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University Church of St Mary the Virgin

University Church of St Mary the Virgin: Our most recommended tours and activities

Oxford: University and City Walking Tour with Alumni Guide

1. Oxford: University and City Walking Tour with Alumni Guide

Step inside Oxford University and explore the grounds on a guided walking tour. Admire the iconic architecture and learn about university life from your student guide. Visit one of the university’s oldest colleges and the Bodleian Library. Learn about the history of the university colleges, including All Souls College, Trinity College, Oriel College, Hertford College, and Merton College, the Radcliffe Camera, and the University Church of St. Mary. Get an equally in-depth history of the town. Hear about ceremonies at Oxford, famous graduates, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and also how the most powerful Archbishop of Canterbury was burned at the stake in Oxford.

London: Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds, and Warwick Day Trip

2. London: Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds, and Warwick Day Trip

Make the most of your time in England with a day trip to the English countryside. Enjoy a walking tour of Oxford city and university including entry to the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, witness the scenery of the Cotswolds, enter Warwick Castle, and visit the birthplace of Shakespeare. Walking tour of Oxford Follow in the footsteps of Oxford's famous students, from C.S. Lewis to Bill Clinton, as you stroll the captivating college courtyards and cobbled lanes of this historic university town, on this guided day trip by bus from London. Take in the famous 'dreaming spires' and see the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. Be captivated by the unspoiled narrow alleys and ancient squares of this naturally beautiful town. Oxford is famous for being home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world – countless bright young things have wandered the town’s cobbled streets over the years! During this guided walking tour you will see the stunning University Church of St Mary the Virgin and furtively discover unspoiled narrow alleyways, ancient squares, and towering spires. Entry to the 13th-century University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Soak in spectacular sights of the unique baroque design and architecture as you explore the center of the University of Oxford. This absolute gem is a must-visit on your trip to Oxford. The Cotswolds Enjoy views of the breathtaking countryside, sleepy villages, and bustling market towns as you drive through the charming scenery of one of England's most beautiful regions. Stratford–upon–Avon  A unique market town, famous as the home of William Shakespeare, arguably the world's greatest writer. Visit the picturesque half-timber house where the legendary bard was born, and gain fascinating insights into his childhood. Shakespeare’s birthplace: See where the famous playwright grew up and spent his years as a married man. Warwick Castle  Be part of Britain’s greatest medieval experience deep in the heart of Warwick Castle. Immerse yourself in battle preparations and feel the weight of a medieval sword. Become a soldier – try on a battle helmet for size. Visit the spectacular State Rooms and feast your eyes on Victorian party preparations. 

From London: Guided Day Trip to Oxford and Windsor Castle

3. From London: Guided Day Trip to Oxford and Windsor Castle

Our day will start from London, where we will head to Windsor Castle in our comfortable bus. Here you will have the chance to visit this royal palace and residence built in the 11th century after King William I the Conqueror's conquest of England. Since the time of Henry I of England, it has been inhabited by kings and monarchs. This fact makes it the second-oldest occupied European royal residence. You will be able to know the inside the castle itself if you choose the option that includes the entrance, or if you prefer it, have some spare time to walk around Windsor Castle on your own. From here, we will move to Oxford, known as "The City of Dreaming Spiers", due to its pointed towers that transport us to medieval times and the stories of castles and dragons. The tour leader will show us the highlights of this medieval-style city. You will have the chance to see places like Oxford University itself, the University Church of Saint Mary the Virgin or Brasenose College. Here, you will have som free time to enjoy Oxford and walk through its streets. In short, it is a cultural and architectural trip that you cannot miss since we will visit two of the most iconic places in the history of England!

Oxford Day Trip from London: City Tour, Colleges & Lunch

4. Oxford Day Trip from London: City Tour, Colleges & Lunch

Travel back in time on this Private Day Trip Tour into one of the world's most academic and intellectual cities. Get away from busy London and tour Oxford with a private local guide. Admire not only the city's medieval architectural beauty and its river and natural environment, but also its traditional English cuisine. Learn about the history of Oxford Castle, an ancient castle over 1,000 years old, famous for having once been a prison. Visit the only 12th-century tower still standing in the city. Take the opportunity to enter the History of Sciences Museum to see the famous blackboard that Einstein once used during a lecture at some Oxford University, and which still preserves its formulas. Relax and enjoy a delicious British lunch with a typical English beer in a traditional 14th-century tavern. Enjoy the best views of this university city by climbing to the top of the 13th-century tower of the University Church of St Mary. See the most prestigious colleges in the world, from Balliol College (the oldest in Oxford) to the most important college in the city: Christ Church College. Enter and breathe the university and intellectual air of Oxford. Get to know its beautiful Gothic building and discover how its students live. Enjoy Oxford in-depth, with its History, its Culture, Gastronomy, Colleges, and local’s lifestyle in this amazing Private Day Tour.

