Oxford, Oxford sights

Oxford sights

Oxford, England is famous for its sights and architecture. So once you’re here, you’re sure to find plenty to see and do.

Oxford is a small city located northwest of the capital of Great Britain. The largest rivers in Foggy Albion – the Charwell and the Thames – flow through it and merge into one. The exact date of the city foundation is unknown, but first mentions of it are found as early as 972. And the first students in the city appeared 100 years later. Today the city’s population is more than 150,000 people. The city’s population is now 150,000. 30,000 of those are students of local universities.

Top 12 Sights of Oxford

When first mentioning the English city of Oxford, everyone associates it with the university. Yes, indeed, the city is the world capital of higher education. It is home to the world famous Oxford University. It is considered so prestigious that wealthy people dream of sending there to study for their children. But even for a rich person such a university can be unaffordable.

Oxford Castle

Oxford Castle, England

In the mind of an ordinary person, a castle is an impregnable fortress surrounded by high stone walls. But Oxford Castle is an exception. Its walls are located crescent, that is, cover the main estate on three sides only. The fourth side of the castle is enclosed by a hill.

The fortification structure was built in the 12th century. The castle originally served as the official residence of the lords. In the second half of the 18th century the castle was turned into a prison and executions and executions were held in its squares.

Oxford Castle in England.

Today the place has become a tourist attraction. The prison was closed and the premises of the castle for cafes and stores. Here you can find guides who, for a modest fee, will take you on a tour of the former cells where the criminals were held. Traditionally, all the guides are former prisoners. They will tell you in detail how they had to wrestle every piece of bread from their fellow inmates.

Then you can go down into the basement. Here you will be greeted by a local ghost – an actor dressed as a ghost. At first he will scare someone, and then he will give a fun and entertaining tour. Such is the tradition here.

Carrefax Tower.

One of the most popular places in town. The name of the tower translates as “crossroads tower”. And indeed, it is located at the intersection of four roads. Climbing to the top of the construction, tourists have a wonderful view of the whole of Oxford. The cost of a visit is £2.

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Carfax Tower in Oxford, England.

The tower is located on the site of St. Martin’s Church, which was demolished in the late 19th century. An interesting fact is that the original tower, because of the threat of collapse was demolished in 1820. In its place was built an exact copy.

The height of the tower is 23 meters. It is the tallest structure in the city.

Oxford University

Oxford University, a landmark in the city

Most people think of a university as one grand building (or several buildings) where students come to learn from their fellow professors. The University of Oxford combines many different colleges that are scattered throughout the city. This greatly complicates life for students. After all, in order to get to one class, you have to go to the other end of the city.

University of Oxford, England

Remarkably, all of these colleges were built at different times. Most of them are ancient buildings that can be admired endlessly. And some built in the twentieth century and made in a modern style.

Some of the most popular colleges among tourists are:

  • Christ Church College – the oldest college in Oxford, founded in 1120;
  • Queens College – the college building was built by the personal order of King Edward III in the first half of the 12th century. You can get into the structure only with a guide;
  • Christchurch and Trinity Colleges. The premises of these educational institutions are in the medieval style. They are fenced off from the outside world by a high fence, behind which majestic buildings with towers are hidden. Entrance to the grounds is only possible after purchasing tickets.

Weston Library

A modern library in the center of town. It was built in 2015. This place has become popular with tourists because of the underground vaults that stretch 3 stories underground.

Weston Library, a historic landmark in Oxford

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see it with your own eyes, as only university researchers are allowed access to the underground. But on the street you will meet many guides who will tell you in detail about this unusual place.

Bodleian Library

One of the oldest libraries in the world. Its vaults hold manuscripts that are 300-400 years old. Originally the library consisted of a small collection of books, which was a gift from one of the founders of the city, Duke William Coben. Today the library has a book collection of more than 11 million printed items. It has the capacity to serve up to 1.5 million readers annually.

Bodleian Library in Oxford, England

Moreover, the library is in demand by film directors and producers. For example, the famous Harry Potter film was shot here. A guided tour of the library halls will cost between £5 and £7.

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Martyrs’ Memorial.

This place was created by architect D. Scott in 1843. The author wanted to remind the people of England about the terrible times of the Inquisition, when dissenters whose views differed from the teachings of the Church, could find themselves at the stake or die in agony under the influence of some hellish device.

