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Oxford, England

Radcliffe Camera (left) and the "dreaming spires" of All Souls College in the heart of Oxford. Photo © Sacred Destinations.

Oxford is a city of about 135,000 residents in southern England. It is known as the "City of Dreaming Spires," a phrase coined by Matthew Arnold for its beautiful architecture and aspiring student population. Oxford is home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world, many beautiful college chapels, an ancient cathedral and shrine, and many important sites in the history of English Christianity. Notable religious figures such as John Wycliffe, John Wesley, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien have called Oxford home, and so has your humble webmaster. Oxford also boasts a number of historic and interesting parish churches, including the fantastic Iffley Church, which has been called the best Romanesque church in England. Follow a link below to explore the fascinating history, architecture and religious sites of the beautiful city of Oxford.

  • Oxford Map Our detailed, interactive city map of Oxford, showing the location of sacred sites and religious attractions.
  • Oxford Photos Our galleries of hand-selected photos of religious sites in Oxford.
  • Oxford Books Selected travel guides and other books on Oxford.
  • Oxford Sightseeing Tours Save money and time by booking sightseeing tours and excursions in Oxford before you leave home.
  • Oxford Hotels Search availability, read reviews, browse photos, view a map and book a room in Oxford at the guaranteed lowest price.

Sacred Sites and Religious Attractions in Oxford

  • All Souls College Chapel
    Founded in 1432 to pray for souls in purgatory, All Souls College consists entirely of post-doctorate fellows. Its lovely chapel features a large stone-carved screen behind the altar.
  • Bodleian Library
    This world-famous university library houses several important religious manuscripts and the beautiful, fan-vaulted Divinity School.
  • Brasenose College
    Founded in 1509 and named for an antique brass knocker of a lion's nose, Brasenose consists of three attractive quads just off Radcliffe Square. Its 17th-century chapel has a splendid painted fan vault.
  • Christ Church Cathedral
    This unique cathedral is also the chapel of Christ Church College, the most prestigious college in Oxford. It incorporates the ancient shrine of Oxford's patron saint, Frideswide.
  • Iffley Church
    Built in 1170 and exceptionally well preserved, this is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in England. The west and south door are covered in zigzag decorations and figurative carvings.
  • Magdalen College Chapel
    Founded in 1448 and known for its beautiful tower and choral ritual on May Morning, Magdalen College also has many gargoyles, a fine chapel, extensive grounds and associations with C.S. Lewis.
  • Martyrs' Memorial
    This grand memorial spire in the center of Oxford commemorates the Oxford executions of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and other bishops under "Bloody" Queen Mary.
  • Merton College Chapel
    Founded in 1264, Merton College is the oldest college and its buildings are among the most interesting in Oxford. The large 14th-century chapel has plentiful medieval stained glass.
  • St Giles Church
    This 12th-century parish church just north of Oxford's city center was consecrated by St. Hugh of Lincoln.
  • St Mary's University Church
    The official church of the university, St. Mary's has seen many historic sermons over the centuries and holds regular services today. Climb the tower for spectacular views of the city.
  • St Michael at the North Gate
    This parish church has the oldest building in Oxford (1040) and some of the oldest stained glass windows in England (1290). Thomas Cranmer was imprisoned here before his martyrdom.
  • St Peter-in-the-East
    This 12th-century church is now the library for St Edmund Hall. It is surrounded by an ancient churchyard with grand old trees.
  • St Philip and St James Church
    This attractive 19th-century parish church now houses the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. The interior is not accessible without an appointment.