Oxford University Colleges

(Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK)

Oxford UniversityOne of the most famous universities in the world, Oxford University comprises a total of 38 individual colleges and some six separate educational institutions known as 'Permanent Private Halls', which all have religious origins.

Many people mistakenly think that the colleges of Oxford University all belong to one giant campus, when in actual fact, they are all spread around the city and operate as separate entities entirely. Many of these colleges welcome visitors and even lay on guided tours, where you can learn which building featured in the Harry Potter movies, where Bill Clinton once studied and the story of penicillin. Even those colleges residing within the heart of the city centre often also come with landscaped gardens, chapels, libraries and further attractions, which are frequently set around quadrangles.

Interestingly, the majority of the more historic buildings are arranged around a series of staircases, while the college of Keble is the exception to this rather old-fashioned rule, with its rooms lining corridors.

Many of the colleges of Oxford University enjoy substantial financial endowments, with both All Souls and Christ Church recently receiving more than £200 million, and St. John's enjoying an endowment exceeding £300 million. These donated funds are overseen by boards of trustees and are used to finance the day-to-day running, to make repairs to the buildings, to expand and update the facilities, and to fund improvements to the education. The endowments are also reinvested, to secure a healthy financial future in times of downturns in the economy.

All Souls College

Address: High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4AL, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 279379
All Souls College is situated in the city centre and was founded in 1438, by none-other than King Henry VI of England. Highlights here include striking twin towers and many original features. Every 100 years in mid-January, the students studying here take part in the famous Commemorative Feast, which involves singing and a procession with lit torches - this was last staged in 2001. All Souls College is one of Oxford's most affluent, with a recent financial endowment being close to £240 million.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 14:00 to 16:00

Oxford University

Balliol College

Address: Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3BJ, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 277777
Balliol dates back to the 13th century, the year of 1263 to be precise. Over the subsequent centuries, Balliol College has produced many famous politicians and leaders, and serves as one of the oldest buildings in the county. The Front Quadrangle and the Garden Quadrangle offer plenty of photo opportunities, along with the attractive buildings standing along Jowett Walk and Manor Road.
Open hours: Saturday and Sunday - 14:00 to 17:00

Brasenose College

Address: Radcliffe Square, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4AJ, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 277830
Founded way back in 1509, the extremely historic Brasenose College features wonderful views over Radcliffe Square. Other attractions include a historic chapel, a large dining hall and detailed architecture. Close by, visitors may also like to check out the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. Of interest, the resident Brasenose Boat Club is actually the oldest boat club in existence, anywhere on the planet.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 11:30, 14:00 to 17:00

Oxford University

Christ Church

Address: St. Aldates, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 1DP, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 276150
Christ Church is one of the most famous and stunning buildings in the city and features breathtaking architecture, with many important aspects. Dating back to the middle of the 16th century, Christ Church includes historic stained-glass windows within its onsite chapel, as well as landscaped gardens and many rare artefacts. The college has become famous for producing no less than 13 UK prime ministers, including Sir Robert Peel and William Ewart Gladstone. Christ Church is also known for featuring within the acclaimed novels Brideshead Revisited and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, while more recently, it was used as a location in a number of the Harry Potter movies and also in The Golden Compass film. Specific highlights include the various quadrangles (the Blue Boar, the Great, the Canterbury and the Peckwater quadrangles), the Old Library, the Meadow Building and the Christ Church Picture Gallery.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 17:30, Sunday - 11:00 to 17:30

Corpus Christi College

Address: Merton Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4JF, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 276700
Located in the city centre and next to the Christ Church Cathedral, Corpus Christi was built around 500 years ago and is smaller than many of the city's other colleges within the university complex. Various former students left Corpus Christi to join the world of politics, including famous Labour politicians David and Ed Miliband, while other alumni include political theorist Sir Isaiah Berlin and Indian writer Vikram Seth (author of The Golden Gate and An Equal Music).
Open hours: daily - 13:30 to 16:30

Divinity School

Address: Catte Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3BW, England
Sited right next to Hertford College and the Sheldonian Theatre, and adjoining the Bodleian Library, Divinity School ranks amongst the oldest of the university's purpose-built colleges and was built here in the 1420s. Featuring many stone carvings and some unusual exhibits, this medieval school can be reached through the Old Schools Quad area. Well worth looking out for is the vaulted ceiling and the grand doorway, which was created by Christopher Wren in the year of 1669.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 17:00, Saturday - 09:00 to 12:00

