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Wadham College

Wadham College



Wadham College’s extensive gardens provide a wonderful environment for fellows and students as well as visitors. From the formal front quad, walk past the Chapel into the magnificent Fellows’ Garden; an ideal place for rest, relaxation or quiet reading under the boughs of one of the mature trees.

Originally a series of orchards and market-gardens carved out from the property of the Augustinian priory, Wadham’s gardens have been significantly modified over the course of the last four hundred years. Gardens were first created under Warden Wilkins (1648-59) as a series of formal rectangles laid out around a (then fashionable) mound which was surmounted by a figure of Atlas.

These gardens were the meeting place for a group of experimental scientists who formed the nucleus of what was to become the Royal Society. In the mid-1600s the gardens were notable for a collection of mechanical contrivances (including a talking statue and a rainbow-maker created by this group), a number of obelisks and a Doric temple. Under Warden Wills (1783-1806), the terrain was radically remodeled and landscaped (by Shipley) and became notable for a distinguished collection of trees. Part of the gardens were sold for the building of Rhodes House in the 1920s and the gardens were further restored and reshaped following the Second World War.

Wadham’s collection of trees includes a holm oak, silver pendent lime, tulip tree, golden yew, purple beech, cedar of Lebanon, gingko, giant redwood, tree of heaven, incense cedar, Corsican pine, magnolia and a rare Chinese gutta-percha. Among other curiosities are an Emperor’s Head, an eighteenth-century ‘cowshed’ set into the remnants of the Royalist earthworks of 1642, and a sculpture of a seated Warden Bowra by John Doubleday.

For Wadham’s bed and breakfast and conference guests, the gardens provide a perfect space to stroll and relax.

Disabled access

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Opening details

During Oxford University term time: 13.00 to 16.15.
Out of term: 10.30 to 11.45 and then 13.00 to 16.15.

Please note that occasionally access to the gardens may be restricted.


Free entry


The Bursar

01865 277900


Parks Road,

  • Self-assessed Accessibility Information

University, free entry



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Map reference: SP 515066  Lat: 51.75572 Long: -1.25528

Parks Road, OX1 3PN


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  • Disabled accessDisabled access

Self-Assessed Accessibility Details


  • MAIN ENTRANCE - Level ; QUADS - 1st Quad Level. Ramps to gardens ; CHAPEL - Ramp on request over steps and steps to Antichapel