Keble College Oxford is often overlooked, with many people struggling to even pronounce the name (it’s ‘Kee-ball’, by the way).
But I argue that this exceptional Oxford college should be celebrated. I’ll explain why its charm and charisma will win you over when choosing Oxford colleges.
Which other college has brickwork like lasagne?
Keble College Oxford isn’t the oldest Oxford college, nor is it the biggest. But it does have something which the other Oxford colleges just don’t have – brickwork that looks like sheets of lasagne.
With all seriousness, Keble College really does strike a happy medium across many criteria which people use when choosing Oxford colleges, such as physical size, modernity, and location. Keble has a relatively large undergraduate body admitted each year, making for an energetic but charming college that I’m sure will win over your heart as much as it has stolen mine.
Keble College Quads
Like many Oxford colleges, Keble contains several ‘quads’. A quad is an internal courtyard with buildings on all sides. Keble college has three main quads:
- Liddon Quad– This is a huge quad. You’ll see it as soon as you go through the porters’ lodge, which is the main entrance. The gardener often mows stripes into the grass so it looks incredible.
- Pusey Quad– A smaller quad where croquet is played in the summer.
- Newman Quad– A smaller quad around the back of the college which third year accommodation looks out onto.
There is also a smaller quad called Hayward quad which first year accommodation looks out onto. People can sit on this patch of grass in summer and tables are put out for picnicking!
Other Keble College Buildings
The Chapel is also incredible. Even as someone who doesn’t regularly attend religious ceremonies at home, I love hearing the choir and organ – especially when they light candles and waft around incense!
The library and hall are also breathtakingly beautiful. It was upon eating some (you guessed it) lasagne on the open day that I made up my mind Keble was definitely the college for me. The 24-hr library is really well stocked and has a little spiral staircase which feels just like Harry Potter!
Winding down the spiral staircase in Keble library feels incredibly magical – even if it does make you slightly dizzy!
Keble is also lucky to have a theatre (the O’Reilly), cafe, music room, gym, pizza oven and bar, which looks a bit like a spaceship. The JCR (‘Junior Common Room’ – where undergrads hang out) is a neat, snug, but stylish spot to relax in college!
For the 150th anniversary of Keble college in 2020, the HB Allen centre has been built. This is a graduate site located a couple of minutes walk from Keble’s main site.
As you can see, lots is going on in Keble!
Keble College Accommodation
Keble is fantastic in that it offers college accommodation for 3 years of your degree. This means that, unlike many students finding Oxford accommodation, you don’t have to hunt around in Cowley to find a house. Also, 65% of the rooms are ensuite and those which aren’t only share a bathroom with one other person.
- Hayward and De Breyne – Most people still can’t pronounce DeBreyne even after their degree so most people refer to these rooms as ‘Hayward and DB’. These are 1st year rooms which have a shared bathroom between two and a large bedroom with a colourful sofa and huge window looking out onto Hayward quad.
- Pusey – These are mainly 2nd year accommodation which are ensuite and newly renovated.
- Liddon – These are second year rooms which look out over Liddon quad. The views can be sensational! They are also recently refurbished and are ensuite.
- Arco – These are third year accommodation. The ensuite bathrooms are wet rooms, which in my opinion can be a bit gross, but a shared kitchen between 6-10 people is a big bonus!
Keble College: The Big Friendly Giant
Keble really is a Big Friendly Giant college based on the number of students and the warmth which really fuels college life . The big size of the student body means that as a college we can:
- Have really vibrant JCR meetings – there are lots of people around to think of college improvements (such as buying Fifa 18 for the JCR) and charity suggestions (such as donating spare food from hall to local homeless shelters)
- Form competitive sports teams – We can put out really good sports teams for inter-college tournaments (cuppers) including Ultimate Frisbee, Netball and Rowing
- Meet via interesting societies – Music groups including the up-and-coming Keble Jazz Band, law societies, and charity campaigns all thrive in the Keble community
- Know loads of people – With students from 3 years all living on site, we really get to meet and make friends with people from lots of different subjects and year groups!
Location, Location, Location…
Keble college is lucky in that its located in a really great position. The map below outlines some of the key spots in Oxford. Nowhere is more than a 15 minute walk. (Some people use bikes, but I know that I don’t trust myself on the Oxford roads!)
Keble is particularly close to:
- Oxford University Parks – A lovely park with a small lake, leafy green paths and playing fields used for sport
- Port Meadow – A beautiful meadow with cows and horses and a canal running along the perimeter
- Radcliffe Science Library – The subject library for Sciences students, but open to all students as a snug place to work
- Oxford University Museum/ Pitt Rivers Museum – An incredible museum with massively tall ceilings and the site of many lectures for science students – you can read more about similar places to visit in your spare time in Oxford here
- Science Area – Contains many lecture theatres and laboratories where most of the science subjects are based
Being close to where your lectures are held or where your department is found is really handy – luckily Keble is ideally placed for most of the subjects it offers.
Keble College: The Little Things
Every Oxford college has its own unique and distinctive features that give it character and warmth. Some of the special things about Keble include:
- Keble College staff – The staff at Keble really make it a lovely and friendly place to be. People working for the college include the ‘Scouts’ (cleaners), the gardeners who really brighten your day by always stopping for a chat, the passionate porters, and the smiley dining staff, along with so many more!
- Strong welfare support – Keble college has its own college counsellor and the Welfare reps put on events including puppy parties, JCR teas (lots of cake!) and a bouncy castle was even put on Hayward quad to help with exam stress!
- The Keble Duck – Every year this peppy duck comes and nests in Keble’s flower bed, bringing a nest full of baby ducklings which eventually get escorted across the road to the Uni Parks lake. Sometimes more than one duck will nest and the sites are guarded by barriers to protect the ducks during balls and everyday Oxford life.
- Pizza Oven – The Keble pizza oven is a great place to pick up a bargain bounty after a long day. The pizza oven is found in the bar where a new pool table and dart board are also found!
Conclusion: Why Keble College has stolen my heart, and will surely grab yours too
Keble really is a charismatic and charming college. The big student body, phenomenal Oxford accommodation and superb location, along with its special little touches, make Keble College an awesome place to live and study.