Christ Church, Oxford

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 29 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Christ Church
    by tim07
  • Christ Church
    by tim07
  • Christ Church, Oxford, England
    Christ Church, Oxford, England
    by marinarena
  • evaanna's Profile Photo

    Tom Tower, Christ Church

    by evaanna Updated Apr 27, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tom Tower, Christ Church

    Tom Tower is probably the best-known part of Christ Church, facing St Aldate's on one side and being part of the Great Quadrangle, popularly called Tom Quad, on the other. It looks like the main, and very imposing, gateway to the college. Not for tourists, though. If you don't have a pass issued to local residents only, walk on and then turn left into the Memorial Gardens gate, where you will find signposts for the college.
    The Tower itself is worth a second look from the inside though. Designed in 1681 by Sir Christopher Wren, whom you will know as responsible for the design of St. Paul's Cathedral, the Greenwich Observatory and many London churches, it is a real masterpiece, imposing and exquisite at the same time.
    If you happen to be near it at 9.05 pm any day of the week, you will hear the seven ton bell it houses, Great Tom, strike 101 times, once for each of the original members of the college. Why at 9.05? Because Christ Church observes its own real time, five minutes behind GMT, as Oxford lies five minutes west of Greenwich. So, if you are a little late for Mass or a concert at the Cathedral, as I was once, you are bound to get a surprise - you will still be on time.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • evaanna's Profile Photo

    The grandest of all

    by evaanna Updated Feb 5, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The statue of Mercury in Tom Quad, Christ Church

    This grandest of all the Oxford colleges was founded on the site of the Priory of St.Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford. Founded as Cardinal's College by Thomas Wolsey in 1525, four years later it was taken over by king Henry VIII, who gave it the name of Christ Church in 1546. It is probably the only college in the world that comprises a cathedral. Christ Church is famous for its interesting architecture, some of which dates back to the twelfth century. Its members include Gladstone, Lewis Carroll, the author of 'Alice in Wonderland' and John Locke. The founders of Christchurch in New Zealand were former members of the college too.
    The Great Quadrangle that you can see in the picture, popularly Tom Quad, was originally designed as cloistered - the outlines of the planned cloisters still remain there. In the middle there is a fountain with the statue of Mercury. In the background you can see Fell Tower with the statue of Dean John Fell, who greatly added to the college construction. He cannot have been loved by his contemporaries though. As the popular poem goes:
    I do not like you, Dr Fell,
    The reason why I cannot tell,
    But this I know full well,
    I do not like you, Dr Fell.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Study Abroad

    Was this review helpful?

  • martin_nl's Profile Photo

    Christ Church

    by martin_nl Updated Oct 16, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tom Tower at Christ Church

    Christ Church College is the best known college in Oxford. There is a lot of history here and also recently the college has been in the news. Christ Church College is built around Tom Quad, a quadrangle courtyard. The main entrance (not for visitors) is through Tom Tower. This will bring you right on Tom Quad.

    Around the quadrangle you will find the Cathedral, the Dining Hall and the Cloister. Other interesting things to see are the Peckwater Quadrangle with the Library and the Picture Gallery, and the Meadow Building through which you as a visitor will enter the premises (after paying some 4 pounds entrance that is!!)

    If you want to take a picture tour through the college, take a look at my travelogue and follow the links.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • martin_nl's Profile Photo

    Christ Church Cathedral

    by martin_nl Updated Oct 16, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Stained glass window at Christ Church Cathedral

    Besides the Dining Hall another highlight is the Cathedral. The church used to extend all the way into the space that is now occupied by Tom Quad. Wolsey who re-founded the College, knocked down most of the cathedral to make way for his grand college. Thankfully the rest of the ancient 12th century was spared! There is a world famous choir here that sings daily, and they've been doing so ever since the college was founded!

    If you want to take a picture tour through the college, take a look at my travelogue and follow the links.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • martin_nl's Profile Photo

    Christ Church Dining Hall

    by martin_nl Updated Oct 16, 2004

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Dining Hall at Christ Church

    On your (self guided) tour you will come through the Dining Hall. This is a very interesting and beautiful Hall. It has even been used as the Dining Hall in the Harry Potter films!

    Christ Church was also an inspiration for Lewis Carol. He created Alice In Wonderland. In one of the stained glass windows in the Dining Hall you are able to see some figures from the book/ film.

    If you want to take a picture tour through the college, take a look at my travelogue and follow the links.

    Was this review helpful?

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo

    Christ Church III - Cathedral

    by King_Golo Updated Feb 8, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Christchurch Cathedral
    1 more image

    As Christ Church is Oxford's biggest college, everything there is somehow oversized. The front yard, called Tom Quad, is the size of a "normal" college, the meadow is so vast that you need half an hour to circle it, and the college chapel is not only a chapel, but a cathedral - albeit one of the smallest of England.

