image for University item typeOxford University at Christ Church

Christ Church College

Christ Church College


Christ Church, perhaps the most majestic of the colleges, was founded in 1522 as 'Cardinal College' by Cardinal Wolsey, whose Cardinal's hat is preserved in the college's Old Library. Look out for the red Cardinal's hats on decorative ironwork and as part of the college crest. It was re-founded by Henry VIII, whose portrait hangs over High Table in the magnificent Great Tudor Hall, the inspiration for Hogwarts hall. The Great Staircase was actually used for filming the scene where Harry 'sees' his parents in the mirror.

Tom Quad, with Mercury and a lily pond at its centre (originally a source of water in case of fire), is the largest in Oxford. But if you look carefully you can see the quadrangle is unfinished, the arches of its cloisters never completed.

Christ Church is the only college in the world with a Cathedral within its walls. It also hosts a subterranean Picture Gallery.

Famous alumni include 14 British Prime Ministers; William Penn (as in 'Pennsylvania'), Sir Robert Peel (founder of the Met), Robert Hooke (Hooke's Law), John Wesley (Methodism) and Charles Dodgson, mathematics don and author of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' under the pseudonym 'Lewis Carroll'. Many characters and places in the book were drawn from real life - look out for the long-necked fire dogs in the Great Hall - with its 'Alice' window and portraits of Charles Dodgson and Alice's father, Dean Liddell ('the White Rabbit' because of his shock of white hair). Christ Church runs on its own time - GMT + 5 minutes - which might explain why the White Rabbit was always late.....
In Christ Church's garden was planted the first plane tree in this country. With their distinctive flaking bark and resistance to pollution, they are particulary favoured as street trees in London.
Take a stroll in Christ Church Meadow, gifted to the college by Lady Elizabeth Montacute (in exchange for prayers for her soul), which famously survived the City Council's attempts to build a ring road through the middle of it in the 1960's. A herd of rare breed long horn cattle now peacefully graze there.
Many and varied are the anecdotes relating to the college and its eccentric members. One, Dr Buckland, was said to to eat anything - including the embalmed heart of Louis XIV. Then there's the tale of the unfortunate undergraduate who fell backwards into the college privy and drowned ...his body wasn't discovered for 4 days. But that was in 1713.

Please remember that colleges are places of residence, work and study, and you are asked not to enter staircases, college rooms and areas marked as private.

Disabled toiletsGift shopFacilities for conferencing

Children welcomeDogs not accepted (except guidedogs)Smoking not allowed

Opening details

Open Monday - Saturday 10.00 -16.15
Sundays 14.00 - 16.15
Last entry 16.15
Closed Christmas Day

The information given is intended for guidance only. Opening hours are subject to functions, examinations, conferences, holidays etc., and charges are subject to review.

You are advised to check opening times and admission charges in advance by visiting the Christ Church website


1 January - 31 March 2016 (Admission is discounted if there is no access to Cathedral or Hall)
Adults £7.00
Student/Senior/Child £6.00
Family (2 adults, 2 children) £17.00

1 April - 30 June 2016 (Admission is discounted if there is no access to Cathedral or Hall)
Adults £8.00
Student/Senior/Child £7.00
Family (2 adults, 2 children) £19.50

1 July - 31 August 2016 (Admission is discounted if there is no access to Cathedral or Hall)
Adults £9.00
Student/Senior/Child £8.00
Family £22.00

Groups rates are available for parties of 15 or more persons paying together. Tour/group leaders must be included in the group booking. Large parties may be split into smaller groups of 25-30. Groups consisting of children and students must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times. Advance booking is not required, except for weekends in July and August. Please visit the Christ Church website for our group rates and entry arrangements.


The Head Custodian

01865 276492


St Aldate's,

  • Self-assessed Accessibility Information

University, £5.50-£9



See location of Christ Church on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: SP 514059  Lat: 51.74945 Long: -1.25683

St Aldate's Oxford, OX1 1DP


  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Gift shopGift shop
  • Facilities for conferencingFacilities for conferencing
  • Children welcomeChildren welcome
  • Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)
  • Smoking not allowedSmoking not allowed

Self-Assessed Accessibility Details


  • YesSteps to the main entrance
  • YesRamp to entrance


  • Main visitor entrance - via permanent ramp. Alternative level entrance - via Tom Tower arched entrance over cobbles. Quads - Level and ramped. Hall and Picture Gallery inaccessible. Cathedral - ramped.