Oxford Metro Map
The TIC sells a map (SI) and the Welcome to Oxford guide (£1) listing the colleges’ visiting hours, but these can be rescinded without explanation or notice. Some colleges charge admission. Don’t bother trying to sneak into Christ Church outside opening hours, even after hiding your backpack and copy of Let’s Go: bouncers sporting bowler hats (affectionately known as bulldogs) and stationed 50 ft. apart will squint their eyes and kick you out. Other colleges have been found less vigilant near the back gates. Coddle the porters or you will get nowhere.
CHRIST CHURCH COLLEGE
Just down St. Aldates St. from Carfax. 286 573. Open M-Sa 9-ll:45am and 2:30-5:15pm, Su 9:45-ll:45am and 2:30-4:45pm. No entry after 4pm. Chapel services Su 8am, 10am, 11:15am, and 6pm; weekdays 6pm. £4, concessions £3.
An intimidating pile of stone, The House has Oxford’s grandest quad and its most socially-distinguished students; it’s been responsible for the education of 13 past prime ministers. Charles I made Christ Church his capital for three and a half years during the Civil Wars and escaped dressed as a servant when the city was besieged. Today, the dining hall and Tom Quad serve as shooting locations for the Harry Potter films.
CHRIST CHURCH CHAPEL. In AD 730, Oxford’s patron saint, St. Fridesweide, built a nunnery here in honor of two miracles: the blinding of a troublesome suitor and his subsequent recovery. A stained-glass window (c. 1320) depicts Thomas a Becket kneeling moments before being gorily dispatched in Canterbury Cathedral. A rather incongruous toilet floats in the background of a window showing St. Fridesweide’s death, and the White Rabbit frets in the stained glass of the hall.
TOM QUAD. The site of undergraduate lily-pond dunking, Tom Quad adjoins the chapel grounds. The quad takes its name from Great Tom, the seven-ton bell in Tom Tower that has faithfully rung 101 strokes (the original number of students) at 9:05pm (the original undergraduate curfew) every evening since 1682. Nearby, the fan-vaulted college hall displays portraits of some of Christ Church’s most famous alums Sir Philip Sidney, William Penn, John Ruskin, John Locke, and a bored-looking W.H. Auden in a comer by the kitchen.