Magdalen is on the eastern side of Oxford’s city centre. It is one of many colleges situated on the High Street, which has been described as ‘one of the world’s great streets.’ As well as the other colleges, there are shops and cafes, many of them clustered around the corner of Longwall Street, which runs down one side of the College.
Just across the road from Magdalen’s entrance are the University’s Botanic Gardens, a great place for a relaxing walk, featured at the end of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. All Magdalen students have free entry. Next door, Rose Lane leads through to Christ Church Meadow, a beautiful park between Oxford’s two rivers, the Cherwell and the Isis (the name given to the Thames as it flows through Oxford).
Over Magdalen Bridge is a roundabout known as The Plain. The Sainsbury’s here, which is open from 7am to 11pm seven days a week, makes supermarket shopping very convenient for Magdalen students, especially the majority of Freshers, who live directly above. The Plain is also home to Magdalen College School, and St Hilda’s College. The roundabout branches off into three roads, Cowley, Iffley and St Clements, which are the main arteries of East Oxford. Sometimes known as the ‘Golden Triangle,’ this area is full of things to see and do. Iffley Road Gym is home to Oxford University Sport, the centre of most student sport in Oxford, with many facilities. Magdalen members have free access to the Gym and swimming pool. Cowley Road and St Clement’s boast a bewildering variety of shops and restaurants, from vintage clothes stores to authentic Russian cuisine. Cowley Road is also notable for its arts venues, often independent and quirky, such as the Ultimate Picture Palace, a small cinema founded in 1911.