Oxford's Literary Legends and Landmarks" A Self-Guided Tour

5. Oxford's Literary Legends and Landmarks" A Self-Guided Tour

From the Chronicles of Narnia and Alice in Wonderland to Lord of the Rings and His Dark Materials, what is it about Oxford that has inspired several fantasy fiction classics? On this walking tour, Hears stories about how Oxford itself nurtured the minds of these fantasy literature giants. See where the famous wordsmiths behind these titles lived, worked and played, and some of their favourite haunts. You’ll be amazed at the sheer breadth of talent and imagination that’s concentrated in one city. Starting in front of Carfax Tower, you’ll wander through the city centre and along the Board Walk, along the way you’ll hear about Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration behind Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. I’ll show you the locations where JK Rowling’s Harry Potter was filmed, with the University of Oxford adapted to become Hogwarts. We’ll step into the world of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, where you’ll follow in the footsteps of Will and Lyra and make your way around Radcliffe Square to the Bodleian Library. After wandering through different parts of the university, your tour reaches the end in front of the Eagle and Child pub, a popular hangout for the Inklings, an informal literary club in the early to mid-1900s. Whether you’re a fan of fantasy fiction, classic literature, a newcomer to Oxford, or just plain curious, this tour offers a fascinating glimpse into another world – that of the imagination!

Oxford: Complete University Tour with optional Christ Church

6. Oxford: Complete University Tour with optional Christ Church

You will begin in central Oxford, with a brief and engaging introduction which will lay the foundation for the vast periods of history to be covered! Then the tour will enter a college renowned for having the most beautiful lawns in Oxford along with an iconic dispute with its neighbour - resulting in a supposed theft of the College tortoise (Oxford Annual Tortoise Race explanation included!). Then the group will visit the Sheldonian Theatre, where students experience the most iconic ceremony at Oxford University. You can hear from your student guide how the experience was for them. Next you will enter a historic museum -complete with a chalkboard used by Einstein in Oxford - and visit the Weston Library, a great example of a hybrid historic and modern interior. This tour will then cover sites that none of our other tours do! Including Rhodes House, the Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum. The latter is known to have one of the most exceptional collections in England, including Victorian shrunken heads. The tour stops for lunch at the Eagle and Child pub, a second home to J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis while they were members of the Inklings. After lunch, you can get a photo under the Bridge of Sighs before gazing up at the first round library in England, where your Oxford student guide will give you rare insights into the labyrinth of underground tunnels students. Not to be forgotten, All Souls College. With entrance exams as complex as they are bizarre, this site will highlight how exclusive a College can be and how influential its members are. Heading down to the southern part of Oxford, we visit a hidden door depicting the most famous characters in C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Before entering the largest College at Oxford, Home to Oscar Wilde and C. S. Lewis, and its own deer park. Explore the iconic grounds which have been home to Oxford’s most influential writers, complete with medieval cloisters. The tour will head over to Merton College, home of Tolkien, to discuss not only its literary importance, but it’s multi million pound kitchen, funded by the current Emperor of Japan! The tour will then go to Christ Church College, exploring the unique meadows - such a stunning expanse of land incredibly rare in a medieval city. Here you will learn about its close connection to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - along with its decision to be held to a different time zone than the rest of Oxford. Those who have selected the option to enter Christ Church will then have their pre arranged tickets given to them, and they will be free to explore the college at their own pace. The guide will be at hand before entering to offer further advice and guidance. Please note - the structure on the day may differ.

