Oxford roofs and spires

“That sweet city with her dreaming spires”

Matthew Arnold – Professor of Poetry at Oxford

Brasenose College

All Souls College

Exeter college chapel

via wikipedia

The Bodleian library

In the distance it is possible to make out the river Thames meandering through the trees on the right

We took our granddaughter out for a birthday lunch, followed by a steep climb to the top of St. Mary the Virgin tower, before she had to leave us for an afternoon tutorial. Last week the marquees were going up in the college grounds ready for their May Balls.

The grass is mown at Trinity College ready for the marquee men to arrive.

Hertford Bridge links the old and new quadrangles of Hertford College – often referred to as the Bridge of Sighs although it actually has a stronger resemblance to the Rialto Bridge

Delicious lunch at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin from within their Vaults, but warm enough for us to eat at a table in their garden overlooked by the Bodleian Library.

Sunlight filtering through the chancel windows – St. Mary the Virgin

If you find yourself in Oxford this tower is the one to climb as it affords a complete 360° view over the whole of the city.

A stroll around the University Botanic Gardens 

Magdalen College tower opposite the Botanical gardens

On 1st May the day starts early at 6 am with Magdalen College choir singing the hymn ‘Hymnus Eucharisticus’ from the top of this tower, a 500 year old tradition. Large crowds gather to watch and this year our granddaughter rose early to be present. There is a party atmosphere and general revelry, Morris dancing and impromptu music. Many are still formally attired following all night balls.

via wikipedia

May morning by William Holman Hunt depicting the event on top of Magdalen tower – Lady Lever Gallery 



  1. When I was doing research on Oxford I saw pictures of the Bodleian Library that showed it ran under the street into the other side. A library so big it went underground!

    Paradise! 😀

  2. Yes, that is correct, and it can be visited. I am sure that you know that the part underground is called the Gladstone Link which only opened in 2011. There is also an underground tunnel that runs from the Radcliffe Camera to the Old Bodleian Library which can also be toured.
    I expect that many people would be surprised to learn just what is going on below the paving where they are walking, so thanks for mentioning it.

  3. When I traveled to England years and years ago, two of the must-see sights on my itinerary were Oxford and Cambridge. I was able to enjoy Cambridge (so gorgeous in the mid- to late afternoon sun), but when I got to Oxford, there was a downpour, and I got soaked by a bus as I stood gaping at Oscar Wilde’s alma mater (Magdalen College). I wish I could’ve seen more of Oxford, but it was impossible with the rain.

    1. What a shame that should happen when you had travelled so far – hope these photos are a morsel of compensation.
      I actually know Cambridge better, but now live nearer to Oxford.

  4. beautiful pics

    1. Thanks – glad that you enjoyed seeing them

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