    Christ Church Cathedral was built in the late 12th century and was then the church of a monastery, as the college didn't exist yet. When the college was founded, the cathedral was chosen to be the college chapel simultaneously, which makes it rather unique. Until today, it is also the see of the Oxford Diocese.
    The cathedral itself may be a little disappointing if you compare it with the milestones of Gothic architecture in England, but it is definitely worth a visit mostly because of two parts.

    First, there is St. Frideswide Window, a colourful stained glass window by Edward Burne-Jones. He depicted scenes from St. Frideswide's life back in the 8th century: her refusal to marry, her decision to become a nun, her flight from the king whom she was supposed to have married, her death and her way to heaven on the soul ship. But Burne-Jones didn't only show her life, he spiced it up with some nice little ideas of his. In 1858, when the window was made, the flushable loo had just been invented. So Frideswide, who lived more than 1,000 years earlier, can be seen in a room with a Victorian loo. In another picture, you can see a road sign (which probably didn't exist back in the 8th century as hardly anybody would have been able to read it); yet another one shows a bunch of sunflowers which were only introduced to Europe after the discovery of America. Also look out for the duck and its ducklings: Behind them their father can be seen dabbling.

    Second, there is the Becket Window. Thomas Becket was archbishop of Canterbury but fell from grace with the king who ordered to kill him. The picture shows Becket kneeling between four knights who later killed him. This stained glass window is the oldest in the cathedral and one of very few remaining of that time.

    While there are leaflets with some helpful information, you should not miss asking the Cathedral Stewards for more (e.g the secret door on the ceiling...). They can tell you some good stories about parts of the cathedral that would otherwise not be mentioned.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • jo104's Profile Photo

    Christchurch College

    by jo104 Updated Aug 15, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Christchurch is a beautiful college to visit, we did not have time to visit here. It has a world famous choir and is Oxfords largest college. The great hall was replicated in the Harry Potter films. Charles Dodgson, also known as Lewis Caroll writer of Alice in Wonderland studied here as a mathematician

    It costs GBP4.90 open monday to saturday 9am - 5pm & sunday 1pm - 5pm

    Was this review helpful?

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo

    Magdalen's Rival....

    by nickandchris Written Nov 3, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    What a building....
    2 more images

    Like Magdalen, Christchurch College is one of the largest of the university. It is also Magdalen's biggest rival and whenever Christchurch is mentioned to Magdalen students it is not taken in good spirit!!! (Watch University Challenge!!!)
    It is another architectural gem and is probably the best known college in Oxford.It's beautiful parklands were created on the Thames flood plain.
    The college was founded by Cardinal Wolsey in 1524 and was built on the site of a monastery. In 1529 Wolsey fell from power and Henry 8th re-founded the college in 1546. The college combined the cathedral and the university and was called Aedas Christi - Christchurch, in English.
    The principal of Christchurch is always a clergyman.

    Daily visiting, excepy Christmas day. Charge of £4 for adults unless you know a student!!

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture
    • Study Abroad

    Was this review helpful?

  • barryg23's Profile Photo

    Tom Tower

    by barryg23 Written May 26, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tom Tower

    At the entrance to Christ Church stands the imposing Tom Tower, yet another of Christopher Wren's designs (this guy was busy!).

    The famous bell, Great Tom, rings 101 times every evening at 9.05, and not surprisingly these numbers have a significance. The time is thus chosen as Oxford is five minutes from Greenwich (plus it signals the hour at which students in Oxford were supposed to be in bed), while 101 is number of students in Christ Church when the college was original founded.

    More recently, Tom Tower has featured a few times on the website ihaveshaggedhere.com. One interesting entry on this site had as an afterword - "Melissa, do you want your knickers back?"

    Was this review helpful?

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo

    Christ Church I - General Facts

    by King_Golo Updated Feb 8, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tom Quad

    Founded in 1546, Christ Church is nowadays Oxford's biggest and also one of its richest colleges. Its front quad alone provides enough space for a "normal" college... Moreover, the college is home to some of Oxford's weirdest rules and traditions. First of all, it has got a different time zone than the rest of England. Some genius has found out that Oxford should not exactly follow Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) but rather GMT-5, i.e. noon is at 12.05pm instead of 12pm. You can experience this oddity yourself when you are somewhere near Christ Church at 9.05pm: Then the bell of Tom Tower will ring 101 times, once for each one of the college's 101 original scholars. Second, it sometimes calls itself only "The House" instead of Christ Church - officially because of its Latin name "Aedes Christi", but inofficially because there is only one house that deserves to be called that - Christ Church. By the way, you must never call it Christ Church College - this is something that only outsiders would do. Another weird tradition is the right of every Christ Church student to let his cow graze on Christ Church Meadow in order to have fresh milk for breakfast. Although I doubt that this tradition is actually still alive, one must never underestimate the English belief in their long-proven customs...
    Apart from these oddities, the college educated several very famous people: John Locke, W.H. Auden, Lewis Carroll, John Searle as well as 13 (!) English prime ministers.

