Oxford University & Colleges, Oxford

4.5 out of 5 stars 85 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Fellow's Garden
    Fellow's Garden
    by JoostvandenVondel
  • The 'Cottages'
    The 'Cottages'
    by JoostvandenVondel
  • Wadham College gardens, Oxford
    Wadham College gardens, Oxford
    by iblatt
  • King_Golo's Profile Photo

    St.Edmund Hall - one of Oxford's smallest colleges

    by King_Golo Updated Nov 12, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    St. Edmund Hall is one of the colleges that the average tourist would probably just pass without noticing. Located next door to Queen's College and New College, Teddy Hall, as it is often called, is rather tiny and easily overlooked. As a matter of fact, Queen's College sort of "owned" its neighbour: From 1557 to 1934, Queen's controlled the fate of Teddy Hall. Therefore, its "official" history as a college started only in 1957 when Queen Elizabeth II granted it the right to be a college, although its "real" history dates back to the 13th century when it was founded as a hall and named after St. Edmund of Abingdon. The college is well worth a short visit, mainly because of its nice front quad from the 15th century and the beautiful and rather wild-looking garden next to it. Amidst the garden, there is a graveyard and the chapel St.Peter in the East which is used as a library. Numerous trees provide shady corners and the atmosphere to study here could hardly be better...

    Teddy Hall's front quad Blooming tree and gargoyle in Teddy Hall
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo

    All Souls - Great Architecture and a Weird Ritual

    by King_Golo Written Sep 13, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    All Souls College is in my opinion one of the most beautiful of Oxford's colleges. Looking down at its magnificent sundial from the spire of St. Mary the Virgin or up to its twin towers during dusk from Queens' Lane this becomes particularly obvious.

    The college was founded in 1438 by Henry Chichele and King Henry VI as a graduate college and rarely ever accepted undergraduates. In fact, even being accepted as a graduate is incredibly hard - only the best of the best can become part of the college.

    Peeping in from Radcliffe Square, you can already see the magnificent front quad with its flawless circular lawn. Behind it are the All Souls' twin towers, built by Nicholas Hawksmoor, a student of Christopher Wren, in the first half of the 18th century. As it is common in Oxford, All Souls' towers are decorated with gargoyles and grotesques. For whatever reason, many of them look rather sour... On the left side of the front quad is Christopher Wren's sundial, and in the building which it ornates the gigantic library of All Souls. Roughly 60m long, it is spanned by a beautiful high ceiling and home to thousands of books. In the middle of the room is a statue of Christopher Codrington, the donator of the library. Unfortunately, the library is rarely open to visitors.

    Another interesting sight is the college chapel with so-called reredos: a wall full of niches with statues of saints bishops and monarchs. While the original reredos were destroyed during the reformation and replaced by today's statues in the 19th century, the ceiling of the chapel is still the same that it was in the college's early days. Only the gilded wooden angels had to be re-gilded a few years ago. When you are in the chapel, don't forget to check the bottom sides of the chairs on the walls: they are decorated with finely carved misericords showing for instance a bagpipe player.

    All Souls college is also home to the weirdest ritual of all colleges: Every 100 years (the next time in 2101), the fellows of the college parade through the college grounds with a skewered duck singing the "Mallard Song" - in memory of the mallard that was found breeding on the college roof when the first buildings were constructed.

    All Souls College Statue of Christopher Codrington
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • MikeBird's Profile Photo

    Join a walking tour around the city

    by MikeBird Updated Jul 2, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Starting from the Oxford Tourist Information centre you can join a party lead by an expert tour guide who, for about 2 - 3 hours ( and £7.00 per adult) will take you around the main sights of the city and University grounds and colleges.

    We tried to book 3 places but they were all full. The kind lady in the centre then suggested that instead we may like to buy a small guide book costing only a £1.00 which, if followed carefully, would take us on the same route as the tour guide. That's what we did and in the end we saved ourselves £20 and found that we could spend our time looking more closely at the things that interested us. It also meant we could take a break in a tea shop when we felt like it. All in all it was much better and a lot cheaper. The little guide book provided sufficient information for us and we now have that as a souvenir along with our photos.

