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Formal Hall - The Food

So I've covered the formal hall traditions but what about the food I hear you ask?

Well formal hall is quite the treat because rather than helping yourself to food at a buffet-style counter, a three course meals is served to guests.

High-table are served first and it has to be said, their food is usually way nicer. They often seem to get a whole different menu!

In many of the colleges, the hall staff wear uniforms and white gloves. I'd never been served by anyone wearing white gloves before arriving at Oxford!

Jugs of water are placed on the table but students can bring their own drink or, in some instances, buy their college wine.

A typical meal would be a pea soup, followed by chicken and mash in gravy and a chocolate torte for pudding.

The menu goes up each week, so you can decide whether the food whets your appetite!

Top Tips

  • Frequency of formal hall and prices vary depending on the college, check out: for more info.

  • Colleges cater for all different allergens (I'll do a full post on this another time).

  • Students have to book in for formal hall, via the college website.

  • The quality of food really varies; in some colleges it's a fine dining experience and in others it's a remoulding of normal hall...


High Table- The table at the head of hall used for fellows/tutors and their guests.

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