    Was this review helpful?

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo

    Christ Church II - Hall

    by King_Golo Updated Feb 8, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Laid tables in Christ Church Hall
    1 more image

    Christ Church's Hall is one of the most spectacular of Oxford. That's probably why it was chosen to be the Great Hall of the Harry Potter movies. In real life, the ceiling is not enchanted to look like the weather outside, nor are you likely to meet a lot of wizards and witches here - but the atmosphere is nonetheless magic.
    Built in 1529, the Hall hasn't changed a lot since then. Only the roof had to be reconstructed once following a fire in the 18th century. As in every college, the Hall is the place where students have lunch and dinner. Whenever you visit it, the tables will be laid for the next meal with little lamps lighting the plates and cutlery, so that it looks as though every second Harry Potter and his wizard friends might enter the scene - were it not for the tourists with their cameras clicking wildly.
    If you are lucky to be there with only a few other people (for instance if you come in the morning instead of in the afternoon), take your time to take a closer look at the pictures on the wall. Many of them show famous former students of Christ Church (e.g. the philosopher John Locke), but those above the high table show the deans of the college. It is interesting that the style of how one likes to be painted has changed tremendously over time. My personal favourite is the white painting with a dean and his dog.
    Walking back the other aisle don't miss searching for the picture of Alice and other figures from "Alice in Wonderland" in one of the stained glassed windows. Alice was the daughter of the dean of Christ Church when Lewis Carroll taught there. He enjoyed being with her and her two sisters, and legend has it that he invented the world-famous story of "Alice in Wonderland" on a boat trip together with the girls on the Thames.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Architecture
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • Christ Church

    by sabsi Updated Apr 27, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Christ Church

    This is the college most tourists visit. It has some nice buildings and greens, England's smallest cathedral and the beautitful dining hall which was made famous by the Harry Potter film that was made here (see next tip).

    Admission is £3 if you're not coming with a local student with an expired student ID ;)

    Related to:
    • Study Abroad

    Was this review helpful?

  • Dining Hall at Christ Church College

    by sabsi Written Apr 27, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Dining Hall

    The dining hall at Christ Church is really beautiful. The dark room is full of long tables, the walls are full of old pictures. A room like this makes it hard to imagine that students actually have dinner here. It helps to know that everybody who has dinner here has to dress up to fit the surroundings I guess.

    Apparently the Harry Potter film was shot here. Probably that's why this was the only place that was full of tourists when I was in Oxford.

    Related to:
    • Study Abroad

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ginaravens's Profile Photo

    Christ Church Cathedral

    by Ginaravens Updated Mar 3, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Christ Church Cathedral

    Charles I lived at Christ Church during the English Civil War (1642-1646), and held his Parliament in the Great Hall. After the war and the restoration of the monarchy, the College benefited from Royal patronage, raising enough money to have Tom Quad completed. The College was also able to commission a former student, Sir Christopher Wren, to design a new bell tower in 1682, which housed Tom Bell from which the tower and the quad get their names.

    Christ Church has recently been used as a film set, & visitors may recognise it when watching Harry Potter!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ginaravens's Profile Photo

    Christ Church with memorial gardens & Meadow

    by Ginaravens Updated Mar 3, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Christ Church

    In 1524 Cardinal Wolsey founded the Cardinal's College on the site of the 9th Century St. Frideswide's Monastery. It was unfinished when in 1529 Cardinal Wolsey fell foul of King Henry VIII and the building stood forgotten. In 1546, Henry VIII refounded the College as a University College & Cathedral. Because Christ Church is both a Cathedral & a College, the Dean is always a Clergyman.

    Christ Church has had many famous alumni. Among these are the philosopher John Locke, religious leaders John Wesley and William Penn, the poet W.H. Auden and Albert Einstein. There is also a close connection with Government. The College has produced 13 Prime Ministers amongst and numerous Cabinet ministers, Bishops and Imperial functionaries. The most celebrated is William Gladstone who was Prime Minister 4 times during the 19th Century.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Oxford

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

83 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Christ Church
4.5 out of 5 stars
679 Opinions
0.3 miles away
Show Prices
3.5 out of 5 stars
206 Opinions
0.3 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
1366 Opinions
0.3 miles away
Show Prices

View all Oxford hotels