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The Divinity School | © David Iliff/WikiCommons
The Divinity School | © David Iliff/WikiCommons
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A Walking Tour of Oxford’s Architectural Landmarks

Picture of Sarah Dawson
Updated: 31 August 2017
Oxford is a fantastic city packed with incredible architecture that spans centuries and covers all kinds of styles. The best way to fit it all in is to explore the city on foot, along this handy walking tour.
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Christ Church

Start your walking tour at Christ Church. For the best view of the smallest cathedral in England, head across to Christ Church Meadow, looking onto the east side. However, it’s the interior that really impresses, especially the intricate chancel ceiling and the beautiful Victorian St Frideswide Window.

Christ Church Cathedral, St Aldate’s, Oxford, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 1865 276 150

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University Church of St Mary the Virgin

Just a nine-minute walk up The High Street, you’ll reach Radcliffe Square, arguably the most famous architectural hub of the city. Here you’ll find the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, established at the centre of the old walled city and adopted as the first building for Oxford University. It’s a real beauty, with an eccentric baroque porch and stunning decorated spire. The 13th-century tower still remains, and visitors can walk to the top for great views across the historic heart of the city.

University Church of St Mary the Virgin, The High Street, Oxford, United Kingdom, +44 01865 279 111

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Radcliffe Camera

Opposite the church stands the Radcliffe Camera, one of Oxford’s most iconic buildings. Part of Oxford University, Rad Cam was designed in a stunning Palladian style by James Gibbs and was built from 1737-1749 to house the Radcliffe Science Library. It now serves as a reading room for the Bodleian Library.

Radcliffe Camera, Broad St, Oxford, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 1865 277 162

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The Divinity School at Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library consists of various buildings around the scenic cobbled square, but it’s the Divinity School that truly is a must-see for architecture lovers. This medieval building showcases the perpendicular style that was so popular in Oxford. Built between 1427-1483 as a place for the study of theology, it’s now open to the public for tours and visits. The famous ceiling, with elaborate lierne vaulting, will take your breath away. If you’re ready for a bite, head to nearby Vaults & Garden café for a light lunch with unbeatable views.

The Divinity School at the Bodleian Library, Broad St, Oxford, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 1865 287 400

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The Sheldonian Theatre

Just minutes from the Bodleian, you’ll spot The Sheldonian Theatre, designed by Christopher Wren, one of England’s most highly-acclaimed architects who is also responsible for St Paul’s Cathedral, among others. Purpose-built for the University degree-giving ceremonies, the theatre, with its distinctive D-shape design, is widely believed to be inspired by the Roman Theatre of Marcellus.

The Sheldonian Theatre, Broad St, Oxford, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 1865 277 623

Ashmolean Museum

Museum
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Ashmolean Museum

Carry on along Broad Street towards Beaumont Street for around seven minutes, until you reach the city’s famous Ashmolean Museum. Without a doubt one of Oxford’s finest neo-classical buildings, this grand museum, which was designed by Charles Robert Cockerell in Bath and Portland stone, is home to the University’s collection of art and archaeological pieces.

Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont St, Oxford, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 1865 278 015

Ashmolean Museum | © Courtesy of Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Ashmolean Museum | © Courtesy of Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Sun:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
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University Museum of Natural History

Turn left onto St Giles, then follow Keble Road until you reach Parks Road, around half a mile in total. Dominating the vista is Oxford University Museum of Natural History. This Grade-I listed building, in great contrast to the Ashmolean, is a triumph of Victorian Gothic style with a dramatic glass roof. The museum, built between 1855-1860, is one of the first examples of a nonreligious Gothic building. Inside, the elegantly carved columns and ornamental details pay tribute to all manner of nature, including plants, birds and animals.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Parks Rd, Oxford, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 1865 272 950

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Keble College

With aching feet, it’s time to round off your tour with one final stop at Keble College. Just opposite from the University Museum, the college is most notable for its striking neo-gothic red-brick buildings. Designed by William Butterfield, the buildings caused a stir when they were first built from 1868-1870, but they are now (mostly) a much-loved part of the Oxford architectural landscape.

Keble College, Oxford, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 1865 272 727