phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
Top 5 Churches to Visit in Oxford
Image Credit: Christ Church Cathedral. Meraj Chhaya

Top 5 Churches to Visit in Oxford

12 March 2017 | Katherine Weekes

Oxford is famous for its spires and we’ve come up with a few suggestions for those looking to explore the dizzying architectural heights of this richly historic city. Here are our Top 5 Churches to Visit in Oxford.

St Michael at the North Gate
 
Lesser known but a real treasure, St Michael at the North Gate is Oxford’s oldest landmark dating back to 1040 and a first-rate choice for those interested in exploring Oxford’s past. Situated on Ship Street, the church’s location is a historical nod towards the city’s medieval layout with the Old Saxon bell tower standing as a relic of the settlement’s original north wall. A trip up the tower (small fee required) reveals some spectacular panoramic views of central Oxford – as well as a sneak peek into the neighboring Jesus College. Tours are available on a daily basis and provide an indepth foray into the church’s colourful history, including its brief time as a war prison! There is also an introduction to the site’s impressive silver, bronze and manuscript collections. St. Michael’s has had some notable alumni. Famous poet, textile designer and philanthropist William Morris married at St Michael’s in 1859 and the original marriage certificate is on display in the bell tower.
 St Michael at the North Gate church
Photo Credit: Reading Tom

Find St Michael at the North Gate on Cornmarket St (Ship St Junction), OX1 3EY.
 
University Church of St Mary
 
The University Church of St Mary is part of the university church network and can be found on High Street. University memorials, services and other events are regularly held in St Mary’s, as well as the occasional piece of student theatre! An obvious draw for St Mary’s is its marvelous tower that offers spectacular views of central Oxford and beyond (there is £4 admission charge to climb). The tower is believed to be the oldest part of the church, built in 1280 with the ornate spire added between 1315 and 1325. Since then the site has undergone centuries of change and re-development. The current building is a fusion of medieval, gothic and contemporary design – all of which is explained by the church’s guided tour. Other areas covered on the tour include the church’s many notable historical events: the establishment of Oxford’s first university building; the trials of the Oxford Martyrs (including Thomas Cramer); the birth of the Oxford movement; and the establishment of Oxfam. After exploring St Mary’s you can reward yourself by settling down in the church’s beautiful café which rolls into the church gardens offering unparalleled views of Radcliffe Square.
 
University Church of St Mary's
Photo Credit: Glen Bowman
 
Find the University Church of St Mary on High St, Oxford OX1 4BJ.
 
Chist Church Cathedral
 
Christ Church Cathedral is one of Oxford’s most famous landmarks, and can be visited as part of the wider entry to Christ Church College. The cathedral has a rich heritage as a monastery and later as the Augustinian priory of St Frideswide, Oxford’s patron saint. From the 13th century the place of worship was a major site of pilgrimage. In the 16th century the building was surrendered to Cardinal Wolsey who began building a college and chapel on the grounds. Thankfully, Wolsey fell from power before parts of the north side of original cathedral could be demolished, but Tom Quad still remains as a legacy of Wolsey’s efforts. As well as some fascinating late Norman features (including the amazing stained glass), Christchurch Cathedral has some notable alumni buried within its walls including philosopher John Locke and scholar Robert Burton. Visiting is usually allowed between 10am – 5pm, but this is subject to change during Oxford University term times, so always check before you visit. Standard admission to the college, including the cathedral starts from £7.
 
Christ Church stained glass
Christ Church stained glass. Photo Credit: Meraj Chhaya
 
Find Christ Church Cathedral in Christ Church College, St Aldate's, Oxford OX1 1DP.
 
St Barnabas Church
 
Unconventional but a must-see, St Barnabas Church is located in the stylish, bohemian district of Jericho. With a Venetian-style square bell tower and a Romanesque basilica, St Barnabas is a little piece of Italian artistry tucked away in the tiny North Oxford backstreets. Completed in 1872, the church’s design is based on the Torcello church in Venice and was built as part of the ‘Oxford Movement’. St Barnabas, also features widely in Oxford-based literature, including the novels of Thomas Hardy, P.D. James and the poems of John Betjemen. Truly one for architectural enthusiasts, this is an excellent place to stop and explore, and it’s conveniently only a 3 min walk from The Old Bookbinders Pub that serves up a fantastic pub lunch!
 
St Barnabas Church interior
Photo Credit: Ed Webster
 
Find St Barnabas Church on St Barnabas St, Oxford OX2 6BG.
 
Magdalen College Chapel
 
Magdalen College Chapel technically isn’t a church, but is well worth a visit for those interested in participating in a service whilst in Oxford. The Magdalen Chapel is prolific in its services and choral events, offering fourteen services a week to students and the public. The chapel is a fine example of High Anglican architecture and was influenced by the Catholic Revival in the Church of England. It is also home to one of the university’s best choirs. Entry to the college, including the chapel starts at £5 for adults.  
 