    The guidebook called 'Welcome to Oxford: visitors' guide' is published by the Oxford Information Centre and is available from the centre ( see address below).

    My photos will show you some of the sights we saw on our walking tour.

    Some of the cheekier undergraduates try to convince the more gullible tourists that the Martyrs Memorial ( see photo) is actually the spire of a subterranean Cathedral poking out from the ground. I wonder how many people fall for that one!

    The Martyrs Memorial Tom Tower of Christ Church College The Radcliffe camera Hertford College's Bridge of Sighs
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo

    Exeter College III - The Fellow's Garden

    by King_Golo Updated May 7, 2010

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is what will make my stay in Oxford forever unforgettable: the view from Exeter's Fellow's Garden! Not only is the garden one of the most beautiful one can think of - old trees, a pleasant lawn to relax on, herbs growing on the wall of the library... -, but it is also the one with the best view of Oxford. Even better: Visitors rarely come to this place, so it is an open, but nonetheless well-kept secret.

    From a little terrace in the garden, you can enjoy an unhindered view on Bodleian Library, Radcliffe Camera, All Souls College, St. Mary the Virgin and Brasenose College - all at once! The view is breathtaking and incomparable. You stand in approximately 2,50m height, so no 50-people tourist group can block your way.

    How to get there? Enter Exeter College via the gate on Turl Street, cross the quad and go through the middle door opposite the entrance tower. A little sign reading "To the fellow's garden" should indicate the correct way. Cross the garden and climb the stairs for the best view of Oxford.

    Radcliffe Camera and St. Mary seen from Exeter In Exeter's Fellow's Garden
    Related to:
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo

    Exeter College II - J.R.R. Tolkien

    by King_Golo Updated May 7, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As mentioned above, J.R.R. Tolkien was a student in Exeter. Born in South Africa, he came to Oxford in 1911 to study Classics, i.e. Latin and Greek. He soon became bored by these languages and turned to learn Welsh and later Finnish, both of which influenced the languages in "Lord of the Rings". His enthusiasm for languages other than those he was supposed to study lead to only average marks in the early times of his studies, later, however, he graduated with a "First", the best mark.

    His life after Exeter revolves around the phantastic worlds he created - and unfortunately you will have to read about it elsewhere. One can be sure, however, that some of his ideas might have been triggered by his studies here.

    If you study at Exeter, you may be lucky enough to live in Tolkien's room. It is still in use. Perhaps the spirit of Tolkien will push you to an extraordinary academic performance?

    To learn more about Tolkien's time in Oxford check this page.

    J.R.R. Tolkien (picture taken from wikipedia.org)
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • JoostvandenVondel's Profile Photo

    Lincoln College and All Saints Church

    by JoostvandenVondel Updated Dec 28, 2009

    Lincoln College is one of the three 'Turl Street Colleges' along with Jesus and Exeter Colleges. Perhaps it's crowning glory is the former All Saints Church at the corner of Turl Street and The High which now serves as the College's library.

    Lincoln College is one of the constituent colleges of Oxford University founded in 1427 by Robert Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln. One of its claims to fame is that it can be considered the craddle of Methodism. John Wesley became a 'fellow' (graduate) of Lincoln College in 1726 and from that point began holding regular religious meetings with his brother before leaving for America in 1735. In contrast to this claim to fame, Lincoln has also served as the setting of Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure"; three episodes of "Inspector Morse" and has also seen John le Carre as one of its modern fellows.

    Admission: £1.00
    Monday-Saturday, 14:00-17:00; Sundays 11:00-17:00

    It is a relatively small college which guards a cozy atmosphere. The visitor enters the college through the lodge and into the Front Quad which contains a spledid little green and whose buildings are covered with an ivy called the 'Virigina Creeper'. Indeed it is one of the intensively green colleges in Oxford. One passes through a passage next to the Hall which dates from the 1430s into the little Grove Quad. Coming back into the Front Quand, a passage through the southern side will take the visitor into the Chapel Quad. The Chapel itself was constructed between 1629 and 1631. It contains superb stained-glass windows which are, in fact not stained but enamelled, created by the Dutch craftsman Abraham van der Linge. Well worth noting are the wooden statuary and the carved ceiling.

