The largest and arguably most renowned of Oxford’s many colleges, the hallowed halls and exquisite cathedral of Christ Church College have a long and illustrious history. Founded by Cardinal Thomas Woolsey in 1524, the grandiose complex includes architectural highlights like Sir Christopher Wren’s Great Tom bell tower and the Great Hall, where King Charles I held court during the English Civil War. Despite being just one of 38 colleges, for many visitors to Oxford, Christ Church is synonymous with Oxford University. Today, the legendary buildings see almost as many tourists as they do students.
Christ Church’s esteemed alumni include philosopher John Locke, Albert Einstein, architects John Ruskin and Sir Christopher Wren and former Prime Minister William Gladstone. But its academic resume isn’t the only string to its bow. The prestigious college has also made its mark in popular culture, starring as the now-iconic Great Hall of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies and housing the world’s largest collection of work by alumnus Lewis Carroll. Incidentally, Carroll's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was written for Alice Liddell, daughter of the then-Dean of Christ Church.
Christ Church College is located just south of Oxford city center, and the college grounds, main hall and cathedral are all open to the public, with first admission at 10:30 a.m. and last admission at 4:15 p.m. (The hall and cathedral are typically closed over lunchtime). Adult admission costs £7 during the winter months and £9 in the summer months. Discounted entry is offered if the hall or cathedral is closed at the time of visiting.