Magdalen College interior
Photo Credit: Anders Sandberg
 
Find Magdalen College Chapel in Magdalen College, Oxford, OX1 4AU.
 
 

Tell us what you think

You may also like

The Museum of Transology

The Museum of Transology

As Brighton prepares for Pride festivities in early August, the city is also due to celebrate its longstanding commitment to supporting the acceptance and equality…

An Interview: Mischief and Madness in Moominvalley

An Interview: Mischief and Madness in Moominvalley

At the beginning of Mischief and Mysteries in Moominvalley, a performance by Lost & Found, a British-based creative theatre group, the set is all but…

Eastbourne’s Towner Art Gallery Showcases Two New Exhibitions

Eastbourne’s Towner Art Gallery Showcases Two New Exhibitions

Two new exhibitions open this summer at the Eastbourne’s Towner Art Gallery.

Win a Winners Package for Four to Ladies’ Day!

Kempton Park Racecourse - Win a Winners Package for Four to Ladies’ Day!

Gladrags at the ready - we are giving away a Winners Package for four to Kempton Park Racecourse Ladies' Day!

Come Rain or Shine: Weatherproof Fun in Bristol

Come Rain or Shine: Weatherproof Fun in Bristol

Known to be one of the wettest cities in Britain, if you're planning a day out in Bristol, you need to come prepared. Fortunately, we've…

A Brighton Foodie Guide

A Brighton Foodie Guide

There remains a charm to Brighton. Who doesn't love spending a needless fiver on a penny arcade? Or touring the city's labyrinth-like Laines, full of…

Top 5 Roasts in Kendal

Top 5 Roasts in Kendal

Frequently referred to as the ‘Gateway to the Lakes’, the historic market town of Kendal sits on the fringe of the Lake District. With rolling hills,…

Win 2 Tickets to a Private Art View, Lunch & Photography Books!

The Other Art Fair - Win 2 Tickets to a Private Art View, Lunch & Photography Books!

The Other Art Fair returns to Bristol for its third year this September, and to celebrate we have a prize perfect for any art lovers.

An Interview with Kate Nash

An Interview with Kate Nash

Harrow-born artist Kate Nash burst onto the music scene back in 2005 after uploading her music to Myspace. Having caught the attention of producers and…

24 hours in Easton, Bristol

24 hours in Easton, Bristol

Easton is one of Bristol’s most vibrant districts. Home to a wealth of independent shops, world cuisine and a burgeoning music scene, this cultural hotpot is…

Most popular

A Book Lover’s Tour of Literary Britain

A Book Lover’s Tour of Literary Britain

From Shakespeare’s Stratford to the city that birthed The Boy who Lived, we have compiled the essential must-see destinations for literary lovers.
Win Two Tickets to the Event of your Choice!

Shoreham Wordfest - Win Two Tickets to the Event of your Choice!

Fancy expanding your literary imagination? Or perhaps sourcing inspiration for your great novel? We are giving away two tickets to the event of your choosing at this year’s Shoreham Wordfest!  
A Culture Calling Guide to the Edinburgh Fringe 2017

A Culture Calling Guide to the Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Every August the incomparable Edinburgh Festival takes root in the Scottish capital, bringing with it hundreds of thousands of performers, critics, musicians, comedians. Read on for our guide to some of the shows to look out for.
An Interview with Tessa Lynch

An Interview with Tessa Lynch

We speak to the seminal artist about her upcoming performance at Bristol's Spike Island
A Falafel Lover’s Guide to Bristol

A Falafel Lover’s Guide to Bristol

Now that we've all agreed that falafels are the best food to grace the earth, we've compiled a list of the best spots to indulge in these cheeky little chickpea chappies.
An Interview: Mischief and Madness in Moominvalley

An Interview: Mischief and Madness in Moominvalley

Moomin mania is coming to Bristol. We speak to Bristol-based collective Lost and Found on their performance.
A Hungover Guide to Bristol

A Hungover Guide to Bristol

Feeling last night's pint a little too much? No fear, we've made a list of the best hangover spots in Bristol.
Review: Secret Garden Party 2017

Review: Secret Garden Party 2017

Sarah Fortescue looks back at 15 years of one of Britain's best festivals, Secret Garden Party.
Top 5 Botanic Gardens in the UK

Top 5 Botanic Gardens in the UK

Educational, exciting and beautiful to look at, if you’re looking for some horticultural inspiration, a green haven amongst the city hubbub or an exciting expedition for the family then take a look through our round-up of the UK’s best botanic gardens
Top 5 Roasts in Kendal

Top 5 Roasts in Kendal

We’ve done the groundwork and selected the most delectable roast dinners available in Kendal – a place that offers so much more than its namesake Mint Cake.

Your inbox deserves a little culture!