    The All Saints Church whose famous spire crowns the corner of Turl Street and The High, was completed in 1720 in the English Baroque Style. It became the city church in 1896 and remained so until 1971. At that date, the city church moved and All Saints was deconsacrated and offered to Lincoln College. In 1975, after it's conversion, it became the library of the college.

    Front Quad Hall Chapel All Saints Church
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • JoostvandenVondel's Profile Photo

    Worcester College: Park and Gardens

    by JoostvandenVondel Written Dec 28, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I've decided not to investigate the history of the gardens at Worcester College but rather just to recommend this place as one of the nicest corners of Oxford. It seems to have everything an English garden needs: a winding path, a lake with overhanging trees, a foot-bridge... even a cricket field. During a visit to Oxford, I wholeheartedly recommend a visit to the College and it's gardens.

    Winding Path Lake Overhanging Trees Lake, again Ducks
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Architecture
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • JoostvandenVondel's Profile Photo

    Worcester College: The Majestic College

    by JoostvandenVondel Written Dec 28, 2009

    This college may seem to some many as being a little out of the way from the other historical colleges of Oxford, but for those who dare to venture an extra hundred metres or so, their detour will surely be rewarded! Worcester College is one of my favourite colleges as I like to think of itself as confident, discreet and a wonderful place to stroll and relax.

    The present day site of Worcester College is located upon a site which had previously contained the much older Gloucester College founded for the Benedictine Order in 1283. The only remaining part of Gloucester College are the medieval 'cottages' located on the south side of the front quad. Intrestingly enough, these cottages were bound for demolition in the eighteenth century, but due to a lack of funds, the newly created Worcester College decided not to tear them down, fortunately! They are today the oldest inhabited structures of Oxford and are used to house students of the college.

    Upon entering the college, the visitor is met with the majestic front quad. On the north side of the quad is located an imposing eighteenth century neo-classical building, the east side by the Hall and the south side by the cottages. The buildings, with the exception of the 'cottages' are elevated over the green. On the west side of the quad is a wall behind which are residential buildings, but more importantly the extraordinary park and gardens of the college.

    Most of Worcester College's most important buildings (Chapel, Hall and Library) were constructed during the eighteenth century between the years 1720 and 1791. At the beginning of that century the Worcestershire baronet, Sir Thomas Cookes, bestowed a benefaction for the foundation of a new college upon the existing grounds of Gloucester College which was closed after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. It is a fine example of the work of architects Sir George Clarke, Nicholas Hawksmoor, Henry Keene and James Wyatt.

    The college has been a prestigious place of learning in Oxford since the eighteenth century and has produced some fine graduates such as Thomas de Quincey.

    North Side Front Quad The 'Cottages' Hall Back side of 'Cottages' Fellow's Garden
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • JoostvandenVondel's Profile Photo

    Exeter College: Chapel

    by JoostvandenVondel Written Dec 26, 2009

    The chapel of Exeter College is a fine example of Victorian Revival architecture. It's construction was completed in 1849 according to the plans of George Gilbert Scott. It was modeled upon the Sainte Chapelle in Paris and its renovation was completed in 2007.

    Chapel View of Choir Chapel Detail
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • JoostvandenVondel's Profile Photo

    Exeter College

    by JoostvandenVondel Written Dec 26, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are three colleges located in the charming Turl street: Exeter, Jesus and Lincoln Colleges. Exeter College has occupied it's present site since 1314 when Walter de Stapeldon, Bishop of Exeter and Treasurer of England under Edward II decided to build a college to provide an educated clergy for his diocese.

