This is one of the most impressive colleges which I visited. The name is misleading: The college was "new" in the year 1379, not today! It was founded in the 14th century by William of Wykeham to supply new clergymen ans statesmen after the ravages of the Black Death.
One claim to fame of New College is that it was the first to be built around a quadrangle. You enter this front quad as soon as you pass the porter's lodge. The chapel, hall, libraries and sleeping quarters are all arranged around this quad, a novel concept at the time.
The cloisters, built in 1400, are peaceful ane atmospheric. During my visit a group of student was rehearsing a play on the cloister lawn, which added to my experience. For Harry Potter fans, a scene from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" was filmed here.
The chapel is one of the more impressive in Oxford, with rows of marble sculpted saints coveringthe altar wall, and a beautiful organ at the other end. It also boasts a painting by El Greco. At the entrance there is a very unusual and eloquent sculpture of Lazarus by Sir Jacob Epstein.
Evening service is sung in the chapel daily during university term at 6:15pm (Sundays: 6pm).
The gardens of New College are large and beautiful, surrounded at their end by the ancient city wall. A decorative mound (an Elizabethan garden feature) was created in the center.Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Arts and Culture
St Edmund Hall
When you read that this college only became a full college of the university in 1957, you may get the wrong idea: "Teddy Hall" was actually founded in the 13th century, before most of the colleges were founded.
The college has a small front quad, and an inspiring medieval church, St Peter-in-the-East, surrounded by a garden, with a statue of St Edmund of Abingdon, th first master and theologian of Oxford University to become Archbishop of Canterbury.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Simply Walk Around!
Since the historical center of Oxford is so small, it is very easy to walk everywhere and very lovely as well, except if you don't watch out for incoming traffic when crossing the streets! In other words, cars are coming from the left, NOT from the right, and there IS a difference between knowing it and actually doing it... And yes, I'm still in one piece. ;-)
Ok, lets come back to the bucolic pleasures at hand. So, walking can bring you either shopping or visiting historical sites, or finding a beautiful garden or a great pub to quench the thirst and hunger you've been working on. There are many itineraries that you may take, but I've found you some that you might like to try out. For a hitorical tour that you can take by yourself, here is one and here's the map that goes with it.
Here's a really interesting one that you can take with a Blue Badge Guide (not part of the Baden-Powell directory) who will bring you to places you wouldn't find on your own: http://www.oxfordguides.co.uk/ Mobile:07724 854882. That later one has many different types of tours, from the lone walker to treasure hunts for groups, to working with conference organisers, with all sort of subjects, from the academic to Inspector Morse, whoever that might be! ;-)
The Tourist Information Centre, located in The Broad near The Oxford Story, also organises a great variety of them as well as a bus tour if you're not up to walking. http://www.oxfordcity.co.uk/info/tours.html Tel: +44 1865 726871
And here's what the Oxford City Council's ready to offer in ways of tours: http://www.oxford.gov.uk/tourism/walking-tours.cfmRelated to:
- Business Travel
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
Church of St Mary Magdalen
Sited on the corner of Broad, St Giles and Magdalen Streets, a church has stood on the site for more than 1000 years – even though it was outside the city walls.
A wooden structure, it was destroyed by the Vikings (either in 1010 or 1013 when they razed the city). Rebuilt and then rebuilt again in 1194 by the Bishop of Lincoln, part of his church remains as part of the church we see today but its approximately the next 100-150 years that significant building of the church was undertaken.
It's a lovely little church that would not look out of place nestled in a valley next to a slow-flowing river in the countryside. With its small but historic graveyard immediately outside, its location is incongruous – sandwiched between the bustle of Broad St and, on either side, St Giles and Magdalen Streets. Its own little island of calm.
And thankfully, Magdalen is pronounced Mag-da-len here - unlike the 'Mawd'lin' pronunciation of the college less than a mile away.Related to:
- Historical Travel
The busy pedestrianised Cornmarket St is the main shopping street of Oxford, beginning at the Saxon Tower and running more or less north south to the junction of High St. Look above the shop fronts to see examples of old Oxford - even places such as Pret A Manger are housed in a little piece of history.
Snake's Head Fritillaries
If you happen to be in Oxford in spring (late April), looking out for snake`s head fritillaries is a must. These beautiful flowers grow in wetlands and water meadows, and fortunately a very big water meadow is found just in the very heart of Oxford: Magdalen College's deer park. For a little more than a week, the meadow is covered over and over with fritillaries.
To see fritillaria meleagris, you just have to pay the college a visit and walk halfway around the so-called Angel Meadow. In the outermost corner you can see them best. Another good spot to see fritillaries is Iffley Meadow (see another tip).Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Godstow Abbey is a hamlet on the river Thames two and a half miles Northwest of the city of Oxford.It is also known as Godstow Nunnery.The Abbey is built of limestone and was erected in 1133 in honour of St.Mary and John the Baptist for the nuns of the Benedictine order.The church was consecrated in 1139.
The church was half destroyed in the Dissolution of Monasteries act in 1191 under the rule of Henry VIII.The Abbey was converted into Godstow House by George Owen and was occupied by his family until 1645 when the building was badly damaged in the Civil War,after this damage the building fell into disrepair and was used by the locals as a source of stone for their buildings.During the 19th and 20th centuries it was used for the roundup of local livestock during the annual rounding on Port Meadow.
The Abbey like many other from this era is believed to be haunted.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Blackwell - This place is HUGE!
Blackwell is an Oxonian institution - easily the city's biggest bookstore with a great selection of thousands or even millions of books. You can get literally everything here from DVDs and children's classics to travel books and science books. While Blackwell looks rather small from the outside, it is massive inside and one always wonders how all these giant rooms fit into the small building. I would recommend strolling around through the numerous bookshelves, reading a bit here and there, and if you have finally found anything that you like (quicker than you probably think) going up to the nice and cosy cafe upstairs. Blackwell is a paradise for book lovers, so don't miss it when in Oxford!