Examination Schools

Address: High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4BG, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 276903
Heavily used during the early summer months, the Examination Schools are where many of the university exams take place. Of interest for visitors, attractions include an appealing portrait gallery and a number of historic carved wooden panels.
Open hours: by arrangement

Oxford University

Exeter College

Address: Turl Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3DP, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 279600
Officially named the 'Rector and Scholars of Exeter College in the University of Oxford', Exeter College resides within the city's Market area, where it was founded in the second decade of the 14th century. This building has been home to many famous students over the years, including the likes of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (J. R. R. Tolkien), author of the world-famous Lord of the Rings trilogy. Notable highlights include the chapel, the Front Quadrangle, the Margary Quadrangle and the Fellows Garden.
Open hours: daily - 14:00 to 17:00

Green Templeton College

Address: Woodstock Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6HG, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 274770
The Green Templeton is one of Oxford University's most recent additions and was founded in the late 1970s, specialising in medical studies and research. In 2008, the merger of both the Green College and the Templeton College resulted in the creation of the Green Templeton on this present site. Around 300 students currently study here, roughly two-thirds of which are graduates.
Open hours: by arrangement

Harris Manchester College

Address: Mansfield Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3TD, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 271006
Just down the road from the city's extremely popular Alternative Tuck Shop, the Harris Manchester College has its origins firmly in the city of Manchester, where it was founded in 1786. It moved here in the late 19th century and is today surrounded by numerous historic buildings and houses.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:30 to 17:00, Saturday - 09:30 to 13:00

Hertford College

Address: Catte Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3BW, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 279400
The spectacular Hertford College was built in the 13th century and is to be found right next to the city's world-famous Bridge of Sighs. A large proportion of the structure has been extended over more recent years, although it has managed to retain much of its original charm and character. Many famous alumni once studied here, including the likes of Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver's Travels - 1726) and rather more recently, Evelyn Waugh (author of Brideshead Revisited - 1945).
Open hours: Saturday and Sunday - 09:00 to 12:00, 14:00 to 18:00

Jesus College

Address: Turl Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3DW, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 279700
The famous Jesus College is actually a large group of small colleges in central Oxford, being situated next to Cornmarket Street and Ship Street. Founded over 400 years ago, in the year of 1571, the complex boasts strong Welsh connections. Various shops and eateries are close by, lining Market Street.
Open hours: daily - 14:00 to 16:00

Oxford University

Keble College

Address: Parks Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3PG, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 272727
Keble College dates back to the early 1870s and is an attractive red-brick building, being constructed to pay tribute to prominent churchman and leader of the Oxford Movement of the High Church Anglicans, John Keble. With cathedral-like Victorian architecture and many interesting neo-Gothic features, highlights include a splendid chapel, with impressive mosaics all the way from Venice.
Open hours: daily - 13:00 to 16:00

Kellogg College

Address: Banbury Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6PN, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 270383
Based on the northern side of the city centre and arranged around the expansive Liddon Quadrangle, Kellogg College stands next to the University of Oxford Institute of Human Sciences and was founded fairly recently in 1990. The establishment of this particular college was part of the continual expansion of the overall university complex, being founded for adult further education.
Open hours: by arrangement

Lady Margaret Hall

Address: North Oxford Campus, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6QA, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 274300
Famed for its classical French Renaissance-style architecture, the Lady Margaret Hall, on the northern side of the city, began its life as a women-only college. Founded in the latter part of the 1870s, men were not permitted here for more than 100 years, being finally accepted as fellow students in 1979. The gardens are a real treat for visitors, being edged by the meandering River Cherwell and covering in the region of 12 acres / 5 hectares.
Open hours: by arrangement

Linacre College

Address: St. Cross Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3JA, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 271650
Founded in 1962 and home to around 400 graduate students, Linacre College is located next to the New College Recreation Ground and features sympathetic, modern architecture, surrounded by attractive gardens and parkland. Linacre's colours are black, grey and yellow, while its motto is simply 'No End To Learning'.
Open hours: by arrangement

Lincoln College

Address: Turl Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3DR, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 279800
Lincoln College was founded around 600 years ago, on the site of a historic church, next to the Oxford Market. One of its most acknowledged former students is Lord Florey, who is best remembered for his part in developing penicillin in the late 1920s. Various restaurants are located close by, should you be feeling peckish after your visit. These include both Pizza Express and Wagamama, while slightly further away is the Mission Mexican Grill and a branch of McDonald's.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 14:00 to 17:00, Sunday - 11:00 to 17:00