    Little of the medieval college remains today as in the 16th century, statesman Sir William Petre, a former student, bestowed upon the college new property. By 1618 the Hall was built and the front quad was progressively constructed between the years 1672 and 1710. After a period of decline in the 18th century, the nineteenth century saw a greater influx of students and investment. The chapel was completed in 1849 and since the middle of the nineteenth century has maintained a high level of academic achievement attracting students such as J.R.R. Tolkien.

    As a fact of curiosity, the television character of Inspector Morse dies of a heart attack in the front quad of Exeter College in the final Morse episode, "The Remorseful Day".

    Free entry
    Report to Lodge before visiting the college

    Chapel Hall Front Quad College Garden
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • JoostvandenVondel's Profile Photo

    Merton College : Front, Mob, Fellows, St. Alban

    by JoostvandenVondel Written Sep 7, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    All of Oxford's colleges are centered around a quadrangle. This (usually) contains four sides of buildings (very often for student accommodation) which border an area of grass called a green.

    The visitor first enters into the Front Quad which is filled with paving stones and acts as an place of introduction to the various sections of the college grounds. The oldest of Merton's Quads, however, is known as the 'Mob Quad'. Access to it is through a narrow passage which is located between the chapel and the dining hall. The quad contains a four-sided group of buildings surrounding a small lawn. But it was built in three phases. The college's treasury or 'muniment room' was built between 1288 and 1291 (the oldest structure of the quad, yes even then budget dictated education!) and is located above and behind the arch in the North East Corner. Accommodation buildings were added first in 1310 - 1320 and also in 1373 - 1378. The later construction's upper floor was dedicated to the library of the college and today it is known as the oldest continously functioning library for university academic study in the world. If access is permitted, the £2.00 entry fee is definitely worth the expense to visit this most charming of places.

    Once you have visited the 'Mob Quad', come back up to the Front Quand and follow the dining hall to Fitzjames arch and go through this arched passage way which will lead you into the Fellows' Quad. This quad was completed in 1610 thanks to the financing of Sir Henry Saville and it is a fine example of classical architecture. The buildings form a symmetrical space of three floors topped with a crenelated roof. It is broken by the tower of four orders where the four orders of columns (doric, ionic, corinthian, and composite or roman) are to been seen.

    After the visit to the Fellows' Quad, head back to the Front Quad and turn right into the wider passage that leads you into St. Alban's Quad, a nineteenth century addition to the college. It is not a quad in the strictest sense as it only has three sides, one side absent giving way to a view of the Fellows' Garden.

    Merton College is one that really shouldn't be missed (of course I think all of Oxford's colleges are worth a visit). It has been the home to many prominent writers and scientists including T.S. Eliot and J.R.R. Tolkien, as many other colleges at Oxford have also had the pleasure of instructing. But what I especially enjoy here is the sense of home which the college has constructed for itself.

    Tower of the Four Orders Fellows' Quad Mob Quad Back of Fellows' Quad St. Alban's Quad
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • JoostvandenVondel's Profile Photo

    Merton College : Chapel

    by JoostvandenVondel Written Sep 7, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Construction of the chapel, or otherwise known as the Quire of Merton College Chapel, was begun in the 1280s. Although it began functioning as a church/chapel by the end of the century, it nonetheless underwent a number of transformations over its history.

    The chapel was built to replace the parish church of St. John the Baptist. Of the seven pairs of windows in the side walls, 12 still contain original glass set in a fine decorated tracery. Very often such windows underwent 'restorations' during the Victorian era where the glass was sadly replaced by 'modern' pieces. Fortunately we can still see fine examples of medieval stained glass in this chapel today.

    During the 1300s, the chapel saw a great expansion in its structure. By the end of the 14th century, the Crossing and South Transept had been built; by 1425 the North Transept was completed and finally, the chapel saw to completion the tower in 1450. However, although building during this century was extensive, the chapel remains incomplete. Due to expenses, the space which was reserved for a much larger nave was sold in 1517 to Bishop Fox, founder of Corpus Christi College. What remained was a T-shaped structure which ironically became the model for many Oxbridge chapels.

    The seventeenth century and nineteenth century both saw extensive restorations which were luckily concentrated on surface upkeep. The chapel is free to enter, check the website below for any information about service times.