Martyrs Memorial, Oxford, England

The occasion for the monument was the execution of ministers of the Church of England. The memorial resembles the spire of a church that disappeared under water.

The Ashmole Museum

Oxford - The Ashmole Museum

The Ashmole Museum has a collection of everything you can find in the world. There are ancient Egyptian mummies, ancient Aztec treasures, and paintings by famous Renaissance artists. Built in the early 15th century, it was one of the first university museums in the world. Originally, its collection was used exclusively for scientific purposes. That’s why only Oxford University’s teaching staff and their students were allowed access to it. But later the antiquities were put on public display.

Today it is the second largest museum in England.

Natural History Museum

Oxford's famous landmark - Oxford Museum of Natural History

This place is not just a tourist attraction in Oxford. In addition to the exhibition halls, there are lecture halls. They are used by students and professors from various departments at Oxford University.

Oxford Natural History Museum is the most interesting place in town

The building has a very interesting style. The interior architecture is huge halls, with high glass ceilings.

The Natural History Museum has a huge collection of exhibits of animate and inanimate nature. Here you can see skeletons of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals, stuffed modern mammals and reptiles, many insects and plants.

Church of the Virgin Mary

An ancient building on the territory of Oxford. The exact date of its construction is unknown. Scientists think it was built at about the same time as the university itself.

St. Mary's Church in Oxford, England

Church of St. Mary is considered the most popular in terms of attendance in the whole of England. It is famous among tourists because of the beautiful views from its observation decks.

Headington Shark

Headington Shark in Oxford, England

A modern attraction, famous all over the world. Erected on the roof of the house, which is located at 2 New High Street. Local resident Bill Heine, an ardent opponent of the nuclear bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, built this monument on the anniversary of the tragedy. Thus he protested against the use of atomic weapons. Today this monument has become a gathering place for opponents of nuclear weapons from around the world.

The Eagle and Child pub

An iconic spot in Oxford, The Eagle and Child pubThe Eagle and Child pub in Oxford, England

The oldest entertainment venue in all of Oxford. The pub attracts tourists with its unusual history. In the early 20th century, members of the Inklings literary circle liked to gather at The Eagle and Child. The group consisted exclusively of students from Oxford University and was founded by famous writers John Ronald Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit or There and Back Again) and Clive Staples Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia).

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Pitt Rivers Museum

Oxford, England - The Pitt Rivers Museum

Like any other historic city, Oxford has its own ethnographic museum. Here tourists will be told and shown in detail the life and ways of the ancient inhabitants. There are both visual and interactive exhibitions. Therefore, a tour to this place will not be boring even for young children.

Oxford – sights and attractions


This English city on the banks of the Thames became world famous for its ancient university. It is known that already in 1096 the University was teaching. In the XII century, by king’s decree students from England were forbidden to enter the universities of Paris. This led to the intensive development of the university in Oxford.

Today it has 30,000 students, nearly a fifth of the city’s population. Dozens of Nobel laureates studied and worked within its walls.

The city is located 90 kilometers north – west of London, has good transport links with the largest settlements of the country. Every year it is visited by many thousands of tourists.

Carfax Tower

Carfax Tower

In the heart of the city is located 23-meter tower. It is the only surviving fragment of the XIII century church that bore the name of St. Martin. On its top in 1676 were fixed six bells, active to this day. They ring every fifteen minutes.

The top of the tower offers a magnificent panorama of the surrounding area. Its name means “crossroads” in French. The temple operated until the beginning of the XIX century. In subsequent years gradually demolished.

Bodleian Library

Bodleian Library

The Thomas Bodley University Library is housed in five huge buildings with many departments and branches. They are surrounded by manicured parks and exquisite sculptures in the courtyards.

One of the notable library buildings is the reading room, called the Radcliffe Chamber. Only the British Book Depository has more space than the university library. Together with the Vatican Library, it is among the oldest libraries on the continent. Its library collection contains over two million volumes.

King’s Alley Café

Kings Lane Cafe

Tourists and students try to get into this oldest cafe in the city, known since 1654. Traditional English cuisine dominates here. However, given the national mix of students and the many thousands of tourists visiting the city, its menu includes quite a few dishes of Mediterranean and North African origin.