Oxford University

Magdalen College

Address: High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4AU, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 276000
Magdalen College is one of the university's most famous and most beautiful, being best known for its tall bell tower, elegant architecture, vast gardens and parklands, walking trails and scenic views. Established in 1458, Magdalen is also highly regarded in the world of education for its exceptional exam results and record-breaking level of first-class degrees awarded to its students.
Open hours: daily - 12:00 to 18:00

Mansfield College

Address: Mansfield Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3TF, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 270999
Mansfield ranks amongst the smallest university colleges and was originally founded as Spring Hill College (for Nonconformist students) in Birmingham, in the year of 1838, before moving here just under 50 years later. Neighbouring attractions include the Balliol College Recreation Ground and the Oxford University Newcomers' Club. You may also like to check out the nearby Rothermere American Institute, which was actually opened in 2001 by former US President Bill Clinton and is where you will find the Princess Margaret Memorial Garden. Queen Elizabeth II is just one of the many guest speakers to have visited the institute in recent years.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 17:00, Sunday - 13:00 to 17:00

Merton College

Address: Merton Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4JD, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 276310
Standing next to Corpus Christi and the Oxford University Tennis Club, Merton is one of the largest colleges in the university complex and dates back to the mid-1260s. This important, historic building features a medieval library and many original details. The St. Alban Quad remains an appealing addition and comprises a series of well-preserved Victorian buildings. Visitors should be sure to take a stroll around the gardens and look out for the ancient mulberry tree, which is believed to be around 400 years old.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 14:00 to 16:00, Saturday and Sunday - 10:00 to 16:00

New College

Address: Holywell Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3BN, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 279555
Fronting Holywell Street and just off St. Cross Road, New College is to be found close to the Chantry Library and the Grade-II listed Holywell B&B guesthouse. Founded in 1379 and officially named the College of St. Mary, this school was actually the seventh to join the Oxford University complex, being established to educate priests following a noticeable lack of clergy after the Black Death (1348 to 1350).
Open hours: daily - 14:00 to 17:00

Nuffield College

Address: New Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 1NF, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 278500
Opened in 1937 and today primarily functioning as an important research establishment, Nuffield College boasts striking architecture, including a tower measuring in at more than 45 metres / 150 feet tall. This is an especially affluent college, with financial endowments in recent years being close to £150 million. Subject matters studied and researched here include both economics and sociology, as well as politics.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 08:00 to 18:00

Oriel College

Address: Oriel Square, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4EW, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 276555
Standing just a stroll away from the Provosts Lodgings, Oriel College comes with a grand square, impressive architecture and many historic features. Oriel's history is a lengthy one and it came into being as long ago as 1324, being founded by Adam de Brome, the rector of the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. Although nothing actually remains of the original buildings, the Front Quad is especially impressive, with its elaborate portico and chapel. There are also four attractive medieval halls, namely Bedel's, St. Martin's, St. Mary's and Tackley's.
Open hours: by arrangement

Pembroke College

Address: Pembroke Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 1DW, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 276444
Pembroke College, in the St. Aldates area of the city, was founded in the early part of the 17th century and named after the Earl of Pembroke. Highlights include a historic chapel, a grand hall and an impressive collection of portraits. In recent years, the campus commissioned a sizeable new development on its southern side, which opened in 2012 and is connected by a bridge spanning Brewer Street.
Open hours: by arrangement

Oxford University

Queen's College

Address: High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4AW, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 279120
Queen's College, founded in the middle of the 14th century, features some of the finest and most elegant architecture in the entire city. Visitors will find many detailed carvings and numerous original features, including the Front Quad area. In recent years, Queen's has welcomed a financial endowment exceeding £130 million, resulting in superb facilities and an extremely well-stocked library comprising more than 100,000 volumes.
Open hours: by arrangement

Somerville College

Address: Woodstock Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6HD, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 270600
Standing just off Little Clarendon Street and close to Wellington Square, Somerville College ranks amongst the university's most famous, since it was here where former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once studied. Somerville was founded in 1879 and is today called home by around 400 undergraduates and just under 100 graduates.
Open hours: by arrangement

St. Anne's College

Address: Woodstock Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6HS, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 274800
St. Anne's is situated on Woodstock Road (the A4144) and was originally founded as an all-women university college, although it became coeducational in the late 1970s. The college is situated next to the Jericho district and opened in the year of 1879. Today, the neighbouring Radcliffe Infirmary and County Hospital functions as a useful reference point.
Open hours: by arrangement

