With its honey-colored colleges arrayed in splendor beside the river, Oxford is a captivating vision of modern charm and medieval learning. Although there is more to this city than Oxford University, the city’s defining feature is very much the university. Here are the top must-see attractions in Oxford, England.
With its enthralling combination of double identity, literary heritage, and majestic architecture, Christ Church attracts lots of tourists. Among the largest colleges in Oxford, it was founded by Cardinal Wolsey in 1525. This college has assembled a remarkable art collection. Artworks displayed in the Picture Gallery include drawings and painting by Michelangelo, Tintoretto, as well as other Renaissance masters. Also, the Christ Church Meadow is a vast expanse bordered by the Thames and Cherwell rivers – it is perfect for a leisurely walk.
At least 5 kings, Nobel laureates, and dozens of prime ministers have studied in this library, a spectacular survivor from the Bronze Ages. Stroll into its seventeenth-century quad, and you can appreciate its age-old buildings for free. You will need to join a guided tour to see the rest of this library complex.
This is the oldest public museum in Britain and it is only surpassed by the British Museum in London. It was built in 1683 when a collection of ‘rarities’ was presented to Oxford University by Elias Ashmole. An exhibition celebrates the 400th birthday of Ashmole by showing original treasures. You could easily spend the whole day exploring this spectacular neoclassical building.
Guarding access to a magnificent expanse of deer park, river walks, and woodlands, Magdalen is one of the most beautiful and wealthiest colleges of Oxford. Beyond its stylish Victorian gateway, it has a glorious 15th-century tower and medieval tower. There is also the impressive 15th-century cloister where the fantastic carved figures may have inspired The Chronicles of Narnia stone statues by CS Lewis.
Pitt Rivers Museum
If exploring a huge room full of unexpected and eccentric artifacts sounds like your idea of an ideal afternoon, the Pitt Rivers museum is a top pick. Dimly lit to preserve its myriad treasures and tucked behind the natural history museum, it is centered on an anthropological collected assembled by a Victorian general. Exploring its 3 balconied floors, you may encounter anything from a warrior’s helmet to Japanese Noh-theatre masks or Mesopotamian temple receipts.
Definitely the most photographed landmark in Oxford, the Radcliffe Camera is a columned, circular, light-filled, and beautiful library. Built in grand Palladian style between 1737 and 1749, as “Radcliffe Library”, it is surpassed by the third-largest dome in Britain.