Oxford: Hidden Histories - An Oxford Walking Tour

7. Oxford: Hidden Histories - An Oxford Walking Tour

Uncomfortable Oxford’s “Hidden Histories” tour engages with overlooked narratives and celebrates the stories of women and queer people working and studying within Oxford’s culture of traditional masculinity. The tour group meets at the Radcliffe Humanities Square and begins with an analysis of the public space, and especially of its overwhelmingly male representations. For instance, the famous Radcliffe Camera and the Radcliffe Humanities building are named for John Radcliffe, whose estate paid for the construction of several pieces of architecture in Oxford, although countless others contributed to the history of these buildings. Radcliffe Humanities originally served as the Radcliffe Infirmary, where nurse Thora Silverthorne trained and worked in the early 20th century, while also participating in activism that would later lead to the formation of the NHS. Today the NHS is a point of pride for Britain, but it rarely recognizes the contributions of nurses to the organisation, while COVID-19 has made the job more stressful and demanding. Another example of erasure is presented through the example of Oxford's Somerville College, founded in 1879 as one of Oxford University’s first women’s colleges, the other being Lady Margaret Hall. However, women still faced sexism and racism as students at the university and those who were able to attend often came from wealthy backgrounds. One of these women is Catherine Duleep Singh, the daughter of the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire and the goddaughter of Queen Victoria, who was also an openly queer women throughout her life and career. As the tour unfolds, participants will question the intersecting challenges faced by many people in Oxford's gendered and classist space. At the same time, the discussion will celebrate the opportunities that individuals managed to create in spite of these limits, from individual success to wider group visibility and representation in the present. The tour will end at St Mary's Church on Radcliffe Square, on a debate between real and idealised representations of women in the city.

Stepping Through Oxford Walking Tour

8. Stepping Through Oxford Walking Tour

Get acquainted with City of the Dreaming Spires on this guided walking tour. Pass by some of the key attractions, and also some hidden gems, around this historic university town. Navigate Oxford using your own phone as your guide around this history-packed city. With the Vox City app you can manage everything related to your tour on the go. Learn about the home of one of the most prestigious universities and visit landmarks like the Radcliffe Camera, the Tower of the Five Orders, Hertfort College, and, of course, the renowned University, with local experts ready to answer your questions.

Oxford: Bike & Walking Tour w/ University Alumni Guide

9. Oxford: Bike & Walking Tour w/ University Alumni Guide

Immerse yourself in the culture of Oxford University and learn all about the extent of the renowned campus on this biking and walking tour. Explore the dramatic modern architecture of the Blavatnik Centre and the medieval facade of Magdalen College. The walking element of the tour takes you inside one of the oldest colleges of the university and the world-famous Bodleian Library, famous as a filming location in the Harry Potter films. Experience the scenic landscape of the Christ Church Meadows before visiting All Souls College and the Radcliffe Camera. Weave in and out of the old city with rides across local green spaces and explore the Port Meadow while learning about Lewis Carroll’s time at Oxford.

Oxford: Town & Gown Walking Tour

10. Oxford: Town & Gown Walking Tour

Enjoy the quaint streets of Oxford as you are guided around this historic town. See the Bridge of Sighs, a skyway that connects 2 parts of Hertford College. Listen to the audio guide tell you the fascinating history of the town as you marvel at the Bodleian Library and other visitor attractions. Visit Carfax Tower, known for its bird's eye view of Oxford. Learn about Christ Church, a college of Oxford, which was founded in 1546. Continue to The Old Tom, a traditional pub with 3 centuries of history. Stop off at St Aldates Tavern, a Victorian pub famous for real ales and craft beers. Appreciate the beauty of listed buildings such as Oxford Town Hall. Learn about the St Scholastica Day riot at the site of the Swindlestock Tavern. Follow the curve of High Street as you pass many college buildings. Check out the University Church of St Mary the Virgin and its famous baroque porch.

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What people are saying about University Church of St Mary the Virgin

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 128 reviews

Brilliant guide who knew so much about the history of Oxford, the buildings and, the Colleges Personalised the tour so we focussed on what interested my husband and myself. Thoroughly recommend having a private tour as opposed to going in a large group

Our Guide, Liberty was knowledgeable about the places we visited and kept us engaged and interested throughout the tour. Highly recommended.

Enthusiastic guide who looks she has genuinely enjoyed her study in Oxford. A lot of insider stories. We had enjoyed our time.

It’s really nice trip and we went such a wonderful places. I highly recommend it

Best bang for your buck! Sandra the guide was knowledgeable and kind.