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Oxford-v-Cambridge: Gardens of Eden

My post about the discovery of the secret garden of Peterhouse College in Cambridge will have left none of you in any doubt about my love for the gardens of Oxbridge. Be they less secret, the formal quads and extensive grounds of all the sprawling colleges are no less of a treat to behold. While my previous post concentrated on the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, today I’m focusing in on the gardens which transform those places of learning into havens of tranquility. How life studying in these flower-filled Edens must differ from the smog-filled campus of my London university!


As is evident from the photos I am sharing, we visited when the gardens of both Oxford and Cambridge were at their floral best. While my visit to Oxford was earlier in the year, and therefore decorated with the happy nodding heads of yellow daffodils and cautiously opening blossom, by the time of our April trip to Cambridge, tulips were abundant in a panoply of ravishingly colour, while blossom trees seemed to test the limits of their own staggering colour as they exploded in shades of arresting fuchsia pink.  Sloping green lawns, many alongside rivers and waterways, lushly demonstrate Britain’s great love of green and pleasant pastures, while extensive oaks and willow trees suggested through age that they had born witness to many a famous student passing through these grounds.


The presence of students quietly working in most of these gardens is evidence of their importance in providing the perfect level of concentration and tranquility to aid study and well-being. I only hope that study gives way to an unbridled appreciation of these magnificent grounds once the books are closed.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2019. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Teddy bear photo bomb!

    May 15, 2019
    • Haha glad you like it Naomi! He’ll be coming with us soon on our summer travels so look out for that! 🙂

      June 11, 2019
  2. Another set of gorgeous photographs! I particularly like that collection of aloes and potted plants (I think maybe at Trinity or Emmanuel?), something I haven’t seen before in college gardening. I think the gardens end up being taken a bit for granted by the students, unless you manage to stay on a bit during the vacations. It’s easy to rush through them in the middle of the latest essay crisis and not take time to stop and appreciate them! That blossom is just gorgeous! 🙂

    July 4, 2019
    • I was same when studying at Lincoln’s Inn… never stopping to appreciate the beauty of the grounds because stress cast such a long shadow. It’s only now that I can appreciate them having stepped far away. I’m sure these surroundings do penetrate our consciousness and furnish us with an innate appreciation for the aesthetic that we may not even be fully aware of. Needless to say, the gardens were stunning in both cities (especially Cambridge!) and I’m so glad you like the photos. Thank you!

      July 5, 2019

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