There are lots of Colleges to visit in Oxford. Thirty nine constituent colleges and six permanent private halls in total! Naturally, as a visitor to Oxford you will want to go in at least one of these forty three iconic buildings but choosing which ones to visit is harder than the cinnamon challenge. Well don’t fret. We at Footprints Tours have compiled a list of the top 5 best Colleges to visit at Oxford. It will also tell you about opening times and costs to ensure your visit to the colleges goes ahead without a hitch. These are all Colleges that we visit on our Oxford University Walking Tour.
1. Trinity College
This College is indisputably the top of the best colleges at Oxford to visit. Not only is it stunning beautiful, it has extremely large grounds for being based directly in the middle of Oxford. The previous college to Prime Ministers, and even now a Saint. Complete with beautiful Chapel and Dining Hall (which often plays hosts to a modern twist with modern female portraits – a welcome contrast to the usual array of white old men at other Halls). This should be at the top of your list to kick off a visit to Oxford, and you can enter this college on our Oxford University Tour.
Opening Times -Monday to Sunday -10:30 – 16:00 or dusk. Whichever comes first
More College Info Here
2. Balliol College
This College is indisputably one of the top colleges at Oxford to visit. Not only is it one of the oldest Colleges to visit in Oxford (1263), it also gave us four well known Prime Ministers (H.H. Asquith, Edward Heath, Harold MacMillan and Boris Johnson). The list doesn’t end there though as amongst others, Balliol is the former College of Adam Smith, Aldous Huxley and Richard Dawkins…The College itself benefits from a stunning chapel, a huge dining room and a beautiful garden which covers a large portion of the Colleges grounds. Most important of all though is the Colleges collection of prized tortoises!
Opening Times -Monday to Sunday -10:00 – 17:00 or dusk. Whichever comes first
3. New College
New College is the ultimate College for the person who wants to find all of the Oxford Highlights in one place. The College has a stunning garden with the original city wall running around its boundaries. If you like Choral music, New College is the best for it. The choir here are world renowned and in fact have won two grammy awards! Most noteworthy is The Chapel, also is the home to some incredible art, including a two metre high sculpture of Lazarus, sculpted by Jacob Epstein, and an original El Greco! By the way, it is sometimes lent out to the Ashmolean so don’t be concerned if you rock up to see it and all you can see is an empty frame!
Finally, the icing on the cake… New College was also used in the filming of Harry Potter! If you don’t want to pay the fees for Christ Church but you want your fix of Potter, New College is definitely one of the best Colleges at Oxford to visit. If you are a fan of Harry Potter, check out this College on our Footprints Harry Potter Tour of Oxford.
Opening Times -Easter to October -11:00 – 17:00, October to Easter -14:00 – 16:00
4. St Johns College
Now this College really is something special. It currently stands as the wealthiest College in Oxford with financial endowments of over £442.2 Million. The College has quite a lot of grounds open to the public so its a great College to visit and you’re hoping to get a real sense as to the goings on in Oxford. Notable Alumni of the College include the likes of Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Thailand Abhisit Vejjajiva, and the poets A.E. Housman, Philip Larkin and Robert Graves. St. John’s College opens is grounds to the public most afternoons so it is certainly one of the best Colleges to visit at Oxford.
Opening Times – Monday to Sunday – 13:00 – 17:00 or dusk. Whichever comes first
Why not visit this College with a student to explain it all, on a private tour.
5. Christ Church College
Without a doubt, Christ Church is the most recognisable college at Oxford, having given England Thirteen Prime Ministers and of course being the site of the Grand Stairwell in Harry Potter. Christ Church is without a doubt, one of the grandest colleges at Oxford and actually encases Christ Church Cathedral (The Diocese of Oxford) within its walls. Along the walls of the Dining Room are portraits of just some of the many notable alumni who studied at the College. This includes the likes of William Pitt, the Founder of Pittsburgh, John Locke, the Philosopher and Charles Dodgson, who most people know by the name as Lewis Carroll… With so much going for it, it is certainly one of the best Colleges to visit at Oxford.
The only thing putting it at number five however, is the fact that it can be a bit of a tourist trap. The college tends to charge quite extortionate fees for entry and tends to be rammed with people trying to take pictures of the Harry Potter locations. Whilst definitely a worthwhile visit, these are things that must be considered before heading over to this iconic college.
ENTER OXFORD UNIVERSITY ON OUR OXFORD UNIVERSITY & CITY TOUR
You can find out more information of this site, and some of the most iconic sites in the city, on our Oxford University Walking Tour!
For more information, click here