24 February 2017

Gin festival on its way to the Exam Schools

For undergraduates at the University of Oxford, the Examination Schools aren’t associated with carefree fun; they are mostly just the place where they have to pass a gruelling series of tests before getting their degrees. But this summer the building will be given over to an altogether less elevated field of study – gin.

Saturday August 5 will see the city’s first ever gin festival, introducing visitors to the fast-growing world of artisanal gin. Guests will be able to sample spirits flavoured with everything from chocolate to damsons and tomatoes, as well as playing games, listening to music and watching cocktail-mixing demonstrations.

The Exam Schools is run by the Estates Services Facilities Management team, alongside the Sheldonian Theatre, St Luke’s Chapel in the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter and William Osler House at the John Radcliffe. The gin festival is part of the team’s efforts to broaden the range of events taking place in its buildings.

Academic and business conferences and seminars still form the venues’ bread and butter, but there’s now also a growing range of events aimed at attracting a wider range of people, many of whom won’t have set foot there before. Last year the Exam Schools held the first Oxford Comic Con; the organisers recently confirmed this will return in 2017, taking place on 22-23 April.