winning one of our special prizes for ‘Attainment’ and ‘Effort’, awarded to students who’ve shown outstanding promise in their time with Oxford Royale Summer Schools. There are some more light-hearted prizes awarded, too; to much laughter and applause, some of the accolades bestowed on recent Oxford Royale Summer Schools graduates include ‘best table tennis player’, ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ and ‘best rapper’.
After the presentations and ceremony are over, you’ll also enjoy a very special treat: a short video of the highlights of your time at Oxford Royale Summer Schools. We have a video journalist on hand to capture all the memorable moments of your lessons, workshops, activities and excursions so that you can relive them at the end of your stay. For those with visiting parents, it’s also a great way of showing them what you’ve been up to, and it has proved enormously popular with all our students.
Once that’s over, all that remains is to dance the night away and revel in your successes over the last few weeks, bringing your course to a fun-filled close.

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