Oxford is one of the oldest and most celebrated university towns in Europe. From the glorious architecture to its fascinating history, Oxford is jam-packed with fantastic things to see and do. Read on to explore the top tourist attractions in Oxford that you must visit during your trip.
Tourist Attractions in Oxford
1. Bodleian Library
As you step close to the building, you’ll really feel a magical vibe, as if you were stepping into a Hogwarts library! The Bodleian Library is one of the oldest in the world and it is so mesmerizing that you’d really want to spend hours just admiring the architecture. And indeed, most of the top tourist attractions in Oxford are just like that – pretty and not just on the outside! However, if you’d like to enjoy the vast collection of the library, you’d need to literally take an oath – it used to be just an oral one, but with time, it turned into a written one.
2. University Church of St. Mary the Virgin
While sightseeing in the city center, be sure to include the University Church – the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin (or simply St. Mary’s) – on your Oxford itinerary.
A highlight of your visit should be climbing its finely decorated tower. Built around 1280, this vantage point offers excellent views of the city and the surrounding countryside.
Another notable feature is the porch you will have walked through when entering the church. Look carefully, and you’ll still see marks made by bullets from the guns of Oliver Cromwell’s troops during the English Civil War.
3. Oxford Botanic Garden
4. Christ Church Cathedral
Although the present building dates from the 12th century, Christ Church acquired cathedral status in 1546. The most striking feature in the interior is the double arcading of the nave, creating an impression of much greater height. In the 14th century, the church was extended to the north, and the choir was created in 1500 with fan vaulting overhanging keystones.
In the south transept is the Thomas Becket window (1320) and five glass windows designed by Edward Burne-Jones and made by William Morris in 1871.
Also of note are the St. Frideswide window (1858) and three 14th-century tombs of Lady Montacute, Prior Sutton, and John de Nowers, as well as the remains of the Frideswide’s shrine (1289).
5. Radcliffe Square
Located in the city center, Radcliffe Square is home to many of the city’s most important college buildings. Here, you’ll find the Old Schools Quadrangle (1613) and the Radcliffe Camera (1737), a rotunda that originally housed the Radcliffe Library.
The 16-sided room on the ground floor is now a reading room for the Bodleian Library, the university library, and the country’s first public library, founded in 1598. A copy of every book published in Britain is deposited here, including some two million volumes and 40,000 manuscripts. From the library, you can also explore the magnificent Divinity School.
6. Oxford University
Oxford University is the oldest University in the English-speaking world and to date one of the best and most prestigious in the world. Countless famous figures and great minds have studied here, and any visitors are – no doubt – walking in the footsteps of many of them, seeing the same views that they had. “Where is the famous Oxford University?” is a question many visitors ask. the answer is: everywhere! The University is made up of 38 independent colleges, and their quads and buildings can be found all over the city.
Many colleges open their doors to visitors for at least a few hours every day. Many of them are free to visit, some charge a small fee. Opening hours can change without prior notice, and up-to-date times can be seen on the porter’s lodge of each college.
In the colleges, visitors can usually explore the college quad and gardens, as well as the chapel.
In conclusion, these are some of the best tourist attractions in Oxford to visit.