Btw, across the street there is also a Blackwell Arts and Poster Shop as well as a Blackwell Music Shop which are worth a visit, too.
The O3 Gallery
This was an unexpected find within Oxford Castle, the O3 Gallery is fairly small with two entrances.
Located within Oxford's oldest quarter; the gallery brings a wide range of selling exhibitions by regional artists - they offer some good contemporary, visual and applied arts.
St.Giles church is an attractive 12th century parish church just north of the center of Oxford.It was consecrated by St.Hugh of Lincoln at a time when this area was outside of the main town center.Now it provides an oasis of calm in a busy area of the city.
First mentioned in the doomsday survey of 1086,which recorded that the owner of the land north of the city intended to build a Romanesque style church on it.The church was finished in 1120,but not consecrated till 1200.In 1138 the Empress Matilda and her son Henry Plantagenet(the future Henry II)granted the church and all its property to the newly created Godstow Priory.At the time of its founding,the church stood in the midst of fields and there were no buildings between it and the city walls,which was marked by the church of St.Michael by the north gate.The city had a population of about 1000 all crowded inside the walls.Over the centuries,houses and other buildings began to gather around the church and today it lies between two busy streets.
It was St.Hugh of Lincoln,the great Carthusian monk and bishop who consecrated St.Giles church in 1200 AD.A cross of interlaced circles incised on the western column of the tower is said to commemorate this act.It is also in commemoration of this consecration that the St.Giles fair was founded.The fair still takes place today,on the monday and tuesday after the sunday following St.Giles day(september 1st).St.Hugh also expanded the nearby church of St.Mary Magdalene in1194.
Upon the dissolution of the monasteries in 1535 the church and its lands were given to Dr.George Owen of Godstow,a physician of Henry VIII.His son conveyed it in 1573 to Sir Thomas White,Lord Mayor of London,who in 1555 had refounded the Cistercian House of St.Bernard as St.Johns College.White settled the church on his newly established College,which has presented vicars to the church ever since.Related to:
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
The picturesque Oxford Canal meanders slowly through 77 miles of classic scenery,much of which has barely changed in centuries.The canal is one of Englands most peaceful waterways,running lazily through countryside from Oxford to Coventry.It was briefly the principal water-way from London to the Midlands,but was super seded soon after construction by the more direct Grand Junction Canal,now the Grand Union.
Consequently,the Oxford Canal has escaped large scale development and few towns have sprung up on its banks.The southern section is particulary charming and remains largely unaltered.The canal has many interests such as boating,fishing,swimming and walks.Related to:
- Water Sports
- Hiking and Walking
- Sailing and Boating
Once inside the museum, we were informed there were special exhibits and hands on experiments to participate in. Probably explained the large number of children enjoying the place. The one part of this I was enthralled with was the bug handling. Cockroaches and tarantulas, as well as preying mantis and other such delights, were all being handled and anyone could hold them or stroke them. I did stroke a tarantula and cockroach and was amazed how soft and furry the spider was.
The first thing that you can't help but notice is the massive dinosaur dominating the place. Certainly, dinosaurs are a major attraction here and what is nice is that you are allowed to touch many of the exhibits, including an Australian mammal section, where I found myself stroking an otter, kangaroo and hare, amongst other such beautiful creatures.The exhibits in this museum are endless. You could probably spend all day here and still not have taken everything in.
Minerals,metoerites, butterflies, dinosaurs and dinosaur eggs, Australian mammals (that you could stroke,)fossils, crabs, worms,shells,insects, birds, botany, you name it, they're here.
We only had less than an hour here and there was so much to take in I couldn't appreciate it all.
Open 10 -5 every day.Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Family Travel
Natural History Museum
Wow, I was really impressed with this!! Apart from the spectacular neo gothic building, which is grade 1 listed, the exhibits were incredible. The museum belongs to the university and promotes research, teaching and public education and is free admission.
The museum opened to the public in 1860 with the main display, as it is today, being in the Great Court. This is incredibly beautiful, having a glass roof supported by 30 iron columns and is certainly a masterpiece of Victorian engineering. Surrounding the Great Court are four arcades, forming a cloister. It was quite a surprise to find it so noisy in here, I kept thinking I was in a church!Why don't we build like that now????
Upstairs, four galleries overlook the Great Court and give you great overall views of the place.
The first thing we noticed, outside, was a leaning tree and some huge dinosaur footprints across the grass. Not sure whether the tree leaning was just coincidental....!! The Oxfordshire dinosaur theme continues inside....
The stupendous collections were endless, all around the walls and upstairs on the gallery, with the fossils being one of my favourites.
Free admission with a voluntary donation.
No parking facilities.Related to:
- Museum Visits
This college is said to get its name from a brass door knocker shaped like a pigs snout and said to bring good luck. It was stolen in 1334 by a group of Linconshire students and in 1890 it was returned to the college by the purchase of Brassnose House in Stamford. The knocker no longer hangs outside for fear of another theft but hangs in the dining hall above the high table.
David Cameron was a graduate of Brassnose college, this college celebrates is 500th year in 2009
I would highly recommend taking a walking tour over a bus tour its cheaper & you probably learn far more and besides that its healthier.
The tours are led by a blue or green badge guide and are limited to a maximum of 19 people and covers approx 1-2 miles lasting 2hrs except for family tours they last 1.5hrs the cost is GBP7 for adults.
We visited New College on our tour which was really worthwhile with plenty to see. Tickets can be pre-booked by phone or at the tourism office
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