St. Antony's College

Address: Woodstock Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6JF, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 284700
Bounded by Bevington Road, Winchester Road, Woodstock Road and the Vicarage, St. Antony's resides on the northern side of the city centre and was established in 1950. This is now an all-graduate university college, with courses concentrating on economics, international relations and politics.
Open hours: by arrangement

St. Catherine's College

Address: Manor Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3UJ, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 271700
One of the university's most contemporary colleges, St. Catherine's dates back to the early 1960s and has enjoyed considerable financial endowments in recent years, totalling more than £50 million. Based alongside the banks of the River Cherwell, the college is known for its distinctive modernist buildings, which heavily use both concrete and glass. These were the vision of leading Danish architect and designer, Arne Emil Jacobsen, who was even responsible for designing the interior furnishings. Of interest, the college's motto is 'Nova et Vetera', which literally translates as 'The New and the Old'.
Open hours: by arrangement

St. Edmund Hall

Address: High Street, City Centre, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4BH, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 279000
St. Edmund Hall was founded in the early part of the 13th century and features a grand, historic medieval hall, a small quad area and excellent meeting facilities. Around 400 undergraduates are based here, along with just over 200 graduates. This medieval hall is the oldest of its kind and actually predates all of the city's university colleges.
Open hours: by arrangement

St. Hilda's College

Address: Cowley Place, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 1DY, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 276884
St. Hilda's College was founded in 1893 and was actually the last remaining all-female university college until the year of 2008, when the first male students were accepted. The Christ Church Recreation Ground lies to the south, as well as the Roger Bannister Running Track and the Iffley Road Sports Complex.
Open hours: by arrangement

St. Hugh's College

Address: St. Margaret's Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6LE, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 274900
Opened in 1886, St. Hugh's College resides on the northern side of the city centre, where it is full of history and interest. With classical architecture and many impressive features, St. Hugh's was originally founded as a university college for women only and is today known for its attractive landscaped gardens. Of note, the Mary Gray Allen building standing within the grounds is a later addition, being completed in the latter years of the 1920s.
Open hours: by arrangement

St. John's College

Address: St. Giles, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3JP, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 277300
St. John's College was founded in the middle of the 16th century and unusually, undergraduates are able to live here. Highlights include grand architecture, many original features and some very impressive gardens, which were originally landscaped by the world-famous garden designer, Capability Brown, more than 200 years ago. The St. John's College Boat Club functions as one of the river's most noteworthy boathouses and is known for its success during the Summer Eights regatta each May.
Open hours: daily - 13:00 to 17:00

St. Peter's College

Address: New Inn, Hall Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2DL, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 278900
Situated close to the Wesley Memorial Church and Canal House, St. Peter's College was founded in the latter part of the 1920s and comprises a grand chapel, built on the site of an ancient church. Neighbouring points of reference include both Chester House and Vanburgh House, as well as the Central Library and a branch of the Sainsbury's supermarket.
Open hours: by arrangement

Trinity College

Address: Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3BH, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 279900
Located in the city centre and just across from the Divinity School, Trinity College dates back to the year of 1555. The buildings are surrounded by mature gardens and a large quad, which was partly designed by Christopher Wren, most famous for designing London's St. Paul's Cathedral. Particularly notable here is the Chapel Choir, with regular Sunday Evensongs being a real highlight.
Open hours: daily - 10:30 to 12:00, 14:00 to 17:00

University College

Address: High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4BH, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 276602
Standing on the High Street and just a short distance to the north of the Merton Playing Field, the centrally located University College is one of the oldest in the city, being established in 1249 and home to many historic features. These include a number of detailed stone carvings and statues. Of note, it was at this college where Bill Clinton, the former president of the USA, once studied, as well as Bob Hawke, the former Australian prime minister.
Open hours: by arrangement

Wadham College

Address: Parks Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3PJ, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 277900
Located next to the Said Business School of Egrove Park, Wadham College is a grand Jacobean-style building dating back to the early 17th century. It can be found in the city centre, being just down the road from the King's Arms and off Broad Street, Catte Street and Holywell Street. Within walking distance is the Sheldonian Theatre, as well as the Museum of the History of Science, the Holywell Music Room and Blackwell's Bookshop.
Open hours: daily, during holidays - 13:00 to 16:00

Worcester College

Address: Worcester Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2HB, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 278300
Located on the western side of the city centre, Worcester College is surrounded by spectacular landscaped gardens, incorporating many large trees, shrubs, flowers and a lake. Nearby places of interest come in the form of the Odeon Cinema, the New Theatre, the Playhouse Theatre and various restaurants, including a branch of Jamie's Italian.
Open hours: daily - 14:00 to 19:00