    Detail Chapel East Window, Exterior View of Tower from Mob Quad East Window, Interior Detail, East Window
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • JoostvandenVondel's Profile Photo

    Merton College

    by JoostvandenVondel Written Sep 7, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I remember my first visit to Merton College which was in November of 1997. At that time, as a university student myself of the Sorbonne in Paris, I had no idea that I would be returning to Oxford annually later on in my life. After a number of summers working in Oxford, this year was the first time that I visited this charming college once again, and it is one of my favourites!

    Merton is a very old college, established in the 1260s by Walter de Merton, chancellor to Henry III and Edward I. He drew up statutes for an independent academic community which would proove itself to be self-governing and less dependent on the university structure as it stood during the middle ages. Work on the college began in 1274 and the (dining) hall, chapel and front quad were completed before the end of the 13th century. The chapel remains unaltered but many of the other buildings underwent transformations over the college's history.

    Upon passing the main entrance, the visitor finds him or herself in a lovely courtyard. To the right is the church; facing the visitor is the hall in the middle, to the left Fitzjames arch which leads to the Fellows Quad and to the right an entrance which eventually leads to the Mob Quad; to the left one can see a building containing some living quarters along with an entrance to St. Alban's Quad.

    Entrance to the college grounds is free with a £2.00 charge to see the old library (free when I went the first time). I would pay out the £2.00, the library is lovely!

    Open all the time
    Mon - Fri 14.00 - 16.00 Sat - Sun 10.00 - 16.00 The information given is intended for guidance only. Opening hours are subject to functions, examinations, conferences, holidays etc., and charges are subject to review. You are advised to check opening times and admission charges in advance.

    Entrance to Merton College Inner Courtyard 1 Inner Courtyard 2 Postmaster's Hall Old Warden's Lodgings
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • JoostvandenVondel's Profile Photo

    St. John's College

    by JoostvandenVondel Updated Sep 1, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    St. John's College is one of my favourite Oxford colleges, namely because it has a wonderful garden in which is a lovely place to have lunch. The college is free to enter and during the tourist season opens at one o'clock which is most convenient for later lunchers.

    But to get to some more serious details... St. John's College was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas White, a merchant who originally intended to provide an educational institution for the training of Catholic priests thereby support the Counter-Reformation under the reign of Queen Mary I. Indeed, Edmund Campion, one of the English Catholic martyrs, was educated here.

    Sir Thomas aquired the buildings which had belonged to the former College of St. Bernard, a monastery and educational institution of the Cistercian order. These buildings were closed under the reign of King Henry VIII and his Dissolution of Monasteries act (1536 - 1541). At its creation, it ironically did not concentrate on the teaching of theology but until the reign of Elizabeth I, rhetoric, Greek and dialectics were mostly taught. As the years wore on, it became also well-known for its instruction in law and medicine.

    Today it is one of the larger colleges with about 400 undergraduates and 250 post-graduates. It is also one of the richest colleges. Some its most notable graduates include Tony Blair, business journalist Evan Davis, the poet Philip Larkin and former Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.

    Entry: Free
    13.00 - 17.00 (or dusk if earlier)

    Outside main entrance
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • JoostvandenVondel's Profile Photo

    University College : Shelley Memorial

    by JoostvandenVondel Written Sep 1, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley attended University College for one year in the nineteenth century before being expelled for writing a pamphlet entitled The Necessity of Atheism.

    However, after his death the college accepted a funeral monument, commissioned by his daughter-in-law, which was originally destined for his grave in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. It shows a white marble statue of a reclining nude and dead Shelley washed ashore at Viareggio, Italy after drowning. It is housed in a domed room and was received formally in June of 1893.

    Shelley Memorial
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Oxford

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

32 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Oxford University & Colleges
4.0 out of 5 stars
2 Reviews
0.1 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
3 Reviews
0.2 miles away
Show Prices
2.5 out of 5 stars
0.3 miles away
Show Prices

View all Oxford hotels