Here you can try the original hot chocolate, many varieties of aromatic coffee, the traditional full English breakfast and other dishes.

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Magdalen College

Magdalen College

Its riverside building is considered the most ornate university college. The beautiful tall bell tower is clearly visible from anywhere in the city. Every year on the first day of May, early in the morning, choral religious chants are held in the tower.

Inside the college premises, the Great Hall, decorated with rich wood carvings, stands out. There are many picturesque portraits of the men who made the institution famous. The college has a wonderful park and botanical garden where medicinal plants were studied.

Martyrs’ Memorial.

Martyrs Memorial

A reminder of the tragic times of the medieval Inquisition, the Martyrs’ Memorial commemorates the Anglican priests burnt at the stake in the 16th century.

Architect D. G. Scott designed it in the Gothic Victorian style. The work was completed in 1843. The complex resembles the spire of a sunken temple. Students take advantage of this, pranking curious tourists. The place of execution itself is not far away and is marked with a cross.

Church of St. Virgin Mary

St. Mary's Church

This temple is directly related to the history of the famous institution. It was built in the XIII century and immediately began to be used for the needs of the university.

Today it is the most popular parish church in the country. Tourists and parishioners are attracted by the performance of religious songs by the church choir and the sound of the famous organ, which was installed there in 1986. The church gallery offers beautiful views of the city. You can consider the courtyard of the nearby college, where young researchers are doing their work.

Pitt Rivers Museum

Pitt Rivers Museum

In 1884, Oxford University received an archaeological and anthropological museum. It was founded by General P. Rivers. The museum was based on the collection of another military man, Colonel L. Fox. He was enthusiastic about collecting items used by the inhabitants of the British colonies. With their help he tried to trace stages of human development, evolution of tools and weapons.

Pitt Rivers Museum

Later the museum funds were replenished by the findings of many travelers, scientists and military. It contains exhibits collected by J. Cook. Today it is the teaching and research base of the university’s Department of Anthropology.

New College

New College

This is the name of the educational institution founded in the 1379th century. Located in the city center, it is one of the most famous colleges in Oxford University. In Europe, it is one of the most notable buildings of educational institutions.

It is built as a closed quadrangle with a large courtyard in the center. It has halls, a library, and rooms for teachers and students. The building was used as a model for the construction of subsequent colleges.

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Oxford Castle

Oxford Castle

At the beginning of the second millennium, when the city flourished, it was enclosed by a fortress wall. On its basis the Norman castle was built, which is among the few examples of such military architecture. At the city gate was built a four-story building called the Tower of St. George. Here was arranged a chapel of this saint. It is believed that it served as the basis for the establishment of Oxford University, which first trained clergymen.

Baconscot Park.

Baconscote Park

Here, in a small rural location near Oxford, it has managed to represent in miniature the peripheral England of the turn of the last century. The park features a 15-kilometer model of the old railroad. Twelve trains run along it. Each of them travels three thousand kilometers annually. The territory is decorated with windmills, picturesque meadows, castles. With its revenues, the park supports other miniature parks in the country.

Medieval Hotel

Medieval Hotel

The building that houses the Bear and Ragged Staff Hotel was built more than four and a half centuries ago. The owners of the establishment did their best to preserve the original finish. Rough walls of stone and wooden elements of the interior make a huge impression. In the rooms of the last floor the sloping ceilings are preserved. The interior of the hotel restaurant gives an idea of the traditions of old England. Original ale is brewed here according to old recipes.

Sheldonian Theatre

Sheldonian Theatre

This renowned attraction in the city was built in the 17th century and is the main venue for the most important ceremonies of Oxford University. It holds ceremonies for the enrollment of new students and the presentation of diplomas. Meetings of the University Council take place in the hall, which seats a thousand people.

The building is considered an architectural masterpiece, which is based on the traditions of construction of Roman theaters. Its painted ceiling is remarkable. The theater is named after the first Chancellor of the University G. Sheldon.

The University


The main attraction of the city – Oxford University – is always open for visitors. Its structure has dozens of independent colleges with their own history and symbols. The university is home to the oldest museum in the country, the Ashmolean. Founded in the Middle Ages, it shows visitors ancient paintings and sculptures, collections of precious stones from all over the world, and rare archaeological finds. Next to the school is a botanical garden with collections of rare plants.

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