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Normal Hall

Each college has different dining arrangements, on different nights on the week. Many don't have kitchens, so when students are living in college they go to hall every night for their meals.

The most basic of these is coined 'normal hall'.

But is it that normal?

Well, in the grand scheme of things, most certainly not.Whilst the food may me served from a buffet (making it less formal) the setting is anything but normal. For most Oxford colleges have a grand hall, so really it feels like you're dining at Hogwarts each evening.

The food itself is changed up every night and a menu is usually posted in advanced so students can decide whether to attend. A wide range of meals are served from stir-fry, to roasts, to curry and fish and chips.

Students pay for their meal on their 'bod cards'; university cards which their bills are added to and paid for at the end of each term.

For normal hall, there is no waiter service, no latin grace and no candelabras (they are saved for formal hall which will be discussed in another post). There is however ancient art work hanging on the walls, Harry Potter style long oak tables and high arched ceilings, meaning it's no normal dining experience.

I remember tucking into my coco pops in my first week at Oxford and thinking, I'm literally eating my cereal in a palace!

Top Tips

  • Attending hall each night in your first year is a great way to bond with your year group.

  • Colleges cater for allergies and serve vegetarian dishes which I'll go into more detail on later.

  • Your bod card is your everything at Oxford; it is used for entrance to the libraries, borrowing books and paying for your food, so try not to lose it (though if you do you can get a replacement!).


Bod card - a University Card to gain access to libraries, computing services and some College and University buildings, as well as to pay for food in some colleges.

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